Munster trio aim to stake Irish claims
TOMORROW night is audition night in Thomond Park as a trio of Ireland stars attempt to play their way back into Declan Kidney's starting XV against Scotland when they take on Edinburgh.
Out-half Ronan O'Gara, scrum-half Peter Stringer and back-row Denis Leamy were all included in coach Tony McGahan's 27-man squad for tomorrow Magners League clash as Munster look to bounce back from last weekend's defeat away to Treviso.
Marcus Horan and Tony Buckley, whose move to Sale was confirmed yesterday, were among the six props named, along with Darragh Hurley, Wian Du Preez, Peter Borlase and Stephen Archer, with McGahan whittling that number down to four for today's match-day announcement.
Duncan Williams is the second scrum-half named alongside Stringer, and All Blacks duo Doug Howlett and Sam Tuitupou are also available along with Lifiemi Mafi.
Edinburgh selected their starting side yesterday and have picked a powerful outfit: winger Tim Visser will be looking to add to his tally of 10 Magners League tries this season.
Visser is named on the left wing alongside full-back Chris Paterson, with David Blair at out-half and Greig Laidlaw captaining the side from scrum-half. Scott McLeod is released from Six Nations duty with Scotland to take his place in the second-row, while coach Nick Scrivener has selected a strong-running back-row of Fraser MacKenzie, Ross Rennie (who has come off the bench in both of Scotland's Six Nations matches) and Fijian No 8 Netani Talei.
Scrivener, who has taken over from Rob Moffat, wants improvement from last weekend's defeat to the Dragons.
"The big theme for this week has been improving the set-piece, how we defend the opposing team's set-piece, and how we bring enough physicality and direction at the breakdown," said Scrivener. "We have shown, right across the season, that we can play, but we need to give ourselves a platform with greater efficiency."