Scrum half Tomas O’Leary will start for Munster in Friday’s Magners League derby match against Connacht at Thomond Park (kick-off 7.05pm), making his first appearance for the province since January.
Tomas O’Leary will resume his half-back partnership with Ronan O’Gara who is just one of four players retained from the Munster side that lined out against Harlequins last Saturday.
The three others are full-back Felix Jones and winger Doug Howlett, who both touched down against ‘Quins, and Denis Leamy who starts this time at number 8.
Danny Barnes will partner Johne Murphy at centre, while Simon Zebo takes over from Keith Earls on the left wing.
O’Gara, who will win his 206th Munster cap on Friday, was honoured at a Civic Reception in Cork City Hall last night to mark his contribution to a sport he was illuminated since making his senior debut for Munster back in August 1997.
Togging out with him against Connacht will be his colleague through all those years, flanker Alan Quinlan, who will be winning his 211th Munster cap.
MUNSTER (v Connacht): Felix Jones; Doug Howlett, Johne Murphy, Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo; Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Mike Sherry, John Hayes, Donnacha Ryan, Paul O’Connell (capt), Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy.
Replacements: Damien Varley, Wian du Preez, Stephen Archer, Ian Nagle, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter Stringer, Paul Warwick, Denis Hurley.