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Munster rely on 'fringe'

Munster v Edinburgh, Musgrave Pk, Tomorrow 7.45 (live TG4)

It would be easy for everyone else to take their eyes off the ball at this time of the year when the Six Nations is the only thing that matters to the majority.

It is a time for those on the fringes of the squad to shine. Captain Doug Howlett (knee), James Downey (rib), Felix Jones (knee), Stephen Archer (leg) and Casey Laulala (in New Zealand) are all out of the picture.

This is where the involvement in the British & Irish Cup comes into play, keeping players fit and game ready for what is never an easy time in Edinburgh. The Scots coach Michael Bradley (right) will want to, need to, put one over on his home province given the investment made in the club and the poor return for it.

Verdict: Munster

Ulster v The Ospreys, Ravenhill, Tonight 7.05 (live BBC NI)

Coach Mark Anscombe has commandeered Stuart Olding from the Ireland U20s to make his first start for the province in his natural position of out-half.

Club captain Johann Muller and centre Luke Marshall are significant additions to the fifteen after both have rehabilitated from injury.

Verdict: Ulster

Ulster: R Andrew, A Trimble, L Marshall, P Wallace, M Allen; S Olding, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring, T Court, J Muller (capt), L Stevenson, M McComish, A Birch, R Diack.

The Ospreys: R Fussell; T Haberfield, T Isaacs, J Spratt, B John; M Morgan, K Fotuali'i; R Bevington, S Baldwin, C Griffiths, I Gough, J King, M Allen, S Lewis, J Bearman.

The Scarlets v Connacht, Parc Y Scarlets, Tonight 7.30

Former Leinster Academy centre Kyle Tonetti will make his return from a lengthy injury to start in the centre with Eoin Griffin in West Wales tonight.

This is a Six Nations window of opportunity for Connacht, Mick Kearney coming into second row for Mike McCarthy and Tiernan O'Halloran replacing Ireland U20 Robbie Henshaw.

Verdict: Scarlets

Scarlets: G Owen; A Fenby, N Reynolds, A Warren, K Phillips; O Williams, A Davies; P John, E Phillips, S Lee, G Earle, J Synman, R McCusker (capt), J Turnbull, K Murphy.

Connacht: T O'Halloran; D Poolman, E Griffin, K Tonetti, F Vainikolo; D Parks, K Marmion; B Wilkinsom, J Harris-Wright, N White (capt), M Swift, M Kearney, A Browne, J O'Connor, E McKeon.

- DES BERRY


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