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Munster v Bourgoin
1 January 2004, 2:39 pm
Marcus Horan returns to the Munster side for the game against Bourgoin in Thomond Park on Saturday (5pm) but Frankie Sheahan misses out due to a knee injury and there is also doubt about Shaun Payne.
Marcus Horan returns to the Munster side for the game against Bourgoin in Thomond Park on Saturday (5pm) but Frank Sheahan misses out due to a knee injury and there is also doubt about Shaun Payne who, like Sheahan is troubled by a knee injury.

Sheahan was forced to withdraw from the side that played Treviso and he underwent minor surgery this morning - a scope to clear up some loose matter in the knee - but is expected to be back training late next week. Payne had a scan last Monday which showed that he had suffered bruising to his knee and although his recovery was rapid enough to allow him train on Thursday in Cork, coach Alan Gaffney will delay a decision on who will wear the number 15 jersey.

"Shaun improved very quickly over the first three days since picking up the knock but after that the recovery slowed down. He did run today but was a little inconvenienced and so we will give him another 24 hours before making a decision."

However Gaffney is adamant that Payne will not start unless he is 100% fit.

"If we were further down the road we might consider starting him, but not at this stage unless he is 100%. Besides Jeremy (Staunton) played very well when he came on against Treviso. He's in good fettle which is good to see, so I've no concerns in that area."

Nor does Gaffney have any concerns about naming Marcus Horan in the front row after Horan pulled out of the game against Treviso.

"Marcus is fine. He actually could have played last week but in the circumstances it would not have been in his best interests. He needed the rest and the week off has stood to him."

Gaffney also expressed his delight with the way training has gone this week.

"We had a double session in Limerick on tuesday and the afternoon part was as good a session as the boys have done all year. That was very pleasing because the pressure is back on us this game. We don't know what to expect from this Bouirgoin side because there are a lot of changes and they have a new coach with Saint-Andre gone. It would probably be better from our point of view if that wasn't the case.

We simply don't know what to expect and that makes this a very dangerous game for us. They have nothing to lose. Have a lot of young guys in the side who will be out to impress and we must expect them to throw everything they possibly can at us."

Munster Team to Face Bourgoin:

Shaun Payne/Jeremy Staunton, John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson, Anthony Horgan, Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer, Marcus Horan, James Blaney, John Hayes, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Jim Williams (capt.), David Wallace, Anthony Foley.

Replacements: Gordon McIlwham, Jerry Flanery, David Pusey, Stephen Keogh, Eoin Reddan, Jason Holland, Jeremy Staunton/Mossie Lawlor.

Bring Your Flags: Munster Rugby urge everyone to bring the Red flags (that were distributed for the Gloucester game) back to Thomond park for the Munster v Bourgoin game this Saturday. We need the colour again and it really gives the players a lift to see all the red on the terraces.

Munster v Bourgoin Heineken Cup - Round Six Venue: Thomond Park, Limerick. Kick Off: Saturday January 31st at 5pm. TV Coverage: Network 2 & Sky Sports 2.

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