Game of the Week - Munster v Leinster
April 3, 2009
Leo Cullen leads Leinster against Munster on Saturday © Getty Images
Our featured Magners League match of the weekend is the Interprovincial derby between Munster and Leinster in Limerick on Saturday.
Both teams welcome back their respective Grand Slam heroes in what promises to be a titanic battle - they always are!
For Leinster, Brian O'Driscoll and Luke Fitzgerald sit out this game while Rob Kearney returns to the starting XV in the no. 11 jersey. Isa Nacewa switches to the right wing and Shane Horgan partners Gordon D'Arcy at centre.
Rocky Elsom, Jamie Heaslip and Shane Jennings make up the loose trio and the side is led by lock, Leo Cullen at Thomond Park.
In excess of 5,500 Leinster supporters are expected to make the trip to Limerick for Saturday's game.
Ian Dowling makes his return from injury to start on the wing for the Munstermen. He comes back into the side as Barry Murphy drops down to the bench while Paul Warwick is named at full-back with Denis Hurley listed among the replacements.
Up front there is a complete change in the front five with the return of the Irish internationals while in the back row, David Wallace is at the base of the scrum in the absence of the injured Denis Leamy and completes a loose trio of Alan Quinlan and Niall Ronan.
Quinlan who will be winning his 173rd Munster cap said, "You always look forward to these type of games, against the other Irish sides, local derbies if you like that have a unique atmosphere and this one probably caps 'em all. I know they (Leinster) will be looking to make up for us beating them earlier but even still games against them are as tough as anything we play during the season."
"I think it's going to be a great occasion," he continued, " I hope the weather stays the way it is and if it does I think people are going to see a cracking game of rugby played by two good sides."
Munster: Warwick; Howlett, Earls, Mafi, Dowling; O'Gara, O'Leary; Horan, Flannery, Hayes; O'Callaghan, O'Connell (captain); Quinlan, Ronan, Wallace
Replacements: Fogarty, Buckley, O'Driscoll, Ryan, Stringer, Murphy, Hurley
Leinster: Dempsey; Nacewa, D'Arcy, Horgan, Kearney, Contepomi, Whitaker; Healy, Jackman, Wright, Cullen (captain), O'Kelly, Elsom, Jennings, Heaslip
Replacements: Fogarty, le Roux, McCormack, Hogan, Jowitt, O'Brien, Keane, Sexton, Keogh
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene