With 13 members of the squad unavailable through injury and the likes of Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara and Conor Murray rested as part of the IRFU’s player management programme. Munster head coach Tony McGahan will give a host of younger players an opportunity to impress against Edinburgh at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 8.30pm).
Only two players, Will Chambers and Donncha O’Callaghan, remain from the side that started against Leinster earlier in the month.
Ten of Saturday’s matchday squad were involved in the Munster ‘A’ team’s British & Irish Cup win over Neath last weekend, while two more, skipper Mick O’Driscoll and Scott Deasy, were in France as back-up for the province against Castres Olympique.
There is a first start for young winger Luke O’Dea, Tomas O’Leary and Denis Hurley come in for their first starts of the current campaign and O’Driscoll and Donncha O’Callaghan are paired together in the second row for the first time since the Harlequins game last season.
The wholesale changes provide the new inclusions with a chance to impress, according to assistant coach Anthony Foley.
“Look, whatever side is selected, the players all train together, all sit down and review and preview the opposition. They work together in training. So everyone understands what is required,” he said.
“Edinburgh are coming here off the back of two great weekends in Europe but we’ve also won our opening two pool games.
“With Saturday’s match at Thomond Park and hopefully a massive support behind us, the opportunity is there for fellas to make a case for themselves because there are places up for grabs in the team.”
MUNSTER (v Edinburgh): Denis Hurley; Luke O’Dea, Will Chambers, Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Paddy Butler.
Replacements: Sean Henry, John Ryan, John Hayes, Ian Nagle, James Coughlan, Duncan Williams, Tom Gleeson, Scott Deasy.