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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018
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O'Donnell misses out as Munster choose Dougall for Heineken Cup semi

Donncha Ryan’s absence has forced Rob Penney into a back row reshuffle for Sunday’s trip to Marseille.

Laulala stars alongside Downey in midfield on Sunday.
Laulala stars alongside Downey in midfield on Sunday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

MUNSTER HAVE BEEN dealt a blow with confirmation that Donncha Ryan will miss Sunday’s Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon.

Ryan, who was racing to recover from a foot injury, returned to light training this week but has not made the matchday 23 for the game at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille (3.30pm Irish time).

With Peter O’Mahony also injured it leaves coach Rob Penney with a back row of CJ Stander, Sean Dougall and James Coughlan. Tommy O’Donnell is the man to miss out and has to make do with a place on the bench.

There was better news concerning Casey Laulala who has recovered from a hand fracture to take his place alongside James Downey in midfield, while out-half JJ Hanrahan is named among the replacements after making good progress following a groin tear.

Elsewhere Penney has named the same front five that started the quarter-final win against Toulouse, with Damien Varley captaining the side on his first start in a Heineken Cup semi.

Toulon: Delon Armitage; Drew Mitchell, Mathieu Bastareaud, Matt Giteau, Bryan Habana; Jonny Wilkinson (c), Sebastien Tillous-Borde; Xavier Chiocci, Craig Burden, Carl Hayman, Danie Rossouw, Jocelino Suta, Juan Smith, Juan Fernandez Lobbe, Steffon Armitage

Replacements: Jean-Charles Orioli, Alexandre Menini, Martin Castrogiovanni, Virgile Bruni, David Smith, Maxime Mermoz, Michael Claassens, Konstantine Mikautadze

Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell; CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, John Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.

‘There’ll be plenty of people ringing in sick on Monday, with the help of God!’

Snapshot: The Irish Defence Forces in Syria show their support for Munster

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Niall Kelly

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