Horan looks to make case
MARCUS HORAN will continue his comeback campaign at Ravenhill tomorrow night after the vastly experienced loose-head prop was named in the Ireland Wolfhounds team to take on Scotland 'A', WRITES HUGH FARRELLY.
Horan started last Sunday's 17-13 defeat to England Saxons in Bath, and another prolonged outing in Belfast will strengthen the Munster man's case for playing some part in the Six Nations after helping Ireland to the Grand Slam last year.
Ulster's Chris Henry earns a deserved call-up at No 8 after a hugely impressive display off the bench last weekend, with Connacht captain John Muldoon the man to lose out.
With Sean O'Brien, Rory Best and Paddy Wallace all in the senior squad for Saturday's clash with Italy, their places are filled by Dan Tuohy, Sean Cronin and Ian Humphreys respectively. Darren Cave replaces Keith Matthews in the centre and Ryan Caldwell is in the second-row for Mick O'Driscoll.
Much interest will focus on the scrum, with Lions powerhouse Euan Murray starting for the Scots, having been ruled out of Sunday's Six Nations clash with France due to his religious beliefs, and the highly rated Jon Welsh at loose-head.
The Saxons gained an edge in the scrum last Sunday and Leinster tight-head Mike Ross, who is desperate for game time, provides cover for Horan and Tony Buckley.
The Scots have another Lion at scrum-half in Mike Blair, who partners Ruaridh Jackson in a powerful side, with Simon Danielli giving them a cutting edge out wide.
Elsewhere, there are a couple of 'A' inter-provincial clashes this evening to whet the appetite for a weekend of international action with Munster taking on Connacht at Thomond Park (6.30) and Leinster and Ulster locking horns in Navan (6.30).
Munster will be led by Cork Constitution's promising open-side Peter O'Mahony in a side that welcomes back winger Ciaran O'Boyle and prop David Ryan after injury.
Meanwhile, Ulster have named a powerful line-up for their clash, including the likes of Niall O'Connor, Mark McCrea, Ian Whitten and Andy Kyriacou.