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Munster Make Eight Changes

Munster Make Eight Changes

Ireland internationals Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Simon Zebo and Ronan O’Gara, who missed last weekend’s trip to Galway, have all been included in the Munster squad for the second of their festive interprovincial derby fixtures.

The returning trio of Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo have been picked to start against league leaders Ulster at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).

Ian Keatley, who landed some vital kicks against Connacht, retains the number 10 jersey with Ronan O’Gara providing back-up from a replacements bench which includes the fit-again Felix Jones.

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Keatley and Murray will combine at half-back with another old hand, Peter Stringer, selected on the bench after helping Munster run out 16-12 winners over Connacht last weekend.

Full-back Denis Hurley will make his 100th competitive appearance for Munster – the 25th player to achieve the feat – in a back-line that sees centres Casey Laulala and James Downey paired together for the third successive game.

Damien Varley returns from injury to start at hooker, while second rows Donncha O’Callaghan and Billy Holland are the only combination up front to remain intact from a week ago.

Match tickets are available to buy online on www.munsterrugby.ie, and from the Munster Rugby ticket offices in Musgrave Park and Thomond Park (open today 10am-4pm). You can also call the ticket office in Thomond Park on 061-421103.

Tickets will also be on sale from the mobile ticket office at Hassett’s Cross tomorrow from 10am. The West Stand ticket booth will also be open on matchday from 3.30pm.

MUNSTER (v Ulster): Denis Hurley; Doug Howlett (capt), Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell, Paddy Butler.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Marcus Horan, Stephen Archer, David O’Callaghan, James Coughlan, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Felix Jones.