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Munster travel show starts in Edinburgh

Edinburgh v Munster

Murrayfield, TONIGHT (KO 7.05)

Coach Tony McGahan has been careful to stress the importance of away form in qualifying for the knockout phase of the Magners League this season, writes Des Berry.

He used last year's finalists as the yardstick on how Munster need to improve on their travels around Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.

"The best away form was that of Ospreys, who won three, two of those coming at the back-end against ourselves and Ulster. Leinster won twice on the road," he remarked.

More than that, McGahan will want to guarantee home field advantage in the semi-final. To this end, Alan Quinlan makes a timely return to the back row with Donnacha Ryan moving forward into the engine room.

The instant impact of former St Andrew's College full-back Felix Jones is another boost to McGahan. Apparently, he has returned from serious injury with a vengeance, showing improved strength and retained speed.

Jones has all the added value of a new signing beside the acquisition of Johne Murphy and Sam Tuitupou, a dead ringer in style and appearance for Rua Tipoki.

There is also the powerful presence of first-choice half-backs Tomas O'Leary and Ronan O'Gara, and lock Donnhca O'Callaghan held in reserve should the cavalry be required to close the deal.

The Scots will want to make an instant recovery from their high-scoring 34-23 defeat to Cardiff Blues by making Munster pay the ultimate price.

Verdict: Munster

Edinburgh: C Paterson (capt), M Robertson, B Cairns, A Grove, T Visser; P Godman, M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, E Lozada, S MacLeod, S Newlands, R Rennie, N Talei.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett, J Murphy, S Tuitupou, I Dowling; P Warwick, P Stringer; W du Preez, D Varley, T Buckley; D Ryan, M O'Driscoll; A Quinlan, N Ronan, D Leamy (capt).


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