Munster head coach Rob Penney has named his team and replacements to play Ulster in Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 interprovincial derby, while Munster ‘A’ boss Ian Costello has also finalised his side for their clash with Ulster Ravens.
With no change to the Munster back-line, David Foley makes way for the return of Donncha O’Callaghan in the second row and David Kilcoyne and BJ Botha join Damien Varley in the front row.
Returning Ireland internationals Conor Murray, Ronan O’Gara and Keith Earls will start from the replacements bench, with scrum half Murray obviously eager to make his seasonal bow for the province.
“It’s been a bit frustrating these last few weeks, watching the lads playing so well. I’m just itching to go so hopefully I’ll get off the bench this weekend and get a bit of a run-out, get a few of the old cobwebs out,” he said.
The 23-year-old is warming to Rob Penney’s approach to the game and the tactics employed, excited by the potential of this new-look Munster regime which has enjoyed two opening league wins.
“Rob’s running a different style of play and the lads have adapted well. We’ve seen glimpses of it in the last few games, it is very promising.
“But we’re still getting to grips with it, finishing off little bits of it. It is exciting and I can’t wait to get involved and see how I fare.
“A lot of us haven’t played the style Rob’s brought in, so with it being completely new to a lot of players there will be mistakes.
“But definitely, in the games we’ve been watching in pre-season and the two PRO12 matches so far, there have been glimpses that it will work, there will be space there and it can be very exciting.
“It is frustrating but that’s going to come, we have to bear it and get on with it and hopefully it will flourish soon,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Munster ‘A’ team are in action earlier on Friday against Ulster Ravens at Deramore Park (kick-off 3pm).
Flanker Niall Ronan, who has been out of action since January with cruciate knee ligament damage, has been named in the starting line-up.
Shannon prop Kevin Griffin’s good form has been rewarded with a place on the bench, while in a late switch Johnny Holland will take over in the back-line from Sean Scanlon who picked up a back injury in training.
Munster have also issued an update regarding Johne Murphy’s recent injury. He is recovering after undergoing knee scope surgery yesterday.
MUNSTER (v Ulster): Denis Hurley; Doug Howlett (capt), Casey Laulala, James Downey, Luke O’Dea; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; David Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, David O’Callaghan, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Marcus Horan, Stephen Archer, David Foley, Tommy O’Donnell, Conor Murray, Ronan O’Gara, Keith Earls.
MUNSTER ‘A’ (v Ulster Ravens): Johnny Holland; Ronan O’Mahony, Danny Barnes, JJ Hanrahan, Ivan Dineen; Scott Deasy, Peter Stringer; James Cronin, Sean Henry, Christy Condon, Philip Donnellan, Brian Hayes, Niall Ronan, Barry O’Mahony, Paddy Butler.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, Kevin Griffin, Alan Cotter, Cathal O’Flaherty, Shane Buckley, Cathal Sheridan, Corey Hircock, Cian Bohane.