Head Coach Johann van Graan has named his first Champions Cup match-day squad with returning internationals Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Dave Kilcoyne, Conor Murray and Andrew Conway all included for Saturday’s Thomond Park round 3 encounter against Leicester Tigers (7.45pm).
The returning international contingent are five of six changes to the side that defeated Ospreys in Irish Independent Park last weekend.
Stephen Archer is promoted from the bench this week and joins Rhys Marshall and Dave Kilcoyne in the front row, and it’s as you were with the second row partnership of Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland.
A new-look back row sees Chris Cloete start in his first Champions Cup game as the South African flanker links up with the experienced duo of captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander.
Murray joins Ian Keatley in the half backs with Rory Scannell and Sam Arnold again forming the midfield pairing. Arnold makes his Champions Cup debut in red after last representing Ulster in Europe in January ’16.
Winger Alex Wootton is another who will make his European bow this weekend as he retains his place to start in a back three that includes Conway and Zebo.
Included in the replacements is Darren O’Shea, who is also in line to make his Champions Cup debut.
Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (c), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Darren Sweetnam.
Saturday, December 9
Munster v Leicester Tigers, Thomond Park, 7.45pm
Tickets from: Adults €20; Juniors €10; Students €10 – purchase online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 061 421103.
Sam Arnold looks ahead to his first Munster Champions Cup game.