MUNSTER WILL ROLL back the years in Thomond Park this weekend when Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara reunite in a bid to slay the Newport Gwent Dragons.
It is 19 months since the veteran half-back pairing last started a game together but coach Rob Penney has plumped for experience against the Welsh side, who have lost two of their opening three games in the RaboDirect Pro12.
Between them Stringer and O’Gara have amassed almost 450 competitive caps for the province. Saturday’s match will be a 226th appearance for Stringer, Munster’s most capped player.
Injuries have forced Penney to make a total of eight changes from the side which lost 20-19 against Ulster in Ravenhill last Friday. James Coughlan (groin), Luke O’Dea (leg), Denis Hurley and Ivan Dineen (both illness) all miss out.
Ian Keatley drops to full back while Irish internationals Keith Earls and Simon Zebo are available for selection again and slot straight into the starting XV.
Marcus Horan and Mike Sherry join BJ Botha in the front row while Niall Ronan and Patrick Butler line up alongside Dave O’Callaghan at the back of the pack.
Danny Barnes returns to the matchday squad and there’s a first-time inclusion for Irish U20 out-half JJ Hanrahan who scored a late try and conversion in Munster A’s two-point win against the Ulster Ravens last week.
Munster: 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.