Munster coach Van Graan makes five changes for Tigers clash

Head coach Johann van Graan has named his first Munster Champions Cup Team Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

MUNSTER head coach Johann van Graan has made five changes to his team that plays Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup at Thomond Park on Saturday.

The South African has welcomed back Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Andrew Conway and Dave Kilcoyne to the starting XV.

There is also Champions Cup debuts for winger Alex Wootton and former Ulster centre Sam Arnold. Second row Darren O’Shea could also make his Champions Cup debut off the bench.

Wootton’s inclusion ahead of Darren Sweetnam is the biggest talking point. The 23-year-old has been in sparkling form this season, scoring seven tries in the PRO14 season.

Arnold gets a chance to stake his claim in the centre due to Chris Farrell’s knee injury and the long-term absence of Jaco Taute.

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Flanker Chris Cloete also gets his first start in Europe since joining Munster alongside O’Mahony and Stander in the back row.

Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer are either side of Rhys Marshall in the front row, while the second row pairing of Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland is unchanged from Munster’s 36-10 victory over the Ospreys last time out.

Murray is joined by Ian Keatley at half-back, while Rory Scannell joins Arnold in the centre. The back three consists of Conway and Wootton on the wings, while Simon Zebo lines out at full-back.

The Tigers have named an experienced side for the game with English internationals Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Ben Youngs, George Ford and Jonny May included in their starting lineup.

This is the third time running that Munster and Leicester have met at the pool stage of the Champions Cup and the English side have had the better of things having won three of the four games so far.

Munster will be looking to reverse that trend on Saturday. The game is live on BT Sport and has a 7:45pm kickoff.