Haley the only change for Toulouse clash

John Ryan is due to return to the Munster next year.

MUNSTER begin their Heineken Champions Cup with a titanic battle against five-time winners Toulouse at Thomond Park on Sunday next, kick-off 3.15pm. 

A bumper attendance is expected, with tickets still available through the usual channels. 

Revenge will be firmly on the Munster minds, as the visitors have ended their cup dreams in the last two seasons, including an agonising penalty shoot-out back in May.

Graham Rowntree announced his starting XV at lunchtime this Friday. It shows just one change to the side that secured a bonus-point win in Edinburgh at the weekend, as Mike Haley returns at full-back with Shane Daly moving to the wing.

Peter O’Mahony captains Munster and John Ryan starts on his 50th Champions Cup appearance.

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Haley, Calvin Nash and Daly form the back three with an unchanged centre partnership of Rory Scannell and Antoine Frisch, who makes his first Champions Cup appearance for Munster.

Craig Casey and Joey Carbery continue in the half-backs with the forwards all remaining in situ.

Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell and Ryan start in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne in the engine room.

O’Mahony, John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes complete the side.

Scrum-half Paddy Patterson is included among the replacements and in line to make his Champions Cup debut.

In a welcome development, Keith Earls returns from injury and has been named amongst the replacements. 

Toulouse’s Antoine Dupont is set to play despite originally being ruled out of the game due to a suspension for a red card he received while on international duty, as he successfully appealed the length of his ban.

“I’m guessing we’re not favourites, but we’ll certainly relish it. Especially at home in Thomond,” Munster’s Tadhg Beirne commented at an earlier media briefing. 

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Josh Wycherley, Roman Salanoa, Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, Keith Earls.