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.