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Hanrahan holds the keys to Munster's Kingdom

The best medicine for European eclipse is a meaningful match.

They don't come any more valuable in the PRO12 League than leaders Munster's tangle with Glasgow Warriors.

A win here for Munster will likely keep them a step ahead of the chasing pack. A win for The Warriors could take them right back to the head of the queue.

Anthony Foley was not able to scheme a rebound against Clermont-Auvergne, although there were sign of life, especially when the ball was in the hands of one JJ Hanrahan.

He moves one slot closer to the heart of the action at out-half as Ian Keatley is given time to recharge his batteries.

While Foley has made eight changes, he has retained the spine of his leadership group with captain Peter O'Mahony, Paul O'Connell and Conor Murray.

There is also an opening for number eight Robin Copeland to put his X-Factor skills to practical use in a well-balanced back row completed by groundhog Sean Dougall.

"Glasgow have definitely been the form side of the PRO12 so far," said Munster backs coach Brian Walsh.

"They've had a similar fortnight to us in terms of losing to Toulouse twice and being close to them both times.

"Obviously us going over to Glasgow, there's a bit of history there, and I'm sure at home Warriors will be looking to get their PRO12 campaign back up and running and flowing with the confidence that they've been playing with so far this season.

Glasgow were not able to show Europe what they have the PRO12 in falling to Toulouse in back-to-back defeats in the Champions Cup.

It would be ruinous for Munster to devalue what the Scottish club has achieved in the last three seasons.

They have been consistent. They have game-breakers Niko Matawalu and second rows Leone Nakarawa and Jonny Gray.

They have also been able to grow players, like their fly-half Finn Russell and full-back Peter Murchie within a winning system.

That can make all the difference.

"The atmosphere is just about back to normal after the Toulouse games," said talismanic number eight Josh Strauss.

"In this profession you learn to get over things quickly because if you dwell on them it only eats into your preparation for subsequent matches.

"All the games we're playing at the moment seem must-win. They are but this match against Munster is vitally important as they're league leaders."

Glasgow: P Murchie; S Lamont, R Vernon, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; F Russell, N Matawalu; G Reid, F Brown, E Murray, L Nakarawa, J Gray, R Harley, T Holmes, J Strauss.

Munster: J Murphy; A Conway, P Howard, D Hurley, S Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, C Murray; J Ryan, K O'Byrne, S Archer, B Holland, P O'Connell, P O'Mahony (capt), S Dougall, R Copeland.

Verdict: Munster.


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