Ryan returns for Perpignan clash

Munster Rugby Squad Training - Thursday 12th November 2013Donnacha Ryan is one of four players drafted into Rob Penney’s side for tomorrow’s crucial Heineken Cup clash against Perpignan (ko 3:40pm Irish time).

Ryan, an unexpected selection based on Tuesday’s managerial press conference, hasn’t featured for Munster since injuring knee ligaments against Gloucester in October but makes his return to partner Paul O’Connell in the second-row.

There’s only one change in the backs as Cathal Sheridan gets the nod ahead of Duncan Williams to replace the injured Conor Murray after impressing at the weekend.

Penney has continued his rotation policy with two changes in the front-row. James Cronin and South African BJ Botha replace Irish internationals Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer.

Damien Varley keeps his place in the side with Shannon hooker Duncan Casey hoping to make his second Munster appearance off the bench after his cameo last time out.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

The back-row combination of captain Peter O’Mahony, Sean Dougall and James Coughlan remains intact.

Ian Keatley, as expected, has recovered from the dead leg he sustained last weekend to start at out-half.

Outside of Keatley, James Downey and Casey Laulala retain their places in the centres with the back three of Johne Murphy, last week’s man of the match Keith Earls and Felix Jones all keeping their places in the side.

The notable inclusion on the bench is last season’s Player of the Year, Tommy O’Donnell. O’Donnell made his comeback as a second-half substitute for Munster A last weekend after suffering a hyper-extension of his knee against Zebre in September.

Munster: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Cathal Sheridan; James Cronin, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Donnacha Ryan, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony (Capt.), Sean Dougall, James Coughlan. Replacements: Duncan Casey, Dave Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley

Perpignan: Michel, Haughton, Mafi, Votu, Guitone, Allan, Durand, Ion, Terrain, Taofifenua, Vahaamahina, Vilaceca, Leo, Strokosch, Narraway. Replacements: Guirado, Cotet, Custoja, Purli, Ecochard, Marty, Benvenutti, Perez.