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Ronan revelling in new style as he bids to avenge 'embarrassing' defeat

MUNSTER flanker Niall Ronan admits last season's "embarrassing" 45-10 drubbing to Ospreys in the Pro12 semi-final shouldn't leave the Reds short of incentive tomorrow.

The 30-year-old did not feature in that game at the Liberty Stadium because of a cruciate knee injury which sidelined him last January.

And, while Munster coach Rob Penney said this week that the Reds were not on a revenge mission when they return to Swansea tomorrow, Ronan admitted that the scale of the loss hurt Munster players.

"Obviously, there are bad memories of that game, beaten by 40-odd points -- it was embarrassing, but Ospreys are a good side and it is always difficult to go over there and win," he said.

"They got their first win last weekend so they will be waiting for us. We are looking forward to the game, we know it will be a really tough battle."

Ronan, who crowned his return last weekend by scoring a try in the win over Dragons, said he was thrilled to be back in action and has adapted quickly to the new style introduced by Penney.

"It's a different style we're playing, a lot more running. We were in contact a lot last year, but it is very enjoyable to play and I'm not going to complain too much.

"It is an expansive style, played with a lot of width and a lot of options all over the park, so everyone is enjoying it.

"When you have the ball, you make more of an impact because you are not after 20 rucks in a row, which is different.

"We are just getting used to it now, but it is enjoyable to play.

"You run a lot more and you train during the week as you play," added the Meath native.

Ronan has been selected in a back-row which will come under pressure from the inclusion of Irish internationals Donnacha Ryan and Peter O'Mahony on the bench as they prepare for their first action of the season.

The selection of Keith Earls is also interesting, with Casey Laulala at inside-centre and James Downey included among the replacements.

Denis Hurley returns having missed the 33-13 win over Dragons through tonsillitis and, with Ronan O'Gara again starting at out-half, there is no place for Ian Keatley in the starting XV.

Conor Murray also makes his first start after two appearances off the bench as Penney prepares for three tough away assignments in a row, with Leinster and Racing Metro to follow in the coming weeks.

MUNSTER -- D Hurley; D Howlett, K Earls, C Laulala, S Zebo, R O'Gara, C Murray; W Du Preez, M Sherry, S Archer, D O'Callaghan, B Holland, T O'Donnell, N Ronan, P Butler. Replacements: D Varley, D Kilcoyne, BJ Botha, D Ryan, P O'Mahony, P Stringer, I Keatley, J Downey.

Irish Independent