O'Connell puts faith in reds' future
DENIS LEAMY will lead out Munster in Musgrave Park this evening (7.0) for their final pre-season friendly against Gloucester, captaining a side that features fellow Ireland internationals Peter Stringer, Damien Varley, Tony Buckley, Donnacha Ryan and Alan Quinlan, WRITES HUGH FARRELLY.
All Blacks Doug Howlett and Sam Tuitupou are also named in a backline that features former Leicester Tiger Johne Murphy at outside centre. Ian Nagle starts in the second row after coming off the bench for the second half in last week's 13-17 defeat to Leicester and he is one of a younger crop of players injured club captain Paul O'Connell (below) is looking to this season.
O'Connell acknowledged the importance of the British and Irish Cup in the squad's development, with a number of last season's B&I performers on the bench tonight, including props Dave Ryan and Stephen Archer, flanker Peter O'Mahony and backs Duncan Williams, Danny Barnes and Simon Zebo.
"There were a lot of guys from the British and Irish Cup last year who are now a lot more confident," said O'Connell.
"They're coming through in training with a lot more confidence. A lot of the stuff they were doing last year would be similar to what we are doing in the senior side. So when they step into matches they are a lot more aware of what we're doing, because they were doing it themselves for a large part of last year.
"They are influenced by Anthony Foley and Mick Galwey. So all those young guys now are in a really good position to come in and challenge for places."
MUNSTER -- F Jones; D Howlett; J Murphy, S Tuitupou, I Dowling; P Warwick, P Stringer; W du Preez, D Varley, T Buckley; I Nagle, D Ryan; A Quinlan, T O'Donnell, D Leamy (capt). Reps: D Fogarty, Dave Ryan, S Archer, M O'Driscoll, N Ronan, P O'Mahony, B Holland, D Williams, D Barnes, S Deasy, S Zebo, I Dineen.