Kidney wants reaction after ‘tough week’

MUNSTER coach Declan Kidney intends using today’s Magners League game against Ospreys to freshen up his side after their exit from the Heineken Cup last weekend.

Munster welcome back four players from injury and Anthony Foley, Anthony Horgan, Federico Pucciariello, and Mossy Lawlor are all included in the starting line-up with James Coughlan, named on the bench.

Foley returns having limped out of the Heineken Cup pool game against Leicester at Thomond Park in mid-January while Horgan’s last start was in the Magners League game against The Dragons at the start of January.

For his part Coughlan came a cropper against Border Reivers seven weeks ago, in a game which saw Lawlor’s last involvement with the squad while Pucciariello picked up a groin injury against Cardiff Blues at the start of March.

Elsewhere, there is a second start for Brian Carney following on from his try-scoring debut against Ulster and Under 21 international Keith Earls is named among the replacements.

Ospreys lie in third place in the table, eight points off the leaders Leinster, but with a game in hand, this look like being a difficult encounter for Declan Kidney’s side and the coach is not unaware of the fact.

“Of course it’s been a tough week. It always is when you go out of a competition. But what we have to do now is lift ourselves for the next challenge. This is when we find out about ourselves.

“We have to park that (the Heineken Cup defeat) now. There will an opportunity to revisit it and see what we need to correct.

‘‘We can’t do anything in the short term now about what happened last weekend, but we do have control over what happens on Saturday and that’s what we must focus on,” he said.

For their part, the Ospreys have named a strong side for the Munster’s as they chase a double, with next week’s EDF Energy Cup final also looming for them.

Duncan Jones, Adam Jones, Justin Marshall and Nikki Walker are held back, but otherwise the Welsh region are near to full strength.

Ospreys are in third, behind Leinster and Ulster, but have more matches left in the title run-in.

In their last league match, Munster came from 21-3 down to beat Ulster 24-21 at Ravenhill.

The Ospreys are still missing long-term casualties Gavin Henson (knee), Ian Evans (shoulder), Lyndon Bateman (knee) and David Bishop (knee), but Richard Hibbard (shoulder and bicep) will be available against Leicester next week.

“There is no good time to face an outfit as efficient as Munster, but this weekend is a particularly bad time to come up against them,” said Ospreys coach Lyn Jones.

“They were comprehensively outplayed by the Scarlets on their last visit to Wales and I am sure they will, both individually and collectively, be looking to turn things around.”

Meanwhile Munster have delayed the kick-off time of their fixture against Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park on Saturday, April 28th by two hours. The game is now scheduled for a 5pm start.

OSPREYS: S Terblanche; J Vaughton, S Parker, A Bishop, S Williams; J Hook, J Spice; P James (capt), H Bennett, C Griffiths, B Cockbain, A-Wyn Jones, A Lloyd, S Tandy, R Jones.

Replacements: B Williams, A Jone, J Thomas, R Pugh, J Marshall, S Connor, N Walker.

MUNSTER: M Lawlor, B Carney, B Murphy, L Mafi, A Horgan; J Manning, T O’Leary; F Pucciariello, F Sheahan, T Buckley; D O’Callaghan, D Ryan; A Quinlan, J O’Sullivan, A Foley capt.

Replacements: J Flannery, M Horan/Eugene McGovern, S O’Connor, J Coughlan, B O’Meara, R O’Gara, K Earls.

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