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Keith Earls pictured here at training in UL
Dan Sheridan
Earls Back In Munster Side
12 December 2011, 6:13 pm
By The Editor
Keith Earls returns to the Munster starting XV as one of three changes from the side that ran out last week in Parc Y Scarlets, for Sunday's re-match in Thomond Park Stadium (12.45).
He comes straight into the side as a replacement for Will Chambers, while Denis Leamy starts in place of the injured Peter O'Mahony (jaw) and Donncha O'Callaghan retains the number 4 shirt having come on in Llanelli as a 55th minute replacement for Donnacha Ryan who is listed among the replacements.

Earls injured a knee in the opening minute of the game against Leinster in Dublin on November 4th and did his first full training spin late last week before coming through two sessions this week with flying colours. There just remains for him to get through the Captain's Run tomorrow unscathed and he'll line up alongside Lifeimi Mafi in the Munster midfield.

No surprise that Leamy gets the number 6 shirt after an impressive showing in the second half last weekend when he came on for O'Mahony and Tommy O'Donnell fills the gap on the bench created by Leamy's promotion while Stephen Archer is preferred as tight-head prop cover for BJ Botha.

Scarlets skipper Matthew Rees is confident his side can bounce back from that reversal last weekend. "Yes, I believe we can. Obviously it's going to be difficult. They're a good side with a proven European pedigree and playing in front of their own crowd. But we've just got to block all that out and play our own game. We did it in Northampton and need to draw on that."

And while Conor Murray is looking forward to playing in front of a packed Thomond Park Stadium he's not taking anything for granted. " Yeh, I love playing there, the atmosphere on days like this is brilliant. But as Tony (McGahan) said, this is just the second half. And the result will be decided by what happens between the touchlines.

"It's going to be every bit as close and tense as it was last weekend."

Munster: D Hurley; J Murphy, K Earls, L Mafi, S Zebo; R O'Gara, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell capt; D Leamy, N Ronan, J Coughlan; Replacements: D Fogarty, M Horan, S Archer, D Ryan, T O'Donnell, T O'Leary, I Keatley, D Barnes.

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