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Easterby Joined By Munster’s Magnificent Seven

Easterby Joined By Munster’s Magnificent Seven

Irish coach Eddie O’Sullivan’s injury plagued build-up to his first game in charge of the national side has seen him have to rule out four senior players for the Lloyds TSB Six Nations opener against Wales at Lansdowne Road on Sunday, 3 February.
Following on from the early withdrawals of skipper Keith Wood and fellow British Lion Malcolm O’Kelly, the Ierish coach has also seen Leinster duo Shane Horgan and Eric Miller drop out. In addition, Leinster prop Emmet Byrne could also not be considered through injury.
It has meant a major reshuffle of his side and a heavy reliance on the Munster side that reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup for the third successive season last weekend with a magnificent victory in Paris over Stade Francais.
O’Sullivan has handed a first cap to young Munster lock Paul O’Connell, who was man of the match in Paris, in the absenece of O’Kelly, while Munster hooker Frank Sheahan comes in for Wood at hooker to make his first start in the Six Nations Championship.
That means Munster provide the whole of the front five, seven members of the pack and eight players overall to the side.
Peter Stringer appears at scrum half and to make it an even greater day for the Munster contingent, their captain Mick Galwey will lead the side in the absence of Wood and prop Peter Clohessy will win his 50th cap.
Up front, Llanelli’s Simon Easterby is the odd man out, while Leicester Tigers full back Geordan Murphy comes in on the right wing. He fills in for Bath’s kevin maggs, who switches to centre in the absence of Horgan.
Leinster’s uncapped flanker Keith Gleeson, Dublin-born but a former captain of Australia Under 21, comes in on the replacements bench due to the absence of team mate Miller.
O’Sullivan has still to decide on a prop replacement and has named an AN Other on the bench.

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Girvan Dempsey (Leinster); Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), Kevin Maggs (Bath), Denis Hickie (Leinster; David Humphreys (Ulster), Peter Stringer (Munster); Peter Clohessy (Munster), Frank Sheahan (Munster), John Hayes (Munster); Mick Galwey (Munster, CAPTAIN), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Simon Easterby (Llanelli), David Wallace (Munster), Anthony Foley (Munster)

Shane Byrne (Leinster), AN Other, Gary Longwell (Ulster), Keith Gleeson (Leinster), Guy Easterby (Llanelli), Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Rob Henderson (Munster).

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