MUNSTER coach Rob Penney has opted to start Stephen Archer at tighthead prop and Sean Dougall in the back-row for Sunday’s crucial Heineken Cup pool game with USAP Perpignan at Thomond Park (12.45pm).
Archer is given the nod to start ahead of the vastly experienced BJ Botha in the front row, while Dougall is chosen ahead of CJ Stander to start at number seven. Both Botha and Stander are listed among the replacements for the Pool 6 tie.
Elsewhere, Munster are boosted by the inclusion of fit-again Keith Earls on the right wing, with Johne Murphy chosen on the left wing.
Captain Peter O’Mahony and scrum-half Conor Murray are both included in the Munster side for the first time since October.
Coach Penney has made six changes to the side that extended Munster’s winning run to five games against Newport Gwent Dragons in the PRO12 last weekend.
There are three changes in the backs with Murray coming in to partner last week’s man of the match Ian Keatley in the half-backs.
Casey Laulala returns to the side and lines up alongside James Downey in the centre positions.
Damien Varley is the only change in the front row as the hooker replaces the injured Mike Sherry with Irish internationals Dave Kilcoyne and Archer keeping their places in the side. The second row of Donncha O’Callaghan and Paul O’Connell remains the same from last week’s fixture at Rodney Parade.
James Coughlan starts at number eight after recovering from an eye injury sustained against Newport Gwent Dragons last weekend.
Shannon hooker Duncan Casey who could make his competitive debut for the province as he is included among the replacements.
Munster currently lie second in Pool 6 of the Heineken Cup, a point behind Perpignan.
Stand tickets for Sunday’s crucial Round 3 game are now sold-out for the game with only terrace tickets remaining.
Munster Rugby still have North Terrace Family Packs available for €40 for one adult and one junior (under 16).
Terrace Tickets can be purchased here and on match day.
MUNSTER: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, Stephen Archer; Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony (Capt), Sean Dougall, James Coughlan
Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, CJ Stander, Cathal Sheridan, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley