Head Coach Anthony Foley has named a strong side to face Connacht in Round 18 of the Guinness PRO12 at Thomond Park tomorrow, again naming Denis Hurley as captain and including a number of returning internationals in his matchday 23.
In total, Foley makes seven personnel and positional changes to the starting line up that lost to Ospreys in the last round of the competition.
Two changes in the front row see John Ryan and Stephen Archer come in to start on either side of Eusebio Guinazu with Donncha O’Callaghan and Billy Holland remaining in situ in the second row.
The return of Tommy O’Donnell at openside is the only change in the back row with Dave O’Callaghan and CJ Stander continuing at 6 and 8 respectively.
Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley again team up in the half-backs, while Andrew Smith makes his first start since returning from injury, doing so outside captain Denis Hurley in the midfield.
The return of Smith sees Keith Earls move to the right wing with Simon Zebo returning to the opposite flank. Should Zebo score a try this weekend, he will equal Doug Howlett’s league try record of 22 tries.
Felix Jones completes the back-three, reverting to full-back for this weekend’s clash.
Having successfully rehabbed an ankle injury sustained during training in February, Duncan Casey is named amongst the replacements.
Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley – capt., Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; John Ryan, Eusebio Guinazu, Stephen Archer; Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, Dave Kilcoyne, BJ Botha, Paddy Butler, Jack O’Donoghue, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O’Mahony.
Munster v Connacht, Guinness PRO12 Round 18, Saturday Match 28th at Thomond Park – KO 5:15pm.
With over 17,000 tickets now sold, Adult tickets start from just €;20 while Juniors can go from just €;7. Purchase tickets online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park or by calling 0818 719 300.
Tickets for this game can also be purchased as part of a 3 Match Pack where you can enjoy all three remaining home round games – against Connacht, Benetton Treviso and Newport-Gwent Dragons (both in Cork) – from just €;50. Start building your 3 Match Pack here.
After a fantastic weekend for Irish Rugby, both the Senior and Women’s 6 Nations trophies will be on display at Thomond Park on Saturday, with Irish captains Paul O'Connell and Niamh Briggs taking to the field at half time as special guests. The trophies will be available for fans to view pre-match in the Guinness Dug Out Bar in the Fanzone Plaza from 3pm to 3.45pm, while Supporters Club members will get exclusive access to the trophies in the MRSC Bar in the West Stand from 4pm to 4.45pm.