Only The Lion King Missing
Paul O'Connell
Dan Sheridan
Only The Lion King Missing
4 April 2009, 10:08 pm
Seven of Munster's eight Lions are included in the side to face The Scarlets in Musgrave Park tomorrow evening (7.30pm) with the Munster and Lions skipper, for once being the odd man out.
Munster management were however quick to confirm that Paul O'Connell will be fit for the following weekend's trip to Croke Park and the game against Leinster. The Lions captain was in attendance for both Munster's sessions yesterday in UL, and his non participation was purely precautionary as he watched his colleagues go through their paces ahead of the clash with the Scarlets.

Munster: P Warwick, D Howlett, K Earls, L Mafi, I Dowling, R O'Gara Capt., T O'Leary, M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll, A Quinlan, D Wallace, D Leamy. Replacements: D Fogarty, T Buckley, D Ryan, N Ronan, P Stringer, B Murphy, D Hurley

Meanwhile Munster management have confirmed that Rua Tipoki will return to his native New Zealand when the season ends after his struggle with injury looks to have ended his Munster tenure. The player himself expressed the hope that he might get back to playing 'some footy' in an effort to help the squad achieve their season's goals.

"I have had ongoing problems with my hamstring since October 2008, " Tipoki said yesterday, "and despite the best efforts of the medical and fitness staff I have struggled to regain full fitness. I initially suffered an injury to my hamstring during the Montauban game last October ('08) but managed to return for the epic encounter against the All Blacks.

"Frustratingly, after recovering from a knee injury in that game I suffered another hamstring injury against Ulster in Thomond Park in January. I have since suffered recurrences of the same injury which have meant I have not yet been able to play in competitive games, despite being able to take a limited part in training. I have in conjunction with the medical staff consulted with the top specialists in the country and undergone numerous tests over the past couple of months in an attempt to resolve the injury.

"It has been a deeply frustrating time for me as I would dearly love to get back to helping the boys achieve the goals that they'd set out at the start of the year. At the minute however, I am not up to the level of fitness required and would not like to do the jersey or the team an injustice by taking the field when I know I can't give my all. Everyone in Munster has been really supportive and understanding, I appreciate their encouragement and just wish I could maybe repay them by getting back and playing a bit of footy.

"This time in Munster has been brilliant for me and my family," he continued, "and while there is only one place you can call home, we will leave Munster with some great memories and having made lifelong friends.

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Team
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1Leinster Rugby19141469
2Ulster Rugby19140565
3Munster Rugby19140563
4Glasgow Warriors18140460
5Ospreys19111756
6Scarlets1991945
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