McGahan defends move to draft in World Cup big guns

TONY McGAHAN has defended his decision to bring several big names straight back into Munster’s starting team this weekend.

The IRFU has implemented a player management programme post-World Cup to keep the Irish players fresh and injury free but McGahan named Keith Earls, Conor Murray, Ronan O’Gara, Donnacha Ryan, Paul O’Connell and Denis Leamy in the Munster starting 15 for tonight’s game while Donncha O’Callaghan is listed among the replacements, alongside Tomás O’Leary.

“I think you’ll have seen South African, English and other countries players come back and play as soon as they were out of the quarter-finals,” said Tony McGahan.

“The Irish players had two weeks’ rest. We’re already at least a week and a bit behind so we need to look at all the possibilities and people who are going to be best for us short-term and long-term in this four-week block that we have.”

Will Chambers is at outside centre which means a switch to 12 for Danny Barnes and the return of O’Connell naturally sees him take over as captain.

MUNSTER: J Murphy, D Howlett,W Chambers, D Barnes, K Earls, R O’Gara, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley,BJ Botha, D Ryan, P O’Connell (capt), D Leamy, P O’Mahony,J Coughlan.

Replacements: D Fogarty,M Horan, J Hayes,D O’Callaghan, N Ronan,T O’Leary, S Deasy, L Mafi.

AIRONI: R Trevisan, S Sinoti, A Masi, G Pavan, G Venditti, L Orquera,T Keats; J Sole, S Favaro, N Cattina,M Bortolami (capt), J Furno,F Staibano, F Ongaro, M Aguero.

Replacements: R Santamaria, S Perugini, L Redolfini, Q Geldenhuys, F Ferrarini, T Tebaldi,N Olivier, G Toniolatti.

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