Derby day at Thomond Park

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Munster v Newport Gwent Dragons - Celtic League 2013/14 Round 4IT’S DERBY day at Thomond Park this Saturday  5 night as Munster take on Leinster in the RaboDirect Pro12 league at 6.45pm. (Live on RTE2)

Felix Jones and Paul O’Connell who both returned to Munster action last weekend against Newport Gwent Dragons make their first start of the season this Saturday in Thomond Park against Leinster, ko 6.45pm.

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Further positive news sees the return of BJ Botha and Conor Murray who are both named in the replacements.

Botha, who sustained a knee injury in Munster’s pre-season game against London Irish, has displayed great commitment to the rehab programme set out by Munster’s medical staff in getting match ready for the round five fixture.

Rob Penney’s men are currently lying in third, one point ahead of their rivals in the table, having secured 14 points from their opening four games.
Wins over Edinburgh, Zebre and the Dragons, coupled with a loss to Treviso have seen Munster amass an impressive points tally of 119 points and 14 tries in their opening games. An attacking ruthlessness which will be more than needed against a Leinster side who will be looking for their fifth win in a row against Munster.
Leinster have started the season with wins over the Scarlets and Cardiff, while drawing with the Ospreys and losing to Glasgow. Their haul of 13 tries, against better opposition than Munster have faced, means that once more Leinster will be favourites for this weekend’s clash.

Leinster, whose only defeat in their last dozen matches in all tournaments was 6-12 at table topping Glasgow on September 20, will also be close to full strength. Sean O’Brien is expected to return to the backrow, with Brian O’Driscoll set to once more be a key figure for the blues at 13.
The Leinstermen have won four of their last six away games against fellow Irish provinces, so there will be no fear in their camp as both sides look to set out their stall ahead of the resumption of the Heineken Cup the weekend after next.

Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilycoyne, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; Donncha Ryan, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony Capt., Niall Ronan, James Coughlan. Replacements: Damien Varley, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Conor Murray, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.

Tickets are currently on sale for Saturday’s game online from the Munster Rugby website, from the Munster Rugby ticket offices in Thomond Park and Musgrave Park, or by calling Ticketmaster on 0818 719300.  Please note tickets will be on sale on match day from 9am from the Ticketmaster van at Hassett’s Cross and from 4.45pm from the West Stand ticket office.