| 18°C Dublin

Old guard to lift Munster

The old guard returns for Munster tomorrow night as Peter Stringer and Ronan O'Gara reunite for the first time in 19 months in Rob Penney's injury-hit team to face the Dragons in Thomond Park, writes david kelly.

Stringer spent a period of time on loan to Saracens last season, but Kiwi Penney has assured the veteran that he has a role to play with Munster as his record-breaking international partnership with O'Gara is reinstated.

The veteran scrum-half's last start for the province was in Edinburgh on September 30 last. O'Gara and Stringer have amassed almost 450 competitive Munster appearances between them, with the latter set to win a phenomenal 226th cap tomorrow.

Injuries sustained in last week's game against Ulster have ruled James Coughlan and Luke O'Dea out for a number of weeks, while Denis Hurley and Ivan Dineen succumbed to illness this week forcing Penney to ring the changes.

Ian Keatley comes in for Hurley at full-back, while the loss of O'Dea is softened by the availability of Simon Zebo. Casey Laulala and Sean Dougall are given a break, with Keith Earls coming in at his preferred centre position, while Niall Ronan returns from a long injury lay-off to replace Dougall.

Danny Barnes returns to the match-day squad and there's a first time inclusion for JJ Hanrahan.

Munster -- I Keatley; D Howlett (capt), K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, M Sherry, BJ Botha, Donncha O'Callaghan, B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, N Ronan, P Butler. Reps: D Varley, W du Preez, S Archer, D Foley, T O'Donnell, C Murray, D Barnes, JJ Hanrahan.

Irish Independent