/ Rugby

O'Leary back in Munster starting XV

Updated: Friday, 21 Jan 2011 13:05

Tomás O'Leary: in Munster starting lineup
Tomás O'Leary: in Munster starting lineup

Tomás O’Leary has reclaimed the starting scrum-half jersey in a Munster side to face London Irish which also shows several other changes from the team beaten by Toulon (3.30pm).

Munster crashed out of the Heineken Cup thanks to a 32-16 defeat against the well-financed French outfit last week and can now only qualify for the Amlin Challenge Cup.

O’Leary, who was recently left out of Ireland coach Declan Kidney's initial RBS 6 Nations squad, replaces Peter Stringer, who drops to the bench. Ronan O’Gara continues at out-half.

Elsewhere in the backline, full-back Paul Warwick, who suffered a heavy knock against Toulon, and centre Sam Tuitupou, who strained his hamstring during training this week, also miss out on selection.

Johne Murphy shifts from wing to full-back in place of Warwick with Denis Hurley coming into the starting XV on one wing. Doug Howlett continues on the other wing. Keith Earls and Lifiemi Mafi start together in the centre.

In the pack, Wian Du Preez, Damien Varley and John Hayes are selected again to start in the front row. Mick O’Driscoll replaces Donncha O’Callaghan in the number four jersey with O’Callaghan dropping to the bench. Paul O’Connell starts for the second week in a row after his comeback from suspension.

Number eight Denis Leamy continues as captain.

Flanker Niall Ronan replaces James Coughlan in the back-row and will play in the number six jersey. David Wallace is also retained from last week's starting XV and starts at seven.

Along with Stringer, O’Callaghan and Coughlan, Mike Sherry, Tony Buckley, Darragh Hurley, Scott Deasy and Tom Gleason are named among the replacements.

Donnacha Ryan, a substitute last week, is also unavailable as he tweaked a hamstring in last Sunday's game.

Munster team to face London Irish in the Heineken Cup on Saturday, January 22 (3.30pm) at Thomond Park:

J Murphy; D Howlett, K Earls, L Mafi, D Hurley; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; W du Preez, D Varley, J Hayes; M O'Driscoll, P O'Connell; D Wallace, N Ronan, D Leamy capt.

Replacements: M Sherry, D Hurley, T Buckley, D O'Callaghan, J Coughlan, P Stringer, S Deasy, T Gleeson.