12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Munster's first home fixture of the season sees them come up against Border Reivers on Saturday - the Heineken Cup champions have never lost against the Scottish side in six previous encounters.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, September 9
MUNSTER v BORDER REIVERS, Thomond Park, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland)
**IrishRugby.ie will be running a live match tracker from Thomond Park**
Team News: Munster have made three changes to the side that lost to Cardiff Blues last week.
Christian Cullen loses out with Shaun Payne switching to full-back, with either Ciaran O'Boyle or Tom Gleeson to start on the right wing. Ian Dowling makes way on the left flank for Mossie Lawlor.
Thre is one alteration in the pack with Academy flanker Ross Noonan seeing his starting berth go to Australian Tim McGann, who has recently signed for the Heineken Cup champions from Eastern Suburbs.
The Borders, who were beaten at home by Connacht last time out, have brought debutants Mark Robertson and Steve Jones in for the trip to Limerick.
Robertson, who played in Scotland's defeat to Ireland in March's AIB Club International, is set for his first taste of professional rugby on the left wing, while Jones comes in for Scotland's most capped player, Gregor Townsend in the number 10 jersey.
Munster: Shaun Payne; Ciaran O'Boyle/Tom Gleeson, John Kelly (capt), James Downey, Mossie Lawlor; Jeremy Manning, Tomas O'Leary; Darragh Hurley, Frankie Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello, Chris Wyatt, Donnacha Ryan, John O'Sullivan, Tim McGann, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Tim Ryan, Andy Kyriacou, Shane O'Connor, Brendan Cuttriss, Gerry Hurley, Eoghan Hickey, Tom Gleeson/Denis Hurley.
Borders: Calum MacRae; Garry Law, Nick De Luca, Ben MacDougall, Mark Robertson; Steve Jones, Chris Cusiter (capt); Gavin Kerr, Ross Ford, Bruce Douglas, Opeta Palepoi, Stuart Grimes, Scott Gray, Kelly Brown, Ross Beattie.
Replacements: Steve Scott, Ed Kalman, Craig Hamilton, John Dalziel, Brendan McKerchar, Gregor Townsend, Andy Miller.
Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Touch Judges: Alan Rogan, Tom Horkan (both Ireland)
Coach Speak: Declan Kidney (Munster) - "(Against Cardiff) a few players made their league debuts and we have to recognise that players need time to adjust to the pressure. This week will be different - we're at home, and we need to apply ourselves and demand that we win our home matches for starters.
"I think John (Kelly) had been brilliant (as stand-in captain). He has taken to the job, embraced it, and he's very popular with the rest of the players."
Steve Bates (Borders) - "It's going to be a big step up for Mark (Robertson) playing away to a team like Munster but it's great to see exciting young Scottish players like Mark compete against one of the biggest teams in Europe.
"Steve Jones had a good rugby background and he has done really well in pre-season. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can do against opponents of Munster's calibre."
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS:
February 2004 - Munster 29 Borders 21, Musgrave Park
May 2004 - Borders 10 Munster 18, Netherdale
November 2004 - Munster 45 Borders 8, Musgrave Park
April 2005 - Borders 23 Munster 38, Netherdale
September 2005 - Munster 9 Borders 7, Thomond Park
April 2006 - Borders 25 Munster 41, Netherdale
- Munster losts 22-13 to Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park last weekend but only one Scottish team has ever won at Thomond Park in any competition - Glasgow Warriors' 26-20 victory in the league on February 18 this year
- Border Reivers' only win in their last eight matches was a 34-5 defeat of the Dragons at Netherdale last May. The Scots have lost on their last seven visits to Ireland
- Munster have won all six previous encounters they have had with the Reivers, scoring 180 points and 23 tries in the process. They ran in six tries when the sides last met at Netherdale last April with hooker Denis Fogarty, who is currently recovering from a shoulder operation, touching down twice
- After round one of the Magners League, Munster out-half Jeremy Manning is level on 75% with Ulster's David Humphreys and Connacht number 10 Mark McHugh in the kicking success rate stakes. Manning landed three of his four kicks in the 22-13 defeat to Cardiff Blues last week
- Of the three yellow cards awarded over the Magners League's opening weekend, Munster claimed two - young forwards Tim Ryan and Donnacha Ryan was both sin-binned in the second half against Cardiff