Munster gamble on Murray and Varley

Munster Rugby Squad Training - Wednesday 4th DecemberMUNSTER head coach Rob Penney has included injury doubts Damien Varley and Conor Murray in his starting line up for tomorrow’s game with Gloucester in the Heineken Cup. (Kick off at 6pm, live on Sky Sports) The Lions scrum half has not played a competitive game since Munster took on Perpignan in the same competition on December 8 2013. Varley (ankle) has only taken part in one training session this week after sustaining a nasty looking injury in the Ulster game last Friday night.
Rob Penney has made six changes to the side beaten by Ulster last weekend with Murray set to win his 50th cap. Aside from Murray, there are three other changes in the backs with Keith Earls, Johne Murphy and James Downey all returning to the side.Earls is back on the right wing after missing out last week with a bruised shoulder with Downey, who missed out with an irritated groin, returning to partner Casey Laulala in the centres.

Murphy comes into the side on the left wing with out-half Ian Keatley and full-back Felix Jones keeping their places in the starting XV.

There are two changes in the forwards as BJ Botha and Dave Foley are drafted into the pack. It will be a a big day for Tipperary man Foley as it is his first appearance in the Heineken Cup.

Penney has gone for an international front row with props Dave Kilcoyne and South African Botha either side of Varley. The back row remains unchanged with Munster captain Peter O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell and James Coughlan in good form heading into tomorrow’s Kingsholm encounter.

Simon Zebo is named on the bench as he returns to the squad for the first time since cracking a bone in his foot against Edinburgh in October.

Donncha O’Callaghan and JJ Hanrahan are also amongst the replacements after their recent injury issues.

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Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony (Capt.), Tommy O’Donnell, James Coughlan. Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Simon Zebo.

In Munster ‘A’ news,
Munster A face Nottingham at St. Mary’s RFC tonight and one change has been made to the side announced yesterday. Darren Sweetnam replaces Andrew Conway on the wing, the decision was made as a precautionary measure by the management and medical team after Conway felt tightness in his groin after training yesterday.