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 Stephen Keogh in AIL action for Shannon
Shannon number 8 Stephen Keogh will captain Munster for the first time in tonight's pre-season friendly against Northampton Saints at Thomond Park (kick-off 6.30pm).
With the province's regular leader Anthony Foley on the bench, and a number of Irish internationals currently away on a conditioning programme in Spala, Poland, the 23-year-old Keogh has been given the nod as Munster bid to deal returning coach Declan Kidney an opening win.
Sydney-born UL Bohs kicker Ben Martin is one of three debutants, and starts at full-back. The Munster backline has a fairly familiar look to it, with most of the movement coming up front - Cork colossus Ton Buckley comes in at tighthead prop, while Kerryman John O'Sullivan, formerly of Connacht, will also make his bow as blindside flanker.
Kidney has included the uncapped Rory McGrath, Ian Dowling and Frank Cogan.
Ireland centre David Quinlan, mercurial All Black Carlos Spencer and Ireland-qualified back row Daniel Browne are notable inclusions in the Northampton side.
The Saints suffered a 22-5 loss in Treviso last Friday, thus Budge Pountney's side will be suitably keyed up for a win in Limerick. New signings Sean Lamont, Quinlan, Spencer, Auckland-born Browne, who spent the last three seasons in France, and his namesake Damien Browne, the former Connacht lock who made 19 appearances in his debut season for Saints in 2004/05, will all start.
Ex-Ulster centre Seamus Mallon has been included on the Saints' ten-man bench.MUNSTER: Ben Martin; Paul Devlin, Rob Henderson, Mike Mullins, Mossie Lawlor;
Paul Burke, Mike Prendergast; Frank Roche, Jerry Flannery, Tony Buckley, Donnacha Ryan,
Mick O'Driscoll, John O'Sullivan, Johnny O'Connor, Stephen Keogh (Capt).
Replacements: Eugene McGovern, Denis Fogarty, Rory McGrath, Frank Cogan, Anthony Foley, Frank Murphy, Ian Dowling, Barry Murphy.
NORTHAMPTON: Bruce Reihana (Capt); Sean Lamont, John Clarke, David Quinlan, Ben Cohen; Carlos Spencer, Mark Robinson; Tom Smith, Dylan Hartley, Brett Sturgess, Damien Browne, James Percival, Mark Easter, Darren Fox, Daniel Browne.
Replacements: Dan Richmond, Chris Budgen, Matt Lord, Mark Soden, Ben Jones, Seamus Mallon, John Rudd, Rhodri Davies, Andy Vilk, Alex Rae.
Referee: Alan Lewis (IRFU)