O’Gara and Stringer to start against Dragons

Peter stringer and Ronan O’Gara will form a familiar halfback partnership for Munster’s RaboDirect PRO12 meeting with the Dragons in Thomond Park on Saturday (8pm).

Peter stringer and Ronan O’Gara will form a familiar halfback partnership for Munster’s RaboDirect PRO12 meeting with the Dragons in Thomond Park on Saturday (8pm).

It is the first time the former PBC classmates have been paired together from the off in 19 months and will be Stringer's first start for the Munster senior side since the Edinburgh game at Murrayfield this time last year.

Between them, O'Gara and Stringer have amassed almost 450 competitive Munster caps with Stringer set to win a phenomenal 226th Munster cap on Saturday.

Injuries sustained in last week’s game against Ulster have ruled James Coughlan and Luke O'Dea out for a number of weeks and Denis Hurley and Ivan Dineen succumbed to illness this week

forcing Rob Penney to ring the changes.

Ian Keatley comes in for Hurley at full back, a position he occupied for the latter end of the game last weekend while the loss of O'Dea who was in a rich vein of form is softened by the availability of international Simon Zebo.

Paddy Butler might have expected to be preparing for the A game later today against Connacht but instead finds himself anchoring the scrum.

After six starts in a row Casey Laulala and Sean Dougall are given a break, Keith Earls comes in for Laulala in midfield with Niall Ronan back from injury to replace Dougall.

There's a return to the match day squad for Danny Barnes and a first time inclusion for JJ Hanrahan after his late show in Deramore Park last weekend when his try and conversion helped Munster A to a one-point victory.

Munster (v Dragons): I Keatley; D Howlett (c), K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, M Sherry, BJ Botha, Donncha O'Callaghan, B Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, N Ronan, P Butler.

Replacements: D Varley, W du Preez, S Archer, D Foley, T O'Donnell, C Murray, D Barnes, JJ Hanrahan.

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