Damien Varley, who makes his first start in a Heineken Cup semi-final this Sunday, will lead the Munster team out when they take on Toulon at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille at 4.30pm local time(3.30pm Irish time).
JJ Hanrahan has recovered sufficiently from a groin injury to be included on the replacements bench for Munster’s 11th Heineken Cup semi-final.
Hanrahan has been extremely disciplined in following his rehabilitation programme and is part of the matchday 23 for the much-anticipated clash with the defending champions.
His impressive work-rate and dedicated approach have helped the young out-half recover from the moderate groin tear he sustained against Glasgow Warriors earlier this month.
Donnacha Ryan, who has been battling with a foot injury since March’s Benetton Treviso game, did take part in this week’s training programme but has not been included in the squad after a final assessment was made following this morning’s training session at Thomond Park.
Sean Dougall returns to a Heineken Cup starting line-up for the first time since the away win over Perpignan in December – he joins CJ Stander and James Coughlan in the back row.
Rob Penney has kept faith with the front five that started in the quarter-final win over Toulouse, and with Casey Laulala recovering from a fractured bone in his hand the province’s head coach can call on the same back-line too.
With the change to the back row Tommy O’Donnell is named among the replacements, while prop James Cronin returns from a sprained ankle to also feature in the reserves.
MUNSTER (v Toulon): Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; David Kilcoyne, Damien Varley (capt), BJ Botha, David Foley, Paul O’Connell, CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, John Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.