Head Coach Anthony Foley has named a strong side to face Edinburgh at Murrayfield tomorrow evening (ko 7:30pm), including the final trio of returning internationals – Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray – in the starting line-up.
In total, Foley makes six changes to the side that defeated Connacht at Thomond Park just under a fortnight ago.
An all new front row sees Dave Kilcoyne and BJ Botha pack down on either side of Duncan Casey who makes his first start since the end of January.
Paul O’Connell returns to partner the in-form Billy Holland in the second row, while the inclusion of captain Peter O’Mahony at 6 is the only change to the back row with Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander continuing at 7 and 8 respectively. O’Donnell draws ever closer to the 100 cap milestone and will win his 99th cap for the province this weekend.
The final change comes in the half backs with scrum half Conor Murray resuming his partnership with Ian Keatley.
There is no change to the backline this week with Denis Hurley, Andrew Smith, Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Felix Jones all retaining their starting positions.
James Cronin is included amongst the replacements for the first time since picking up a knee injury on his 6 Nations debut against Italy in February, while Donnacha Ryan also takes his place on the bench having completed his return to play protocols following a concussion sustained while playing for Munster ‘A’ against the Ulster Ravens in March.
Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha; Billy Holland, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony Capt., Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Donnacha Ryan, Dave O’Callaghan, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O’Mahony.
Meanwhile, there is good news regarding Cathal Sheridan this week, and after almost five months on the sideline with a forearm injury, the scrumhalf has successfully completed his return-to-play and may be available for his club side this weekend.