Further evidence of the influence of West Cork rugby in the Munster team has come with the inclusion of Rosscarbery flanker John Hodnett for his first Guinness Pro 14 start — against South African side Southern Kings — at Musgrave Park this evening, kick-off 7. 35.
Should Saracens lose the points for their win over Racing, Munster would be deemed to finish second in Pool 4, however it would be Glasgow Warriors who would be next in line to take their quarter-final place as the next-best runners-up.
This was always a race against time for Steve Jackson. The Samoan head coach was only appointed to the role last September, chosen from a list of 40 applicants and handed ownership of a team that had to qualify for this World Cup via a two-legged play-off against Germany.
O’Brien missed what should have been his final game for his home province due to a hip injury but captain Sexton asked the Tullow Tank, who will depart Leinster for London Irish after the World Cup, to take the captain’s role and lift the trophy after a hard-fought victory in Glasgow.
Leo Cullen vented his anger last week at what he perceived as suggestions in some media outlets that Jonathan Sexton had been ‘dropped’ for the semi-final win over Munster. He need not have bothered as Sexton’s selection for today’s decider was always going to refute such spin.
"I know I’m from Dublin, but I’ve lived here for the last eight years, and with my fiancée Lisa and daughter Beth born here, I know we will be back again. I’m from Munster and I’m a Limerick man now, and it holds a special place in my heart."