Ronan O'Gara will captain Munster for their Magners League meeting with the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday.
Ronan O'Gara will captain Munster for Saturday's Magners League meeting with the Dragons at Rodney Parade.
Ireland international O'Gara is the one personnel change in the back-line from the one that started against Edinburgh two weeks ago, with Ian Dowling, who played against the Scots, ruled out with an ankle injury.
In the pack, the front-row is unchanged while Billy Holland partners Mick O'Driscoll at lock and Tommy O'Donnell takes over form the injured Niall Ronan on the flank.
O'Donnell is set to win his 10th Munster senior cap while across from him in that back-row will be another Clanwilliam man Alan Quinlan who in winning his 189th cap is closing in on the record held by Anthony Foley (201).
“I'd have to say it's not something I've been giving any thought to really, more concentrating on the job in hand, ” Quinlan said.
“This is a big game for us. This is a very tight League, very competitive and our ambition is to be involved in the play offs.
“Our away form hasn't been good and that's something we're very aware of and looking to correct. But saying that Rodney Parade is never an easy place to go to get a result.
“Dragons have improved immensely from when we played them, they've beaten Leinster here and last time out they drew in Ravenhill. That makes them a very good side.
“I've no doubt they'll be up for this one big-time so we can expect nothing less than a game of huge intensity that will go right down to the wire.”
Meanwhile, kooker Tom Willis will lead the side whilst Steve Jones has recovered from an abdominal injury to take up a place on the bench.
Form: Dragons have not beaten Munster since a 9-12 scoreline at Rodney Parade in the Magners League on 5 January 2007. The Dragons are unbeaten in their last three games in all competitions, however in the Magners League are winless in their last three. Munster's only defeat in their last seven matches in all competitions was 10-15 at Ulster in the Magners League on 2 January. The last eight games that Munster have played in the Magners League have all been won by the home side on the day.
The Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Will Harries, 13 Matthew Watkins, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Lewis Evans 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Danny Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris , 4 Adam Jones, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tom Willis (c), 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Pat Palmer, 18 Rob Sidoli, 19 Hoani Macdonald, 20 Tom Riley, 21 James Arlidge, 22 James Leadbeater
Munster: 15 Paul Warwick, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifiemi Mafi, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Denis Hurley, 10 Ronan O'Gara (capt), 9 Peter Stringer, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Mick O'Driscoll, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Denis Fogarty, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Ian Nagle, 19 Nick Williams, 20 Duncan Williams, 21 Scott Deasy, 22 Ciaran O'Boyle.
Date: Saturday, March 6
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Phil Fear (WRU), Matthew Thomas (WRU)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (WRU)