After the worst return of European results for the Irish provinces in almost 6 years, it was great to see such a good game in Ravenhill on Friday, so lets hope for more of the same today.
Saturday, 22 December 2012
Connacht v Munster, 17:15
Neither set of fans from these two provinces will thank me for the billing I gave tonight’s match in Ravenhill, especially given that Munster sit just behind Leinster on the Pro12 table and Connacht humbled the European Champions already this season.
Eric Elwood’s men will be looking for every point possible to climb towards mid-table and will be happy to be on home soil after last Friday’s mud-bath in Biarritz. Nathan White makes a welcome return and dons the captain’s armband and also back in the pack is George Naoupu who will partner Mike McCarthy.
In the Connacht backline Danie Poolman will be pleased to be back to action and resumes his impressive young centre pairing alongside Dave McSharry. Dan Parks remains at out-half.
On the Munster side of things Ronan O’Gara steps aside to allow Ian Keatley to start at 10 with JJ Hanrahan backing him up on the bench. Peter Stringer makes a rare start at 9 while Daire Hurley and Johne Murphy also return to the starting lineup.
In Rob Penney’s pack we James Coghlan captaining the side in the absence of Howlett and Donncha O’Callaghan ready to mix things up with the likes of McCarthy in what should be a tight forward battle.
Munster usually do well in Galway and I feel they’ll have enough talent on the park to get the job done yet again.
That’s all from me this week, and indeed this year! I’ll be back in two weeks. Be sure and enjoy your rugby AND of course your Christmas & New Year, wherever you are. JLP