O’Driscoll welcomes Howlett on board

Munster kick off their A campaign at Donnybrook today (1pm) with new head coach Mick O’Driscoll welcoming an important addition to his backroom staff in Doug Howlett.

O’Driscoll welcomes Howlett on board

O’Driscoll’s former Munster team-mate, still New Zealand’s record try scorer, has accepted his invitation to assist A team backs coach Greig Oliver. The new coaching ticket face a difficult challenge against Girvan Dempsey’s Leinster A on Donnybrook’s new pitch this afternoon as they gear up for the start of the British & Irish Cup campaign beginning next week.

“It’s great to have Doug back involved,” O’Driscoll said. “I had asked him a while back to come in and share with us some of his experiences and knowledge. Luckily Doug has agreed and comes in as a backs consultant to Greig Oliver.

“He will help develop a lot of these young guys. Having him at training has been a big boost, not just for the As but for the senior lads as well as they get his opinion on things.

“The man’s record speaks for itself, what he’s achieved in the game has been phenomenal and he certainly has Munster Rugby at heart.”

Today’s fixture pits two strong line-ups against each other, O’Driscoll sending a 22-man squad that is academy talent led by captain and No.8 Jack O’Donoghue combined with experience including Donncha O’Callaghan, Ivan Dineen, Ronan O’Mahony and Johne Murphy.

Tom Denton leads a Leinster A side featuring Ireland hooker Richardt Strauss in his first match since May. Dempsey’s side begins its B&I Cup defence at Plymouth next Saturday while O’Driscoll’s side open up on the same day at Clonmel against Moseley.

LEINSTER A: C Kelleher, S Coghlan Murray, C O’Shea, T Daly, A Byrne; C Marsh, N McCarthy; P Dooley, R Strauss, O Heffernan; T Denton – captain, G Thornbury; J Coghlan, J Van Der Flier, P Timmins.

Replacements: T Moran, S McCarthy, J Loughman, R Molony, J Dwan, L McGrath, R Byrne, R O’Loughlin.

MUNSTER A: J Murphy; R O’Mahony, I Dineen, R Scannell, L O’Dea; D Johnston, C Sheridan; A Cotter, K O’Byrne, R Burke; D O’Callaghan, S McCarthy; S Buckley, B O’Mahony, J O’Donoghue — captain.

Replacements: M Abbott, E Guinazu, J Madigan, R Murphy, J Glynn, D Goggin, A Wootton.

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