For the RaboDirect PRO12 derby on Monday that will see John Hayes wear Munster red for the final time, head coach Tony McGahan has made 11 changes to his starting line-up from last weekend’s win over the Scarlets.
Just four players – Keith Earls, Simon Zebo, Donncha O’Callaghan and Niall Ronan – remain in situ after the Scarlets game, while four more, namely Conor Murray, Ronan O’Gara, Paul O’Connell and Donnacha Ryan, are unavailable through the IRFU player management programme.
John Hayes will win his 217th Munster cap when he starts against Connacht alongside the other Munster front rower who has also reached the 200th cap mark, Marcus Horan.
The second row berths will be filled by Donncha O’Callaghan and stand-in captain Mick O’Driscoll, who are both in line to join the 200 cap club in due course.
The experience up front is contrasted by a youthful back-line where Sean Scanlon makes his senior debut at full-back and Luke O’Dea, who scored on his debut against Edinburgh last month, will feature on the right wing.
MUNSTER (v Connacht): Sean Scanlon; Luke O’Dea, Keith Earls, Danny Barnes, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), Billy Holland, Niall Ronan, Paddy Butler.
Replacements: Sean Henry, Dave Kilcoyne, BJ Botha, Ian Nagle, James Coughlan, Duncan Williams, Scott Deasy, Tom Gleeson.