Murray returns to Munster bench for Connacht clash


MUNSTER’S Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has made eight changes from the side that defeated Benetton Treviso for tomorrow evening’s round 22 encounter with Connacht at Thomond Park – ko 5.15pm. The biggest news from the squad announcement is that British and Irish Lion Conor Murray returns to action following a forced injury sit out, due to a shoulder knock.

With James Cronin, Rhys Marshall and Stephen Archer remaining in the front row, Billy Holland returns to captain the side and partners Darren O’Shea in the second row while the only other change in the pack sees Jean Deysel overcome a rib injury to start at blindside flanker. Yesterday named as Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Player of the Year, Conor Oliver joins Jack O’Donoghue in completing the pack.

Across the backline Angus Lloyd and Ian Keatley come in at half back with Keatley to make his 150th appearance for Munster, doing so against his former side for whom he won 57 caps.

In midfield, academy centre Dan Goggin returns to the starting lineup alongside Jaco Taute who just today was announced as one of six Munster players in the 2016/17 Guinness PRO12 Dream Team.

The final changes sees speedsters Keith Earls, Alex Wootton and Andrew Conway form a new back-three.

Munster: Andrew Conway, Alex Wootton, Jaco Taute, Dan Goggin, Keith Earls; Ian Keatley, Angus Lloyd; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Darren O’Shea, Billy Holland – capt.; Jean Deysel, Conor Oliver, Jack O’Donoghue.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell, Conor Murray, Tyler Bleyendaal, Francis Saili.

Connacht team to face Munster – (Caps in brackets)

15        Tiernan O’Halloran (126)
14        Danie Poolman (84)
13        Tom Farrell (8)
12        Craig Ronaldson (66)
11        Cian Kelleher (12)
10        Jack Carty (79)
9          Kieran Marmion (119)

1          Denis Buckley (117)
2          Shane Delahunt (27)
3           Conor Carey (10)
4          Quinn Roux (56)
5          Andrew Browne (154)
6           Eoin McKeon (106)
7          James Connolly (22)
8          John Muldoon (301) (captain)

16        Dave Heffernan (83)
17        JP Cooney (49)
18        Finlay Bealham (81)
19        Sean O’Brien (38)
20        Naulia Dawai (11)
21        John Cooney (38)
22        Marnitz Boshoff (3)
23        Darragh Leader (52)

Munster v Connacht, Guinness PRO12 round 22, Saturday May 6th at Thomond Park, ko 5.15pm.