The Munster squad assembled in Cork Institute of Technology today after Tony McGahan named an extended 29 strong squad for the opening Heineken Cup game against Northampton Saints in Thomond Park Stadium next Saturday (6pm).
With the exception of Keith Earls, it is the same squad as the one from which the side to play Leinster was selected, Earls damaged a medial ligament at the start of that game and will be out of action for 4-6 weeks.
The level of competition for the number 9 jersey is apparent in the announcement of four scrum halves in the 29-man squad, while Ian Keatley and Scott Deasy provide kicking cover at fly-half for Ronan O’Gara.
McGahan would have hoped for a cleaner bill of health heading into the Heineken Cup with the backline missing Felix Jones and Earls.
David Wallace, Jerry Flannery and Mike Sherry are three big names unavailable for selection in the pack.
Munster Squad: M Horan, W du Preez, BJ Botha, J Hayes, S Archer, D Varley, D Fogarty, D Ryan, P O’Connell, D O’Callaghan, M O’Driscoll, B Holland, P O’Mahony, N Ronan, J Coughlan, D Leamy, C Murray, T O’Leary, P Stringer, D Williams, R O’Gara, I Keatley, S Deasy, J Murphy, D Howlett, D Barnes, W Chambers, L Mafi, D Hurley.
Not considered because of injury: D Wallace (knee), F Jones (ankle), J Flannery (back/calf), K Earls (knee), M Sherry (ankle), Darragh Hurley (back), P Borlase (back), Dave O’Callaghan (knee), S Scanlon (neck), I Dineen (knee), D Cusack (jaw), T Smith (knee).