Munster v Leinster – 3.15pm St. Stephen’s Day

Munster Rugby and Leinster Rugby have both named their teams for the sell-out Guinness Pro14 interprovincial clash at Thomond Park, Limerick, on St. Stephen’s Day, kick-off 3.15pm.

Munster’s Head Coach Johann van Graan makes four changes to the side that defeated Leicester in the European Champions Cup last Sunday.

Both Rhys Marshall and Andrew Conway start, having successfully completed their return to play protocols this week, while Keith Earls and Tommy O’Donnell start for the first time since the game against Connacht in round seven of this season’s Guinness Pro14.

In the back three, Earls replaces Alex Wootton on the wing while Conway comes in for Simon Zebo at fullback. Cork’s Darren Sweetnam retains the number 14 jersey following some impressive displays this season for both Munster and Ireland.

The midfield combination is Rory Scannell and Sam Arnold, with Conor Murray and Ian Keatley named as the half backs.

Tommy O’Donnell completes an international back row that includes recent IRFU new contract recipients CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony.

O’Mahony, who made his Munster debut as a Munster Academy player in 2010, and was appointed club captain at 23 years of age in 2013, will become the 12th member of the current Munster Rugby squad to make 100 appearances for the province.

South African Jean Kleyn and the ever-reliable Billy Holland continue their second row partnership as Marshall joins the props Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer in the front row.

Munster team:

15. Andrew Conway, 14. Darren Sweetnam, 13. Sam Arnold, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Keith Earls, 10. Ian Keatley, 9. Conor Murray.

1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Rhys Marshall, 3. Stephen Archer, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Billy Holland, 6. Peter O’Mahony (captain), 7. Tommy O’Donnell, 8. CJ Stander.


16. Niall Scannell, 17. James Cronin, 18. John Ryan, 19. Darren O’Shea, 20. Jack O’Donoghue, 21. Duncan Williams, 22. JJ Hanrahan, 23. Simon Zebo.

Meanwhile Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen has chosen Leinster Academy back Jordan Larmour to make his first senior start at full back against Munster.

Barry Daly returns from an ankle injury to take his place on the right wing, with recent signing James Lowe on the opposite wing.

For the second time this season, Robbie Henshaw and Rory O’Loughlin are selected in the centre with Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne named as half backs.

Jack McGrath will captain the Leinster side for the first time, and will be joined in the front row by fellow Ireland internationals James Tracy and Michael Bent.

Devin Toner and James Ryan will start in the second row, with Jordi Murphy, Dan Leavy and Jack Conan completing the pack.

Leinster team:

15. Jordan Larmour, 14. Barry Daly, 13. Rory O’Loughlin, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. James Lowe, 10. Ross Byrne, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park.

1. Jack McGrath (captain), 2. James Tracy, 3. Michael Bent, 4. Devin Toner, 5. James Ryan,
6. Jordi Murphy, 7. Dan Leavy, 8. Jack Conan.


16. Richardt Strauss, 17. Ed Byrne, 18. Tadhg Furlong, 19. Mick Kearney, 20. Josh van der Flier, 21. Nick McCarthy, 22. Cathal Marsh, 23. Noel Reid.

Welsh referee Nigel Owens will take charge of the St. Stephen’s Day clash for which the Thomond Park capacity has been increased to 26,267.

The game kicks off at 3.15pm with live TV coverage on TG4 and Sky Sports.


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