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Munster Will Feel The Heat

23rd August 2008 By Munster Rugby

Munster Will Feel The Heat

Munster will literally feel the heat, with temperatures set to reach the mid eighty degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow in Hartford Connecticut, by the time they kick off their opening match of the season against the US Eagles at the hugely impressive Rentschler Field Stadium.

The University of Connecticut facility holds 40,000 but it was the lush Kentucky Bluegrass surface that most impressed Munster players and staff alike. They vacated their Boston hotel at 2pm yesterday and arrived at Rentschler’s Field where Mick O’Driscoll led the captains run in brilliant sunshine. Today, O’Driscoll leads a side that shows just one change up front, from the one selected twelve months ago for the game against the Eagles in Chicago with 23 year old Billy Holland coming into the back row in place of the retired Anthony Foley. Holland will wear the number six jersey with Niall Ronan at seven and John O’Sullivan anchoring the scrum.

After stints with Bourgoin and Gloucester, the home-again Mike Prendergast partners Paul Warwick at half back with the experienced Anthony Horgan and Brian Carney on the wings. Keith Earls wears the number 13 shirt alongside Lifeimi Mafi and Denis Hurley is at full back.

On the U.S. side, coach Scott Johnson has named basically the same lineup as he did for ASM- Clermont Auvergne. Mate Moeakiola and Brian Lemay remain the starting props, with Mark Crick filling the role as hooker. Louis Stanfill comes in at lock alongside John Van der Giessen, while captain Todd Clever will lead the team by example in the flanker position and flanker Kevin Sheahan joins Pat Quinn in the back row. Joe Welch, Owen Lentz, Ireland Under 20 international Ben Barclay, Rikus Pretorius, Ben Wiedemer, Casey Rock and Hayden Smith will all round out the forward replacements on the bench. 
In the backs Mike Petri will start at scrumhalf, as Chad Erskine has traveled overseas to start training with his new club. Valenese Malifa will again start at flyhalf. Justin Boyd and Tyrone Coppedge will both start on the wings, while Albert Tuipulotu and Alipate Tuilevuka see time in the centers. Chris Wyles rounds out the back line at fullback and Robbie Shaw, Gary Golding, Blaine Scully, Hanno Dirksen are the back reserves.


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