Horgan Back For Munster
24th November 2006 By Munster Rugby
Anthony Horgan returns to the Munster side for the first time since injury forced him out of the Ulster game in Musgrave Park at the end of September.
Munster coach Declan Kidney makes three changes in personnel and several positional switches from the side that started against Llanelli Scarlets last time out, for Saturday’s Magners League encounter with Neath-Swansea Ospreys at Thomond Park (7.30pm).
Anthony Horgan comes back into the side after injury and takes over from John Kelly on the wing and Trevor Halstead, a replacement against the Scarlets partners Lifeimi Mafi in the centre with Barry Murphy named on the bench this time around.
In the forwards the front five remain the same with Mick O’Driscoll again leading the side but James Coughlan returns to the side at the expense of John O’Sullivan who is also named on the bench. Kidney has re-jigged the back row with Alan Quinlan reverting to blind side wing-forward from the number 8 berth he occupied in Wales with Coughlan now set to anchor the scrum.
Murphy’s involvement with the national squad prevented him training with the Munster squad and given the importance of the fixture it seems perfectly reasonable to pair Mafi and Halstead in the centre. ” Given the nature of the game nowadays, it is not prudent to play the same players in every match”. Kidney said, ” But that being said, Barry was away and not able to train with us and it’s an opportunity to give Trevor and Lifeimi a bit of time together and see how they go”.
In terms of the game itself (v Ospreys), Kidney says, ” The two huge goals in the Magners League are to win it and to qualify for the Heineken Cup. We haven’t given up on winning it but we need to start getting results. So the next four games are vitally important starting with this one on Saturday.”
Munster: S Payne; A Horgan, L Mafi, T Halstead, I Dowling; J Manning, T O’Leary; D Hurley, A Kyriacou, F Pucciariello; M O’Driscoll capt, C Wyatt; A Quinlan, T McGann, J Coughlan.
Replacements: F Roche, T Buckley, D Ryan, J O’Sullivan, B O’Meara, E Hickey, B Murphy.