Munster boost as Quinlan returns to face Reivers

ALAN QUINLAN’s return will be a major boost for Munster when they take on Border Reivers at Netherdale tonight.

Quinlan has served his recent suspension and goes straight into a back row to partner James Coughlan and Tim McGann.

Quinlan’s experience will be vital against the Scots because the bulk of the front-line Irish internationals are ruled out.

Just one of the Irish team that lost to France has been released; Jerry Flannery who is named as a reserve. Frankie Sheahan has been given the go-ahead to start but, Flannery seems sure to play some role.

The good news is that players like Christian Cullen, Shaun Payne, Barry Murphy and Lifiemi are all fit.

The bad news is that Anthony Foley (calf), John Kelly (ribs), Anthony Horgan (Achilles tendon) and John O’Sullivan (knee) are still ruled out.

The Borders are 19 points adrift of Munster and have registered just one win in the competition this season.

Yet, the fact that the win came against an equally depleted Leinster will set alarm bells ringing in the Munster camp.

Stuart Moffat returns to the team and that will be a boost to a club fighting for survival. Moffat re-signed for the Reivers last week following a spell with French Top 14 club Castres.

Reivers have nine internationals in their squad to take on a Munster side whom they lost 9-8 to at Thomond Park in the second game of the season. That performance and result is an indication that Munster cannot afford to take anything for granted.

Borders head coach Steve Bates said: “We have gone through the whole of January without a game at Netherdale so we are really looking forward to playing on home soil.

BORDER REIVERS: C MacRae, S. Moffatt, B. McDougall, N. De Luca, S. Danielli, S. Jones, R. Chrystie, R. Grant, S. Scott, E. Kalman, O. Palepoi, J. Dalziel, S. Newlands, S. Gray, A. Miller.

Replacements. R. Ford, R. Vernon, S. Forrest, B. McKerchar, G. Townsend, G. Law.

MUNSTER: C. Cullen, S. Payne, B. Murphy, L. Mafi, I. Dowling, J. Manning, T. O’Leary, D. Hurley, F. Sheahan, F. Pucciariello, M. O’Driscoll, C. Wyatt, A. Quinlan, J. Coughlan, T. McGann.

Replacements: T. Buckley, J. Flannery, D. Ryan, M. Melbourne, B. O’Meara, E. Hickey, M. Lawlor.

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