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Hayes Returns to Front Row

7th January 2004 By Munster Rugby

Hayes Returns to Front Row

Munster coach Alan Gaffney makes one change from the side that defeated Connacht last Friday, bringing in John Hayes for Saturday’s Heineken Cup clash with Glolucester in Kingsholm at 5pm.

Munster coach Alan Gaffney makes one change from the side that defeated Connacht last Friday, bringing in John Hayes for Saturday’s Heineken Cup clash with Glolucester in Kingsholm at 5pm.

Munster coach Alan Gaffney makes one change from the side that defeated Connacht last Friday, for Saturday’s Heineken Cup clash with Glolucester in Kingsholm at 5pm.

International prop John Hayes returns to the front row with Gordon McIlwham named on the bench. Shaun Payne retains his place at full-back.

Alan Gaffney admitted that as always their were some difficult choices to be made, to decide on the final XV.

"Jeremy played very well for Garryowen last weekend. Even thjough I wasn’t at that game but all the reports we got were good. Jeremy is a fine player there’s no doubt about that but at this particular time we felt that Shaun performed pretty well against Connacht in very difficult conditions so we decided to stick with Shaun."

"Obviously it’s a difficult call but Shaun can play 11, 14 or 15, could probably also play 13 so he covers a few positions. He’s a very versatile player, he’s a very good player. He’s been very good for us this year and adds a wealth of experience and is very good for our team."

"We now have a strong bench which is so important. We have backs of the quality of Jeremy, and Jason Holland who is being kept out of the starting XV by Hendo. Hendo is starting to come back to form hopefully will get back to the form that got him a Lions tour and we don’t think he’s all that far away from that. So we’ve a lot of faith in Hendo and we’ve also a lot of faith in Dutchy (Holland). Eoin Reddan is a young player of enormous potential who has benefitted from his outings in the Celtic League."

"Once again the back-up on the bench is a mix of youth and experience Blaney and McIlwham are around a while, have plenty of experience.David Pusey and Stephen Keogh are, the like Eoin (Reddan) players of huge potential It’s a pretty good mix. So we’re prettty satisfied with that at the moment."

The preparation for the game Gaffney accepted hasn’t been ideal.

"No, not ideal, We were reasonably rusty against Cardiff, were a lot better against Bourgoin and better again against Treviso, I thought we played very well against them (Treviso) and that was our third game in. And we’re starting to get a bit of form. But then there was the two national camps and the Christmas break put us on the back foot again."

" It would have been good if we had a few more games leading into this but we knew from day one, from the start of the season that this was the preparation we were going to get although to be truthful the Sunday, Monday Tuesday (second national camp) was something that came out of the blue to an extent."

"The next two Saturday’s are enormously important. When we heard the draw and saw we had them (Gloucester) we knew it was going to be tough. They’re a good side, strong right across the paddock from one to fifteen. They were impressive last week against Leicester and that win will have given them a huge boost. We’re two evenly matched sides. We know each other well and I suppose they’ll have that game in Thomond to give them an added edge. Having said that we were well beaten in Kingsholm so there’s plenty of motivation there."

Munster Team to Face Gloucester:

Shaun Payne; John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson, Anthony Horgan; Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, John Hayes; Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell; Jim Williams capt, David Wallace, Anthony Foley.

Replacements: James Blaney, Gordon McIlwham, David Pusey, Stephen Keogh, Eoin Reddan, Jeremy Staunton, Jason Holland.

Munster v Gloucester Heineken Cup Round 3 Venue: Kingsholm, Gloucester Date: Saturday, January 10th at 5pm. TV Coverage: Sky Sports 2.

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