4 Dec, 17:04
Munster's preparations continued today for the must-win Heineken Cup game at Thomond Park against Perpignan on Sunday (ko 12:45pm).
The only forced change is at number 8 where a neck injury rules James Coughlan out with Paddy Butler in to lock the scrum in place of the Dolphin man.
Otherwise it's simply a case of Tony McGahan using his resources prudently, Doug Howlett given a deserved rest after involvement in the pre-season games and four RaboDirect PRO12 games on the bounce. The same applies to Billy Holland, although he will travel with the squad as cover while in the other cases it's a question of rotation, Tom Gleeson, Peter Stringer, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes and Dave Foley all played off the bench last weekend and this time around get into pole position.
Foley makes just his second start of the season, his first against the Scarlets in Musgrave Park, saw him deliver an impressive performance particularly in the air, and tomorrow he packs down with one of the great line-out exponents, Mick O'Driscoll who will be winning his 192nd Munster cap. It's an experience the 23 year old Foley is looking forward to. " Micko is obviously a massive influence. Not just for me, for all around him. You can learn a huge amount from him. It is great at this stage of a fella's career to be paired with him. He really is a huge figure for us."
When he refers to us, you'd to assume he's talking about his fellow twenty somethings. Of the match day 23, ten are 23 or under and they've been led to four consecutive wins by Peter O'Mahony (just turned 22), who this time around takes a breather on the bench. Foley is equally enthusiastic about the Cork Con man. " He's another who exerts a huge influence, " he says.
"He's done a great job coming in as captain. He's only a year younger than me and he shows great leadership even to the older guys in the squad.
I've played with Pete for the last two or three years so I know exactly what he's about. I think he gets it and we get him. He's a great motivator, a great believer. It great for us to see a young fella our own age making such massive strides in his career."
The unbeaten run they carry into this game nor the fact that it's a first ever visit to the famous Scottish stadium has no affect on Foley's mindset. "Not at all to be honest. Yeh, four wins from four is great. But we take each game as it comes. This is a new game and that's all we're focussed on.
"No never been there (Murrayfield) before in my life. I dunno if it's the venue I'd be thinking of, I think it's the (Edinburgh) team I'd be more focussed on. Listening to Micko, the talk is all about heart and belief because Edinburgh are a strong side and especially strong at home."
Munster: S Deasy; J Murphy, T Gleeson, L Mafi, D Hurley; I Keatley, P Stringer; W du Preez, D Fogarty, J Hayes; D Foley, M O'Driscoll; T O'Donnell, N Ronan, P Butler. Replacements: M Sherry, J Ryan, S Archer, I Nagle, P O'Mahony, D Williams, D Barnes, S Zebo.