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Preview: Munster v Edinburgh

08th February 2013 13:09

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Edinburgh line out Munster s James Coughlan

James Coughlan: Munster captain

Munster have named only three players who featured in their last PRO12 game in their starting XV for Saturday's clash with Edinburgh at Musgrave Park.

Nine who started in the defeat to Cardiff Blues in January are either injured or involved with Ireland while three more - Mike Sherry, Dave Foley and Tommy O'Donnell - are named on the bench.

There's a first start of the season for Danny Barnes and Ivan Dineen while JJ Hanrahan, Johne Murphy and Ian Nagle all get their second start of the year.

CJ Stander returns to the side after breaking a bone in his hand in the game against Glasgow back on December 1 though he has featured in recent British & Irish Cup games and did come on as a replacement here in January against the Blues.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh welcomed the return of three front-line players for this clash.

With Roddy Grant and Lewis Niven both ruled out for the rest of the season (making 14 absentees through injury and international duty) head coach Michael Bradley was able to name Wales internationalist John Yapp (prop), South African lock, Izak van der Westhuizen, and Scotland cap, Tom Brown, back in the side after two months out with injury.

Also returning to the fold are successful Scotland A exponents Ben Cairns (centre), Dougie Fife (wing), back-row Stuart McInally - who'll make his 50th appearance for the club - and full-back Greig Tonks, who has recovered from the ankle strain he picked up in the win over the England Saxons.

The club travel seeking their first win at the fourth time of asking against the Munstermen this season, though this is the first outing at their spiritual home in Cork.

Edinburgh head coach, Michael Bradley is excited about the return of the trio.

"The international window is a challenging time for all of the squads in the RaboDirect PRO12, so we're delighted to welcome back three quality players for such a big match," he said.

"There's a good and dangerous balance to our side. There's a lot of size, power and mobility in our pack and there's a good bit of pace and guile in the backs.

"The challenge for us is to combine these elements and put in an aggressive and well-managed performance for the full 80 minutes.

"Munster are three from three against us this season so will be full of confidence going into another home game for them, however we're very happy with the strength of this squad and will be going all out with a score to settle.'

Yapp, is joined by hooker Andy Titterrell and tight-head Willem Nel in the front-row, Perry Parker packs down with van der Westhuizen in the boiler-house and captain Sean Cox and number 8 Netani Talei join McInally in the back-row.

All Black back Ben Atiga partners Cairns in midfield while by half-backs Richie Rees (scrum-half) and Piers Francis (fly-half) look to orchestrate the proceedings from the pivot positions.

The squad also welcome the return of Steven Lawrie (hooker) and Grant Gilchrist (lock), who were released from the Scotland squad in the latter half of the week, so start the match on the bench.

Form: Munster have won four of their last five games in all competitions, but their home record varies wildly with the venue: winning their last nine fixtures at Thomond Park but losing their last two at Musgrave Park. The Munstermen have won their last six encounters against Scottish opponents. Edinburgh Rugby have slipped to seven straight defeats in all competitions since beating Connacht 24-23 at the Sportsground in round ten of the RaboDirect PRO12, this victory representing Edinburgh's only one over an Irish province in their last 14 such encounters. Munster have already beaten Edinburgh three times in all competitions this season. The Scotsmen have not triumphed on Munster soil since October 2006 in Limerick, whilst they have not won in Cork since April 2004.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Ivan Dineen, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 Danny Barnes, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan (capt), 7 Sean Dougall, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Ian Nagle, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 J Ryan, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Paddy Butler, C Sheridan, Scott Deasy.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Stuart McInally, 6 Sean Cox (c), 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Perry Parker, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Steven Lawrie, 17 Allan Jacobsen, 18 Alex Allan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Gregor Hunter, 23 Lee Jones.

Date: Saturday, 9 February
Venue: Musgrave Park, Cork
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher, John Carvill (Ireland)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)

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