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Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

15.32 6 Jan 2021


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Munster are set to roll out the front-liners for this weekend's top of the table clash with Connacht in the PRO 14.

Johann van Graan's side suffered their first defeat of the season against Ulster last weekend, and with Connacht's surprise win against Leinster, their lead over the western province at the top of Conference B has been cut to eight points.

Munster rested many of their Irish internationals, as well as Springbok centre Damian de Allende for the trip to Belfast last week, but attack coach Stephen Larkham says they have a full deck to choose from - aside from long-term absentees.

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And with Munster looking to continue their 100 percent Heineken Champions Cup form on Saturday the 17th against Clermont, it seems the likes of Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Damian de Allende and Keith Earls could all be brought back into the matchday squad.

"Except for those that are injured, yeah, everyone is available for the game this weekend," he said.

Larkham added that the postponement of their December 26th meeting with Leinster may have caused some rustiness early on in the 15-10 loss against Ulster on Saturday, but that they are ready to reload the team ahead of a crucial period in both the PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup.

"We had a bit of planning and a bit of thought go into the processes over the last couple of weeks. It was a bit of a shame that we didn't get to play against Leinster. That would have been a fine little top off for some of the guys.

"But we gave the guys a good rest, those that needed it. Everyone should be available for selection this weekend."

Saturday's defeat to Ulster was Munster's first outing since their remarkable comeback win against Clermont Auvergne in France before Christmas - with the province keen to keep that momentum rolling for the trip to the Sportsground this Saturday.

"We were pleased coming out of that game. It would have been nice to keep that momentum going against Leinster and then we made a few changes that probably resulted in our accuracy not being as good as it should have been on the weekend. But there is still momentum in this team.

"It's a big game for us this weekend. Connacht played a good game on the weekend and they're second in the table, so it's massive. In our planning, we had ear-marked this game as very important for us.

"We had planned for our guys to have a bit of a rest last week. We have an important run of games coming up but we don't want to focus too far in front of the game this weekend."

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CJ Stander Conor Murray Damian De Allende Guinness Pro14 Munster Peter O'Mahony Pro14

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