11 Dec, 16:22
Anticipation is building in the Munster camp ahead of the second half of the crucial Heineken Cup double-header against Perpignan.
Munster coach Tony McGahan makes seven changes, two of those positional for Saturday's game, Johne Murphy taking over at full back from Warwick with David Wallace switching to blindside flanker in place of James Coughlan while Niall Ronan is handed the number 7 shirt.
The only other change up front sees Mick O'Driscoll preferred to Donncha O'Callaghan as lock partner for Paul O'Connell.
In the backs Lifeimi Mafi replaces Sam Tuitupou and Tomas O'Leary starts ahead of Peter Stringer on this occasion.
The recall of Hurley was fairly predictable given his current good form that has seen him named in the Ireland Wolfhounds squad. The decision by management for a 6:2 forwards backs split on the bench for the Toulon game meant Hurley missing out but ensured him a hectic weekend. He flew out with the B&I Cup side to Nottingham last Friday morning, then back to Shannon early Saturday morning to join the senior squad as cover for the flight to Marseille.
Now restored to the side his is a positive midset in the midst of the gloom surrounding Munster failure to qualify for the knock-out stages.
"Of course I understand the supporter's disappointment. We feel it just as keenly. People went to extraordinary lengths and huge expense in difficult times to support us last weekend. And you like to repay that sort of loyalty. But I think we still can.
" I'd like to see last Sunday's game, not as the ending that some people might, but as a starting point for us for the rest of the season. There's a huge game ahead of us on Saturday. There's our goal, set out at the start, to win our home games. There's our record here in Thomond Park and the possibility of a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
There's the Magners League after that so really we have a lot that we can deliver on. Let's start the process on Saturday ?
Munster: J Murphy; D Howlett, K Earls, L Mafi, D Hurley; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; W du Preez, D Varley, J Hayes; M O'Driscoll, P O'Connell; D Wallace, N Ronan, D Leamy capt. Replacements: M Sherry, D Hurley, T Buckley, D O'Callaghan, J Coughlan, P Stringer, S Deasy, T Gleeson.