Hanrahan starts as Munster make four changes for Clermont

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

Munster head coach Anthony Foley has made four changes for Sunday's return European Champions Cup tie with Clermont Auvergne in France
MUNSTER utility back JJ Hanrahan, who had been linked with a move to the Aviva Premiership earlier this week, has been named at inside centre in the side to face Clermont Auvergne in their European Champions Cup tie at Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday, 3.15pm Irish time.

MUNSTER utility back JJ Hanrahan, who had been linked with a move to the Aviva Premiership earlier this week, has been named at inside centre in the side to face Clermont Auvergne in their European Champions Cup tie at Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday, 3.15pm Irish time.

Hanrahan, who replaces Denis Hurley, will partner the fit-again Andrew Smith in the Munster midfield. While 22-year-old Hanrahan has been linked with a move to Northampton Saints for next season, Munster have also offered the talented utility back a new contract. The inclusion of both Hanrahan and Smith are two of four changes head coach Anthony Foley makes for the return game with the French Top 14 side.

In the pack, John Ryan makes his first start in Europe as he comes in for the injured Dave Kilcoyne. Another experienced loosehead prop James Cronin is also ruled out of the game through injury

With injury ruling Gerhard van den Heever out of the crucial Round 4 clash, Andrew Conway returns to take his position on the wing.

Meanwhile, the Munster A side to face Moseley in the British and Irish Cup at Billesley Common this Saturday, 2pm has also been named.

MUNSTER v Clermont Auvergne: Felix Jones; Andrew Conway, Andrew Smith, JJ Hanrahan, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; John Ryan, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha; Paul O’Connell, Dave Foley; Peter O’Mahony (Capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Eusebio Guinazu, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, Denis Hurley, Johne Murphy.

MUNSTER A: Ronan O’Mahony, Greg O’Shea, David Johnston, Ned Hodson, Darren Sweetnam; Rory Scannell, Neil Cronin; Liam O’Connor, Niall Scannell, Ger Sweeney; Dave O’Callaghan, Shane Buckley; Sean Dougall, Ryan Murphy, Jack O’Donoghue (Capt). Replacements: Max Abbott, Conor Glynn, Tim Ryan, Lee Nicholas, John Quill, Jack Cullen, Gearoid Lyons.