Wednesday 26 October 2016

O'Leary back as Reds look to kick on

Published 17/10/2015 | 02:30

Tomas O'Leary has been absent from the Munster squad for three and a half years
Tomas O'Leary has been absent from the Munster squad for three and a half years

Former Ireland scrum-half Tomas O'Leary is set to play his first competitive game for Munster in three and a half years today.

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The 31-year-old will start on the bench as Anthony Foley's men bid to maintain their winning start to the season against Cardiff Blues at Irish Independent Park (1.30).

Denis Hurley could also make his first appearance of the season after an ankle injury as the Reds look for their fourth straight win.

"We're really looking forward to it, we have won our last two in the last couple of minutes.

"Even though we've won the games we've been quite frustrated with certain aspects so we're looking forward to getting out there and trying to rectify the areas that need improving," said Foley, who has made six changes.

Foley has changed his entire front row, with internationals Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry and BJ Botha getting the nod.

There are also three alterations in the backline, where Rory Scannell and Francis Saili make up the centre partnership and Shane Monahan comes in for his second start on the wing.

Foley hopes the performances of the Irish team at the World Cup would encourage more to come out and follow the teams at home.

"You'd love to think so and you'd love to think that it give grassroots rugby a boost as well," he said. "You'd hope to have the atmosphere that people would want to come down and support Munster and get on the back of that. We'd definitely be looking forward to getting out there."

This is Cardiff's third trip to Ireland already this season but while they ran in eleven tries in an opening day win at home to Zebre, they lost at the RDS to Leinster and to Connacht at the Sportsground.

Munster - A Conway; S Monahan, F Saili, R Scannell, G van den Heever; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; M Chisholm, D Foley; D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Reps: N Scannell, J Cronin, J Ryan, R Copeland, J Coghlan, T O'Leary, D Hurley, D Johnston.

Cardiff Blues - D Fish, G Smith, T Isaacs, G Evans, R Smith; R Patchell, T Knoyle; S Hobbs, M Rees (c), C Mitchell; L Reed, J Down; J Turnbull, E Jenkins, M Vosawai. Reps: K Dacey, T Davies, D Lewis, M Cook, J Groves, L Jones, G Davies, H Davies

Munster v Cardiff, live, TG4, 1.30

Irish Independent

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