Anthony Foley has named his side to face Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 Final at Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium tomorrow evening. The Head Coach makes a number of tactical and injury enforced changes to the side that defeated Ospreys with BJ Botha in line to win his 100th Munster cap.
In total three changes are made for this weekend’s starting line-up. Having failed a late fitness test Peter O’Mahony (hip) is unavailable for selection while injury also rules out Conor Murray. The scrum half met with a specialist yesterday and is required to rehab a medial ligament knee injury for the next 6 weeks.
As expected, Andrew Smith, Eusebio Guinazu and Paddy Butler, all of whom stood out Tuesday’s training session, have recovered from their respective knocks to make the starting 15.
Good news also for Simon Zebo who has successfully completed his return-to-play protocols to start on the left wing.
In O’Mahony’s absence, Denis Hurley will captain the side for the seventh time this season.
The only change in the front row sees the centurion BJ Botha come in to start alongside Dave Kilcoyne and Eusebio Guinazu. The tighthead becomes the fifth player this season – and the tenth of the current squad – to reach the century milestone for the province.
With Donnacha Ryan making the switch to 6 this weekend Billy Holland comes into the second row to partner Paul O’Connell for what could be the former Munster captain’s final game in the famous red jersey.
Ryan is the only change to the back row with Paddy Butler and last weekend’s Man of the Match CJ Stander completing the pack at 7 and 8 respectively.
Just one change across the backline sees Duncan Williams join the half backs alongside Ian Keatley, Andrew Smith continues his partnership with captain Denis Hurley in the midfield, while Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Felix Jones will again start in the back three.
Having sustained a bruised knee in April, James Cronin returns to provide front row cover from the bench with Cathal Sheridan another returnee to the matchday 23. The scrum half could feature in the Guinness PRO12 for the first time since November after successfully rehabbing a prolonged forearm injury.
Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley – capt., Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Eusebio Guinazu, BJ Botha; Billy Holland, Paul O’Connell; Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Butler, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Sean Dougall, Jack O’Donoghue, Cathal Sheridan, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O’Mahony.
Munster v Glasgow Warriors, Guinness PRO12 Final, Saturday May 30th at Kingspan Stadium – KO 6.30pm.
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