MISFIRING Munster will look to return to winning ways in the Guinness Pro12 this Sunday when facing the Dragons at Rodney Parade, 2.30pm.
Anthony Foley’s charges, smarting after their disappointing home defeat to Connacht, will also be looking for a boost ahead of their key back-to-back European Champions Cup ties with Leicester Tigers.
Third-placed Munster go into the clash in Wales six points behind table toppers the Scarlets and five points adrift of second-placed Connacht. The tenth-placed Dragons have won just one of their last six Pro12 fixtures. The game is live on S4C.
Head coach Anthony Foley said: “We’ve got to earn the right to go over there and get a result. We know how tough it is to get a result at Rodney Parade, but that’s our goal and we need to put in a performance that’s worthy of a result.
“We’ve seen Irish provinces lose in Rodney Parade over the last year and we know ourselves how well the Dragons are supported there. It’s a tight-knit ground where the supporters are right on top of the referee and players, and that’s before you look at the quality players they have - the likes of Faletau, Landman and many more.”
Foley has made ten changes to the team that lost to Connacht for the Rodney Parade fixture. Denis Hurley is named as captain and Niall and Rory Scannell will become the first brothers to start together for the province in the Pro12.
Rory Scannell is one of two Munster Academy players included for this Sunday’s encounter with David Johnston starting alongside stand-in skipper Hurley for the second time this season.
Having successfully rehabbed a quad strain, Munster’s New Zealand-born utility back Tyler Bleyendaal is named on the bench.
On the injury front, the province’s medical team reported positive results after centre Francis Saili’s scan for a calf strain. The All Black-capped centre is expected to return to training next week.
NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS: Carl Meyer; Tom Prydie, Adam Hughes, Adam Warren, Ashton Hewitt; Dorian Jones, Sarel Pretorius; Boris Stankovich, Rhys Thomas (capt), Brok Harris, Matthew Screech, Rynard Landman, Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd, Taulupe Faletau. Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Lloyd Fairbrother, Cory Hill, Ed Jackson, Charlie Davies, Jason Tovey, Ross Wardle.
MUNSTER: Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino; Ronan O’Mahony, David Johnston, Denis Hurley (capt), Simon Zebo; Rory Scannell, Tomas O’Leary; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Dave Foley, Mark Chisholm, Shane Buckley, Dave O’Callaghan, Robin Copeland. Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Mario Sagario, Billy Holland, Jordan Coghlan, Cathal Sheridan, Tyler Bleyendaal, Gerhard van den Heever
REFEREE: Gary Conway (Ireland)