Gaffney makes nine changes from the side that beat Llanelli and welcomes back the injured John O'Neill and captain Jim Williams for the match against Mike Ruddock's side.
Speaking about the changes Gafney made light of the forced withdrawals. " Well for a start off it's good to have Jim Williams and John O'Neill back playing again and we may have Quinny there as well depending on how the injuries in the national squad pan out. If we don't, then Eddie (Halvey) comes in." We knew all along that we'd be without players for some matches and that being the case I'm more than happy with the selection. We've picked what I believe is the best side available to us and it's only right that these players get the opportunity to show what they can do. They've trained hard since the start of the season for this kind of event and even if we forget about the pull of the national side, they'd have been called on at some stage to step up to the plate."
If there are those who see the game against Ebbw as a certain two pointer, Gaffney isn't one of them. "Certainly not. They gave Ulster a helluva run and with Mike Ruddock in charge, you can be sure they'll be well organised and competitive. We have to take each game as it comes and there are enough of the side from the Llanelli game still there to know that there has to be improvement. While we were delighted to get the win over Llanelli, the players weren't entirely happy with their performance. They know that themselves, they didn't need me to tell them. So Friday gives them the opportunity to iron out the things that went wrong."
Players to Watch:
For Ebbw Vale
Mark Meenan (Out-Half) is a former Ulster schoolboy star who came on as a replacement for Ebbw Vale against Ulster will be starting this week, Mark reacts very well under pressure, and will be looking to make up for a less than perfect performance against Ulster.
Simon Kerr (Prop-forward) who makes his first competitive start for Munster on Friday will be one to watch as the big man from Queensland will quickly make his presence felt in the scrum. Jeremy Staunton (Full-Back) has great pace and has the ability make any situation electric. The open spaces of Musgrave Park will allow Staunton room to make breaks from anywhere on the pitch, and I think we can easily expect a score from the young no.15.
Friday's meeting in Musgrave Park will be Munster and Ebbw Vale's first competitive meeting. Let's hope it is one to remember!.
Jeremy Staunton, John O'Neill, Mike Mullins, Jason Holland, Mossie Lawlor, Killian Keane, Dominic Malone, Marcus Horan, James Blaney, Simon Kerr, Mick Galwey, Mick O'Driscoll, AlanQuinlan/Eddie Halvey, Colm McMahon, Jim Williams (C),
Replacements - AN Other, John Fogarty, Donncha O'Callaghan, AN Other, Mike Prendergast, Conor Mahony, Dominic Crotty.Ebbw Vale
Richard Davies, Matthew Rowlands, Rhys Shorney, Martin Ridley, Aaron Takarangi, Mark Meenan, Bryan Shelbourne, Adam Black, John Evans, David Jones, Ockert Booyse, Neil Edwards, Kati Tuipuloti, Will Thomas, Tyron Morris.
Replacements - Chris Bevan, Paul Jones, Peter Sidoli, Rhys Willaims, Paul Matthews, Scott Mitchell, Andrew Bevan,
This will be another tough game for both Munster and Ebbw Vale, 2 points will not come easy to any side. Munster are without their international players but I feel that once the side has a chance to settle into the game, their hard work at training will pay off and they will overcome Ebbw Vale. Munsterrugby.ie Prediction: Munster to win by 12 points.
Entrance Fees To Game:
Adult = €10, Schoolkids/OAPs = €5.
Special family packs are available from Musgrave Park & Thomond Park on Thursday for €25, this admits 2 adults and 2 kids.
Munster v Ebbw Vale
Kick-off: Friday (06/09) 19:35 (GMT) Venue: Musgrave Park, Cork, Ireland.. Conditions: cool and windy, with a mix of sunshine and scattered showers. TV Coverage: TG4 Referee: Tony Spreadbury (RFU).