Munster head coach Tony McGahan has made seven changes in personnel for Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 showdown with the Ospreys in Swansea (kick-off 6.30pm).
There is just one change in the back-line with Doug Howlett not surprisingly returning in place of Luke O’Dea, who made an impressive try-scoring debut against Edinburgh last weekend.
It is up front where most of the tinkering has been done with just two players, the veterans Marcus Horan, who will win his 200th provincial cap, and Donncha O’Callaghan retained at loosehead prop and lock respectively.
Regular captain Paul O’Connell has been kept in reserve, along with Ronan O’Gara, and in his absence Peter O’Mahony will skipper Munster from number 8 with Denis Leamy at blindside flanker and Niall Ronan on the openside.
Donnacha Ryan was left out for the Edinburgh game in order to get over a slight foot injury but he is back to partner O’Callaghan in the second row and looking forward to a tough challenge against the Ospreys.
“They’re always a tough side to take on, no matter where you play them but in their own backyard, more so,” he said.
“And I don’t think it matters what side they put out. They’ll still play the same brand of rugby. Physical when they want to be and expansive when they can.
“So, I think we need to match them up front, take them on there and see where that gets us.”
MUNSTER (v Ospreys): Denis Hurley; Doug Howlett, Will Chambers, Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan, Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan, Peter O’Mahony (capt).
Replacements: Denis Fogarty, Wian du Preez, Stephen Archer, Paul O’Connell, James Coughlan, Conor Murray, Ronan O’Gara, Johne Murphy.