Wallace on the wing for Munster

MUNSTER coach Declan Kidney has named flanker David Wallace on the right wing for tonight's Celtic League opener against Border Reivers at Thomond Park (7.10pm).

Wallace will be making his 34th Celtic League appearance as Kidney seeks to draw on experience and, at the same time, give Denis Leamy and Anthony Foley their first starts of the season.

Wallace finished the Celtic Cup final against Lllanelli last May on the wing, after injury forced dramatic decisions.

Wallace said: "This will be my first start from there. I'm actually looking forward to the challenge."

Kidney could have called upon Paul Devlin or Mossie Lawler, but admitted: "With Christian (Cullen), Anthony (Horgan) and Mike (Mullins) all out of action, it is an opportunity to try all our options, use various combinations and see how we work out."

Foley takes over the captaincy from Stephen Keogh (moved to blind side flanker), who led the sides against both Northampton and Leicester in the pre-season friendlies.

But, while it will be Foley's 142nd cap, Wallace's 101st appearance for Munster on the wing will overshadow any other news, even though there are still some talking points.

Amongst them is the selection of Federico Pucciariello at tight head to allow Marcus Horan back in the side, and the retention of Jerry Flannery at hooker.

Frankie Roche, John O'Sullivan, Frank Murphy, Jeremy Manning and Barry Murphy, who all made impacts in the pre-season outings, are on the bench alongside Frank Sheahan and Alan Quinlan.

The selection of Trevor Halstead at outside centre and the return of Peter Stringer will also give Munster fans something to look forward to.

But Stringer faces a challenge in the form of Chris Cusiter, who hopes that his experience with the Lions during the summer can have some impact for the Reivers.

Coach Steve Bates said: "One of the important things for Chris was to be around other nines and tens of the quality found in the Lions party. I think he has picked up subtle things from people like Matt Dawson and through working alongside Jonny (Wilkinson) and Stephen Jones.

"The biggest impact could well be on his mental and cognitive skills, rather than any physical dimension. I think we may see more variety in his play. It should help that he will be paired with such an innovate player as Gregor Townsend," he said.

Another international, Samoan captain Semo Sititi, is not due back from the South Pacific until this weekend.

He misses the trip to Limerick, as do the injured quartet of Calum MacRae, Nikki Walker, Stephen Cranston and Scott Macleod.

MacRae and Walker have hamstring strains, while Cranston and Macleod have had minor surgery on ankle injuries.

Bates is pleased with the impression made by his new signings, in particular the 29-year-old Samoan test lock Opeta Palepoi.

However, he warned that Reivers face an uphill task if they are to be a competitive side in the Celtic League.

"We are under no illusions that it's going to be a tough season for us," he said.

"Last season the general public were encouraged by the effort and commitment from the side and appreciated that. It's down to us. We have to perform at a level that says we are very competitive, and on our best days we are going to be in with a chance of winning games.

"If we can produce one or two more wins at home than we did last season - which I think we are very capable of - I think our supporters will see that as a move in the right direction."

MUNSTER: S. Payne, D. Wallace, T. Halstead, R. Henderson, J. Kelly, P. Burke, P. Stringer, M. Horan, J. Flannery, F. Pucciariello, T. Hogan, M. O'Driscoll, S. Keogh, A. Foley (capt), D. Leamy.

Replacements: F. Roche, F. Sheahan, J. O'Sullivan, A. Quinlan, F. Murphy, J. Manning, B. Murphy.

BORDER REIVERS: S. Moffat, S. Danielli, B. MacDougall, C. Hore, G. Law, G. Townsend, C. Cusiter, P. Thompson (capt), R. Ford, B. Douglas, O. Palepoi, C. Stewart, W. McEntee, K. Brown, S. Gray.

Replacements: B. McKerchar, L. Kibble, J. Dalziel, A. Miller, A. Rennick, S. Scott, T. McGee.

More in this section

CourtsRugbyCeltic LeaguePlace: Thomond ParkPlace: South PacificPlace: LimerickPerson: WallacePerson: Declan KidneyPerson: David WallacePerson: KidneyPerson: Denis LeamyPerson: Anthony FoleyPerson: Paul DevlinPerson: Mossie LawlerPerson: ChristianPerson: CullenPerson: AnthonyPerson: HorganPerson: MikePerson: MullinsPerson: FoleyPerson: Stephen KeoghPerson: Federico PucciarielloPerson: Marcus HoranPerson: Jerry FlanneryPerson: Frankie RochePerson: John O'SullivanPerson: Frank MurphyPerson: Jeremy ManningPerson: Barry MurphyPerson: Frank SheahanPerson: Alan QuinlanPerson: Trevor HalsteadPerson: Peter StringerPerson: StringerPerson: Chris CusiterPerson: Steve BatesPerson: ChrisPerson: Matt DawsonPerson: JonnyPerson: WilkinsonPerson: Stephen JonesPerson: Gregor TownsendPerson: Semo SititiPerson: Calum MacRaePerson: Nikki WalkerPerson: Stephen CranstonPerson: Scott MacLeodPerson: MacRaePerson: WalkerPerson: CranstonPerson: MacleodPerson: BatesPerson: Opeta PalepoiPerson: ReiversPerson: S. PaynePerson: T. HalsteadPerson: R. HendersonPerson: J. KellyPerson: P. BurkePerson: P. StringerPerson: J. FlanneryPerson: F. PucciarielloPerson: T. HoganPerson: M. O'DriscollPerson: S. KeoghPerson: A. FoleyPerson: D. LeamyPerson: F. RochePerson: F. SheahanPerson: J. O'SullivanPerson: A. QuinlanPerson: F. MurphyPerson: J. ManningPerson: B. MurphyPerson: S. MoffatPerson: S. DanielliPerson: B. MacDougallPerson: C. HorePerson: G. LawPerson: G. TownsendPerson: C. CusiterPerson: P.Person: R. FordPerson: B. DouglasPerson: O. PalepoiPerson: C. StewartPerson: W. McEnteePerson: K. BrownPerson: S. GrayPerson: B. McKercharPerson: L. KibblePerson: J. DalzielPerson: A. MillerPerson: A. RennickPerson: S. ScottPerson: T. McGeeEvent: Celtic LeagueEvent: Celtic Cup finalOrganisation: Munster MunsterOrganisation: Border ReiversOrganisation: NorthamptonOrganisation: LeicesterOrganisation: MunsterOrganisation: LionsOrganisation: ReiversOrganisation: Celtic League

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