Interesting selections. Joe never fails to surprise. The majority of people had their minds set on Healy, Boss, SOB and possibly Cullen to start with a real dogfight on our hands.
It looks to me Joe is relying on a fast game - we're light in the backrow with SOB on the bench, and possibly even more mobile in the engine room with Toner and Thorn. Cronin and HVDM offer some mobility in the front row as well, with Healy on the bench there's more of that coming.
Then the telling selection at 9; Reddan had been in the papers all week so I had a feeling he'd be picked, although I would've gone with Boss myself as it's always a bit of an arm wrestle at Thomond. Hopefully himself and Sexton get off to a flying start and the forecast stays clear. I read today there's chances of showers in Limerick but it'll still be 12+c, so that could make for some interesting conditions.
The backline is no surprise - D'Arcy is still the senior 12 on the team. For all of McFadden's potential, he still has that 'utility' shirt on, and he's far more valuable to Joe on the bench than D'Arcy would be. Hope BOD has the 80 minutes in him, as I really hate when D'Arcy and Ferg partner up... the ball just dies.
Munster have some interesting selections too. Very surprised not to see Hurley anywhere near the team. I'd concur that Earls seems to be the on-field utility here, with Barnes able to jump in at 13 if need be. I wonder if Jones will be bringing his kicking boots - potentially that's where they could upset Leinster - a back three of Kearney, Isa and Fitz may sound dangerous but in reality Fitzy has only been in dangerous form when in the opposition's half, Isa hasn't exactly set the world alight on the tighter side of the pitch, so it really leaves it down to a one vs one contest with Kearney, that's good odds.
Surprised TOD isn't starting also. Think he'd make an impact from the start, with DOC2 adding to an arm-wrestle situation in the second half if need be. I think Munster have the more solid front row.
It'll be interesting to see how the TH's do their jobs respectively. Botha is a rock, but Ross has the engine power on him I think. I'd imagine some calls from Nige that will raise a few eyebrows here. I think Munster have the upper hand though - especially with Ross carrying a niggle, and only Hagan on the bench. Whilst I rate Hagan as a project TH, I think he'll be lost at this level, and surprised to see him in contention after that busted rib. White must've really done some damage to his face to avoid this.
Munster have the Thomond factor, and Leinster will have the Shaggy factor! Really too tight to call. Gonna be one of those days where you just don't know what to expect. Too many variables. I'll be going into fine Thomond to scream my head off for Leinster though. Can't wait.