Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus makes eight changes from the side that defeated Benetton Treviso for tomorrow evening’s round 22 encounter with Connacht at Thomond Park – ko 5.15pm.
With James Cronin, Rhys Marshall and Stephen Archer remaining in the front row, Billy Holland returns to captain the side and partners Darren O’Shea in the second row while the only other change in the pack sees Jean Deysel overcome a rib injury to start at blindside flanker. Yesterday named as Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Player of the Year, Conor Oliver joins Jack O’Donoghue in completing the pack.
Across the backline Angus Lloyd and Ian Keatley come in at half back with Keatley to make his 150th appearance for Munster, doing so against his former side for whom he won 57 caps.
In midfield, academy centre Dan Goggin returns to the starting lineup alongside Jaco Taute who just today was announced as one of six Munster players in the 2016/17 Guinness PRO12 Dream Team.
The final changes sees speedsters Keith Earls, Alex Wootton and Andrew Conway form a new back-three.
Naming a very strong bench with no less than six Irish internationals, Erasmus includes Conor Murray in a matchday 23 for the first time since the scrum half sustained a shoulder injury in Ireland’s 6 Nations encounter with Wales at the Millennium Stadium back in March.
On the player injury front, following a scan this week, Dave O’Callaghan will meet with a specialist for the knee injury he sustained in the round 21 win over Treviso.
Munster: Andrew Conway, Alex Wootton, Jaco Taute, Dan Goggin, Keith Earls; Ian Keatley, Angus Lloyd; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Darren O’Shea, Billy Holland – capt.; Jean Deysel, Conor Oliver, Jack O’Donoghue.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell, Conor Murray, Tyler Bleyendaal, Francis Saili.
Munster v Connacht, Guinness PRO12 round 22, Saturday May 6th at Thomond Park, ko 5.15pm.
Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster.ie, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park, or by calling 061 421103.
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