Donnacha Ryan and Francis Saili start for Munster in final Thomond Park outings

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Ryan and Saili start for Munster in final Thomond Park outings

Donnacha Ryan is set to start his final game at Thomond Park for Munster on Saturday

SECOND-ROW Donnacha Ryan and centre Francis Saili have been named in Munster’s starting line-up to face the Ospreys in Saturday’s Guinness Pro12 semi-final in their final appearances for the province at Thomond Park.

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus makes no less than 12 changes from the side that defeated Connacht the semi-final showdown which has a 6.15pm kick-off. The game is live on TG4 and Sky Sports.

While Ryan and Saili return to the starting line-up, Billy Holland, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway are the only players retained in the team from the facile Round 22 win over Connacht.

Joining Holland and Ryan in the tight-five are front rowers Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan, while in the back row Peter O’Mahony returns as captain with Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander completing the pack.

Conor Murray and Tyler Bleyendaal resume their half-back partnership, the former making his first start since returning from a shoulder injury. 

Murray also draws ever closer to the century landmark for Munster and will make his 99th appearance this weekend.

Saili and Rory Scannell return to the midfield and the final change sees Simon Zebo re-join the back-three at fullback with Conway reverting to the wing and Earls remaining in situ on the opposite flank.

Having just signed new two-year deals with the province, both Ian Keatley and Jaco Taute are named among the replacements.

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (Capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Rhys Marshall, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Jean Deysel, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Jaco Taute.

OSPREYS: Dan Evans, Keelan Giles, Kieron Fonotia, Ashley Beck, Tom Habberfield; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Rhodri Jones; Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones; Sam Underhill, Justin Tipuric, James King. Replacements: Scott Otten, Paul James, Dan Suter, Lloyd Ashley, Olly Cracknell, Brendon Leornard, Sam Davies, Josh Matavesi.