Munster: J Murphy; D Howlett, K Earls, S Tuitupou, D Hurley, R O'Gara, P Stringer; W du Preez, D Varley, T Buckley; D O'Callaghan, D Ryan; D Leamy capt, N Ronan J Coughlan.Replacements: M Sherry, M Horan, J Hayes, M O'Driscoll, D Wallace, D Williams, P Warwick, S Deasy.
That signals a real changing of the guard for Munster.Horan, Flannery, Hayes, O'Connell, Quinlan and Wallace would have undoubtedly been first choice this time last year- now those 6 are out for a variety of reasons. Horan and Hayes deserve to be dropped and Varley is the equal of Flannery but O'Connell is a huge loss and I feel Ronan and Coughlan are far inferior to Wallace and Quinlan. That said, I shipped a good bit of criticism a few months ago for suggesting Wallace is no longer capable of churning out 80 minute displays week after week and now it seems that Tony McGahan agrees. He'll be a hell of an impact sub though.
Sticking Murphy at 15 is a kick in the arse for Warwick but Murphy has been in terrific form- good enough to earn an international call up. Hurley improved hugely last season once he switched to the wing so the Munster back three looks reasonable. If Earls is fully fit he could be the key to unlocking London [strike]Irish[/strike]'s defence.
I think Reading's finest will be too good for the visitors. A 7-10 point winning margin for Clarke Dermody's team.