Preview: Munster v Glasgow

29th Nov 2012, 14:22

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Collision: Weir and Keatley

Collision: Weir and Keatley

Several internationals return to Munster's starting XV for Saturday's PRO12 encounter with Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park.

Several internationals return to Munster's starting XV for Saturday's PRO12 encounter with Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park.

Keith Earls, Simon Zebo, Ronan O'Gara, Donncha O'Callaghan, Donncha Ryan, and the newest Test player of all, Dave Kilcoyne are all available after playing for Ireland last weekend.

Just as importantly, James Coughlan returns to the fray a week ahead of the Heineken Cup Round three game with Saracens following a lengthy lay off while CJ Stander makes his first start - following his debut off the bench in atrocious conditions last Sunday at Musgrave Park - in a match that Munster can ill afford to lose.

As things stand they lie in fifth place in the table ahead of this weekend's games but by the time Doug Howlett leads them out they'll likely have slipped to sixth if Ospreys have done the expected number on the Blues a little earlier in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Duncan Weir returns at stand-off and Stuart Hogg, Ryan Grant and Al Kellock all start for Glasgow Warriors.

Gregor Townsend has named the team which is bidding to be the first Warriors side since September 2011 to win in Ireland.

As well as Weir returning to the stand-off berth, Henry Pyrgos, who made his debut during the November international series, returns to scrum-half.

Stuart Hogg starts in the centre alongside Peter Horne, with Peter Murchie filling the full-back position. Sean Lamont is also restored to the line up on his return from Scotland duty with DTH van der Merwe on the opposite wing.

In the pack, John Barclay replaces Chris Fusaro at open-side flanker with Fusaro having picked up a knock against Leinster. Barclay teams up with Rob Harley and Ryan Wilson in an all-action back row. Warriors skipper Al Kellock is also restored, partnering Tim Swinson in the boiler room with Ryan Grant, Dougie Hall and Mike Cusack at the sharp end of a heavyweight pack.

Form: Munster's three game winning run in all competitions ended at home to Scarlets in Cork on Sunday. The Munstermen's only defeat at Thomond Park in the RaboDirect PRO12 in the last twelve months was 18-9 to Leinster on 31 March. Munster have lost just one of their last dozen games against Scottish opponents. Glasgow Warriors' record breaking run of six straight PRO12 victories ended in a 0-6 defeat at home to Leinster on Friday - only the second time in the history of the tournament that the Warriors have been "nilled". Glasgow's only win in their last 14 visits to Ireland since 2009 was 23-19 at Leinster on 17 September 2011. Munster have won their last five encounters with Glasgow, whilst the Warriors have not won at Thomond Park since 18 February 2006.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (c), 13 Keith Earls, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donnacha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements 16 Damian Varley 17 Wian Du Preez, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Casey Laulala.

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH Van Der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Prygos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Barclay, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Moray Low, 18 Gordon Reid, 19 Josh Strauss, 20 James Eddie, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Scott Wight, 23 Byron McGuigan.

Date: Saturday, 30 November
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher, John Carvill (both IRFU)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (IRFU)