Rassie Erasmus makes no less than eight changes for tomorrow’s Guinness PRO12 clash with Zebre at Thomond Park. Long term injury returnee Peter O’Mahony is named in his first Munster side since May of last year with Springbok international Jaco Taute, Tommy O’Donnell and Simon Zebo also included.
In ringing the changes, Erasmus hands lock Darren O’Shea and winger Alex Wotton their first competitive starts.
Following the successful rehabilitation of an ACL rupture sustained in Ireland’s historic World Cup win over France last October, O’Mahony will hope to see some game time after being named amongst the replacements.
In terms of starting XV changes, Simon Zebo has overcome a rib injury while Tommy O’Donnell has now completed return to play protocols for concussion and will start at fullback and openside respectively.
Front rowers Duncan Casey and Stephen Archer make their first starts of the season with Jaco Taute to make his Munster debut from the start after being named at inside centre.
A late withdrawal from last weekend’s win over Edinburgh, Donnacha Ryan has recovered from illness to form a brand new second row partnership with O’Shea. In doing so, Ryan will win his 150th Munster cap and is the first member of the current squad to reach the milestone.
With Wootton named on the left wing, the final change to the starting XV is a positional one where captain Billy Holland switches to the back row.
In contract news, Munster Rugby can confirm that former Leinster academy player Steve Crosbie has signed a three-month development contract and will join the province at the start of October. The 23-year-old outhalf made two PRO12 appearances during his time in the academy and represented Ireland U20s during the 2013 6 Nations and World Championship.
Munster XV: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Keith Earls, Jaco Taute, Alex Wootton; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Duncan Casey, Stephen Archer; Donnacha Ryan, Darren O’Shea; Billy Holland – capt., Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, James Cronin, John Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Oliver, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Cian Bohane.
Please note this game will not be televised.
• Adults €20
• Family €40 (2 Adults & 2 Juniors)
• Students €7
• Juniors €7
Tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster.ie, at the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or at the ground on matchday.
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