Munster XV named to face Clermont

Screen shot 2014-12-12 at 12.19.03Head Coach Anthony Foley has named his 23-man squad to take on Clermont Auvergne in round 4 of the Champions Cup on Sunday, ko 4.15pm (3.15pm Irish).

After suffering a first home defeat to the French outfit last Saturday Foley makes four changes to the starting line-up for the return fixture.

In the pack John Ryan is the only change as he comes in for the injured Dave Kilcoyne and James Cronin to make his first start in Europe.

While in the backline Foley introduces a new midfield partnership with JJ Hanrahan starting at 12 and the returning Andrew Smith named outside him.

With injury ruling Gerhard van den Heever out Andrew Conway returns to take his position on the wing.

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Munster: Felix Jones; Andrew Conway, Andrew Smith, JJ Hanrahan, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; John Ryan, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha; Paul O’Connell, Dave Foley; Peter O’Mahony Capt., Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements:  Kevin O’Byrne, Eusebio Guinazu, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, Denis Hurley, Johne Murphy.

Match facts
Clermont ended Munster’s 100% home record against French clubs; a run that had previously seen the Irish province win all 23 games.
Munster’s Simon Zebo made 81 metres at Thomond Park – more than any other player.
Clermont have won their last five home games against Irish opposition, while in total, they have won 20 on the bounce at home in Europe.
Munster’s total of nine points last Saturday was their lowest haul in a home match in Europe’s top flight since scoring six against Leicester in January 2007.
Nick Abendanon has beaten the most defenders in the Champions Cup this season (13), two of which came last weekend. The former England full back also leads the way this season for metres gained (265).
No player has made more try assists than Clermont’s Camille Lopez (3) in the Champions Cup so far this season.
Clermont’s Naipolioni Nalaga has the second highest average gain per carry (8.9m) of any player to make more than 15 carries in the competition to date.
Clermont’s Benjamin Kayser (30/36) and Munster’s Duncan Casey (29/33) both rank in the top eight for successful lineout throws in the competition this season.
Munster have yet to concede a second half try in this season’s competition; Harlequins are the only other club to manage that feat.
Clermont average just under 500 metres gained per game (497) the most of any club in the tournament.