11 Mar 14
The Munster squad trained at a sunny CIT today after a week's break as preparations begin for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash against Treviso at Thomond Park on Saturday, March 22nd (ko 7:15pm).
It's upfront where most of the tinkering has been done with just two, the veterans Marcus Horan - winning his 200th cap - and Donncha O'Callaghan retained from last weekend's game.
Paul O'Connell is kept in reserve - as is Ronan O'Gara - and in his absence Peter O'Mahony wears the captain's armband on the number 8 jersey with Denis Leamy at blindside and Niall Ronan returning to the open flank.
Last weekend Donncha Ryan was left out to get over a slight foot injury but he's back to partner O'Callaghan and looking forward to a tough challenge. "They're always a tough side to take on, no matter where you play them but in their own back yard, more so."
"And I dont think it matters what side they put out," Ryan continues in reference to international duties that sees them shorn of their stars, "they'll still play the same brand of rugb. Physical when they want to be and expansive when they can."
"So I think we need to match them up front, take them on there and see where that gets us."
Munster: Denis Hurley; Doug Howlett, Will Chambers, Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Tomas O'Leary; Marcus Horan, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Donncha O'Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan; Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan, Peter O'Mahony capt. Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Wian du Preez, Stephen Archer, Paul O'Connell, James Coughlan, Conor Murray, Ronan O'Gara, Johne Murphy.
Not considered because of injury: D Wallace, J Flannery, M Sherry, P Borlase, Darragh Hurley, Dave O'Callaghan, K Earls, F Jones, I Dineen, S Scanlon, T Smith.
Tom Gleeson will represent the Northern Hemisphere XV in the Heroes Rugby Challenge on Saturday in Twickenham.