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Buckley Called To France

26th September 2007 By Munster Rugby

Buckley Called To France

The call up today from Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan for Tony Buckley has forced Declan Kidney to make a last minute change to his side for tomorrow’s clash with Newport-Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.

It means Darragh Hurely gets to start his first game of the season with Federico Pucciariello moving from loose to tight-head prop to accomodate Hurley

The other change from the side that started against llanelli Scarlets comes in the centre where Lifeimi Mafi a replacement last weekend, swops places with fellow New Zealander Rua Tipoki. (pictured right). Other than that it’s as you were as Munster attempt to end a poor run in Wales where they haven’t won, in the League, since November 4th,  2005.

The last five encounters between the two sides in all competitions have gone the way of the home team on the day and after a good opening day win against Scarlets at Stradey Park, the Dragons have suffered subsequent defeats in Cardiff and Galway.

Those performances have been deemed ‘unacceptable’ by coach Paul Turner while former Wales Under 20 captain, centre Ashley Smith describes the meeting with Munster as ‘a must win game’ for his side.

Turner pulls no punches and says, “The senior players need to stand up, that is quite obvious. Our young players are doing fine at the moment and all of the energy we got against Connacht came from them.

Hugh Gustafson, Dan Lydiate, Martyn Thomas, Ashley Smith – there isn’t an issue with any of them, it is with the desire of our senior players. That was one thing that carried us through last season but that has been missing in the last two games.”

Speaking about the late change to the Munster line-up Kidney said, “Obviously we are delighted for Tony, it’s a great honour for him and he travels with the best wishes of everyone in the squad.”

In terms of his selection for Rodney Parade there is a semblance of a settled side given that injuries aside, Munster have retained the core of those who played against the US Eagles and Llanelli Scarlets. “In terms of the change in the backs, its simply a question of realising it’s a long season and a particularly busy few weeks ahead. So when the opportunity arises to give players a breather, we will.

“Rua played very well last week, Lifeimi did also in the frienlies. In the two of them we are fortunate to have two great players who can either start or come off the bench as impact replacement.”

In terms of the task ahead, Kidney says. ” It’s a huge challenge against the Dragons. You only have to look at the results for everyone and see how difficult it is to win away from home in this competition. Certainly our record in Wales in recent times is not good so that’s give an idea of what lies ahead for us tomorrow night.”

Munster: S Payne; I Dowling, K Lewis, L Mafi, A Horgan; P Warwick, T O’Leary;  Darragh Hurley, D Fogarty, F Pucciariello; M Melbourne, M O’Driscoll; B Holland, N Ronan, A Foley capt.

Replacements: S Cronin, T Ryan, T O’Donnell, J Coughlan, G Hurley, J Manning, R Tipoki.


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