Jack O'Donoghue has been named captain
THE MUNSTER Rugby team for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup last-16 clash against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park has been named.
There are eight changes to the team that lost to Leinster last week and Jack O’Donoghue is set to captain the province in the Champions Cup for the first time.
Greencore Munster Rugby Academy member Alex Kendellen starts in European competition for the first time at Number 8 on his 14th appearance of the campaign.
Mike Haley, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo and Jean Kleyn all return to the starting XV after recent knocks with Ben Healy also coming into the starting line-up.
Jack O’Donoghue, John Hodnett and Alex Kendellen form a new-look back row while the centre partnership of Damian de Allende and Chris Farrell unchanged.
Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell and Stephen Archer keep their places in the front row with Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley starting in the engine room.
Peter O’Mahony, Joey Carbery and Gavin Coombes were all unavailable for selection due to injury.
A hamstring complaint has ruled out O’Mahony with the Munster captain to be reassessed on Monday ahead of the return fixture at Thomond Park.
Carbery presented with a low-grade leg/knee injury following the Leinster clash but is expected to make his return to full training on Monday.
Gavin Coombes has undergone surgery on the ankle injury he suffered against Leinster and has been ruled out until May.
Saturday's match kicks off at 5.30pm and will be broadcast on BT Sport.
Munster Rugby starting XV: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Simon Zebo; Ben Healy, Conor Murray; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan, Jason Jenkins, Thomas Ahern, Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Jack O’Sullivan.
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