Munster side to face Leicester Tigers in crunch Champions Cup tie named

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Munster side to face Leicester Tigers in crunch Champions Cup tie named

Sam Arnold will make his Champions Cup debut for Munster in Saturday's Pool 4 fixture with Leicester Tigers at Thomond Park, 7.45pm

CENTRE Sam Arnold and winger Alex Wootton will make their Champions Cup debut for Munster tomorrow night as the province welcomes back their Irish internationals for the visit of Leicester Tigers to Thomond Park, 7.45pm.

Arnold, who has been playing Ulster Bank League rugby on a regular basis with Garryowen this season, is named in the Munster midfield along with Rory Scannell. 

Arnold will make his Champions Cup debut in red of Munster after last representing Ulster in Europe in January 2016.

Munster centres Chris Farrell and Jaco Taute are sidelined at the moment due to injury.

Alex Wootton has scored seven tries for Munster this season in the Guinness Pro14 this season from just nine appearances.

The 23-year-old, former Ireland U-20 international gets the nod to start on the left wing against the Tigers with Irish international Darren Sweetnam among the replacements.

Johann van Graan’s his first Champions Cup match-day squad  includes returning internationals Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Dave Kilcoyne, Conor Murray and Andrew Conway who are all included in the starting line-up for the Round 3 clash. The game will be televised live on BT Sport.

In all, Munster made five changes to the side that defeated Ospreys in the Pro14 in Musgrave Park last weekend. 

Stephen Archer is promoted from the bench this week and joins Rhys Marshall and Dave Kilcoyne in the front row. It’s as you were with the second row partnership of Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland.

A new-look back row sees Chris Cloete start in his first Champions Cup game as the South African flanker links up with the experienced duo of captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander.

Murray joins Ian Keatley in the half backs with Rory Scannell and Arnold again forming the midfield pairing.

Included in the replacements is Darren O’Shea, who is also in line to make his Champions Cup debut.

Leicester welcome back two internationals from injury winger Jonny May and flanker Luke Hamilton for the trip to Limerick.

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (c), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander. Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Darren Sweetnam.

LEICESETR TIGERS: Telusa Veainu; Adam Thompstone, Matt Smith, Matthew Tait, Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Kyle Traynor, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole; Michael Fitzgerald, Graham Kitchener; Tino Mapapalangi, Luke Hamilton, Sione Kalafamoni. Replacements: Harry Thacker, Logovii Mulipola, Chris Baumann, Dom Barrow, Mike Williams, Sam Harrison, Joe Ford, Nick Malouf