More good news for coach Declan Kidney was provided last night when an IRFU Disciplinary committee saw no need to impose any sanction on Frank Sheahan who had been cited for an incident in the game against Glasgow Warriors. Sheahan is named on a bench that sees a vacancy while Kidney decides which back-row player to nominate for the number 19 jersey.
Explaining the choice of Stringer as captain in the absence in the starting XVof Paul O'Connell and Anthony Foley and ahead of squad vice-captain O'Gara, Kidney said, "Peter has a few games under his belt while this is Ronan's first game back. He (Stringer) is one of our natural leaders so in the circumstances the choice was fairly straightforward really."
Besides the O'Gara for Warwick and Hurley for Payne changes, the other back changes from the side that started against the Warriors sees Kieran Lewis return to the outside centre berth with Rua Tipoki named on the bench.
In the pack, Federico Pucciariello replaces Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery comes in for Sheahan and Denis Leamy, who came on as a second half replacement retains the number 8 jersey.
"Obviously everyone cannot play in every game," said Kidney of the changes, " and we have to look at various combinations. Its always tough on those who are left out but there is a lot of rugby to be played yet this season."
In terms of the significance of this game, Kidney said, " We lost this fixture last year and it had a significant bearing on where we finished in the League. We're still disappointed over losing here last time (against Cardiff Blues) and would really need to get our home record back in order. Also,this is a game in hand we have on the Welsh sides and we have the opportunity to close the gap on them."
Munster: D Hurley; B Carney, K Lewis, L Mafi, I Dowling; R O'Gara, P Stringer capt; F Pucciariello, J Flannery, J Hayes; D O'Callaghan,M O'Driscoll; A Quinlan, D Wallace, D Leamy. Replacements: T Buckley, F Sheahan, A Foley, AN Other, T O'Leary, P Warwick, R Tipoki