FELIX JONES HAS been granted a final audition for the Ireland fullback role after being selected at 15 for Munster’s visit to Cardiff.
Jones will line-up at the back of an experienced Munster backline for a Pro12 match against a Blues side reeling from a 59-22 loss to Leinster last weekend.
Denis Hurley was called up to the Ireland training squad, in Maynooth, yesterday but Jones may still force himself into the reckoning with a solid performance.
The Dubliner made his first start of the season in the 29-3 victory over Zebre last Wednesday but Cardiff, despite their recent run of form, should provide a sterner test.
“My focus is purely on the game against Cardiff Blues,” he said, ” I have no control of issues beyond that and just need to concentrate on this game on Friday.”
Ronan O’Gara will start at out-half after he was temporarily released from national duty by Ireland coach Declan Kidney. He will partner Duncan Williams in the half back pairing.
Captain Doug Howlett, rested for the Zebre game, is back in his familiar wing berth while Luke O’Dea, a try scorer last week, is on the left-hand flank.
Up front, Marcus Horan is the one change in the front row but there’s a new combination of Dave Foley and Billy Holland in the second row.
Sean Dougall returns to the openside flank andTommy O’Donnell wears the number 8 jersey for the first time at senior level.
Munster: F Jones; D Howlett (c), C Laulala, I Keatley, L O’Dea; R O’Gara, D Williams; M Horan, M Sherry, S Archer; D Foley, B Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, S Dougall, T O’Donnell.
Replacements: D Varley, J Ryan, W du Preez, I Nagle, P Butler, P Stringer, D Barnes, J Murphy.