Munster make five changes for Connacht clash

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Keith Earls will start on the wing for Munster's crucial Guinness PRO12 clash with provincial rivals Connacht at Thomond Park this Saturday, 5.15pm
RETURNING Ireland stars Simon Zebo, Keith Earls, Ian Keatley, Tommy O’Donnell and Felix Jones start for Munster in their crucial Guinness PRO12 clash with Connacht at Thomond Park this Saturday, 5.15pm.

RETURNING Ireland stars Simon Zebo, Keith Earls, Ian Keatley, Tommy O’Donnell and Felix Jones start for Munster in their crucial Guinness PRO12 clash with Connacht at Thomond Park this Saturday, 5.15pm.

However, 6 Nations Championship starters against Scotland last weekend, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray, are not included in Munster’s matchday squad for the inter-provincial clash.

More than 17,000 tickets have been sold Saturday’s game and tickets will be available to purchase on the day.

In total, Foley makes five 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 the second row.

The return of Tommy O’Donnell at openside is the only change to 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. Smith partners captain Denis Hurley in the centre.

The return of Smith sees Keith Earls move to the right wing with Simon Zebo returning to the opposite flank.

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.

Adult tickets start from €20 while Juniors can go from €7. Purchase tickets online from Ticketmaster.ie, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Thomond Park or Musgrave Park, or by calling 0818 719 300.

Both 6 Nations trophies will be presented to supporters at half-time in Thomond Park with Ireland captain Paul O’Connell and Ireland Women’s captain Niamh Briggs in attendance.

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.

CONNACHT: Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Danie Poolman, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Rodney Ah You, Mick Kearney, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon (captain), Eoghan Masterson, George Naoupu. Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Ronan Loughney, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, John Cooney, Shane O’Leary, Conor Finn.