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O’Connell And O’Callaghan Reunited In Munster Pack

O’Connell And O’Callaghan Reunited In Munster Pack

Munster head coach Rob Penney has rung the changes for their Easter Saturday showdown with provincial rivals Connacht at the Sportsground (kick-off 6.15pm).

A much-improved performance from last weekend is required if Munster are to achieve a crucial result, with the province needing a victory to keep their chances of a RaboDirect PRO12 play-off place alive.

With four changes to the pack Paul O’Connell returns this week to join Donncha O’Callaghan in the second row, while David Kilcoyne and Damien Varley start in the front row with John Ryan making the positional switch to tighthead prop.

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Paddy Butler takes the place of James Coughlan in the back row, and hooker Varley assumes the captaincy.

Duncan Williams teams up with Ian Keatley at half-back, while Denis Hurley, Johne Murphy and Andrew Conway come in to join James Downey and Gerhard van den Heever in the back-line.

In the replacements Munster are bolstered by the addition of BJ Botha who limped off against Glasgow Warriors with a mild ankle injury. Following a week of rest and rehabilitation, the South African prop is in line to make his 70th appearance for the province.

JJ Hanrahan, who was ruled out earlier in the week, met with the specialist and it was confirmed he sustained a moderate groin tear.

The plan going forward is for the young out-half/centre to progress with rehab and continue to be monitored by the medical staff on a daily basis.

MUNSTER (v Connacht): Denis Hurley; Gerhard van den Heever, Johne Murphy, James Downey, Andrew Conway; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; David Kilcoyne, Damien Varley (capt), John Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, Paddy Butler.

Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Alan Cotter, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Gerry Hurley, Conor Murray, Ronan O’Mahony.