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Coughlan To Captain Munster In Galway

Coughlan To Captain Munster In Galway

James Coughlan will lead a much-changed Munster team when they resume their RaboDirect PRO12 campaign against Connacht at the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm).

James Coughlan, who won his 100th cap against Saracens last Sunday, is just one of five players who have held onto their starting berths from the Heineken Cup round 4 fixture.

Stand-in captain Coughlan, centres Casey Laulala and James Downey, hooker Mike Sherry and second row Donncha O’Callaghan are the five survivors from the Vicarage Road defeat.

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The experienced Peter Stringer and Johne Murphy earn recalls to the back-line with Stringer joining Ian Keatley, the province’s top scorer (68 points) in this season’s league, at half-back.

David Kilcoyne has recovered from a gastric bug to slot back in at loosehead prop, while Stephen Archer, Luke O’Dea and Paddy Butler, who were all used as replacements against Sarries, have been promoted to the starting line-up.

This weekend’s interprovincial derby also sees the return from injury of Denis Hurley at full-back and Tommy O’Donnell and Sean Dougall in the back row.

Dougall will start on the replacements bench after having a run-out against his old club Rotherham Titans in the British & Irish Cup last Friday.

MUNSTER (v Connacht): Denis Hurley; Johne Murphy, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Luke O’Dea; Ian Keatley, Peter Stringer; David Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Tommy O’Donnell, James Coughlan (capt).

Replacements: Sean Henry, Wian du Preez, BJ Botha, David Foley, Sean Dougall, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Danny Barnes.