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O’Donnell To Start For Munster In Belfast

O’Donnell To Start For Munster In Belfast

After making his first appearance of the season last weekend off the bench against Leinster, Tommy O’Donnell will start for Munster against Ulster this Saturday at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

Head coach Anthony Foley has made seven changes to the starting line-up, with Dave Kilcoyne replacing the injured James Cronin (ankle) at loosehead prop and tighthead BJ Botha returning from a bout of flu.

Mark Chisholm is introduced in the second row and with Tommy O’Donnell returning to the back row, Jack O’Donoghue makes the positional switch to blindside flanker with captain CJ Stander continuing at number 8.

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There are three changes to the back-line as Ian Keatley joins Tomas O’Leary at half-back, while Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and Ronan O’Mahony are both introduced out wide.

Academy player Rory Scannell, who signed a two-year senior contract earlier this week, continues his centre partnership with Francis Saili, and Andrew Conway remains in place at full-back.

Replacement scrum half Duncan Williams is in line to become the ninth player in the current squad to reach the milestone of 100 appearances for the province.

Speaking ahead of the trip north, Munster boss Foley said: “We are in a difficult place at the moment and it’s hard for everyone involved, but it’s important we get some momentum back in our game and don’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“We can’t hide from our performances and we need to build on what’s good from last week and eliminate what’s bad. Ulster are going really well at the moment, playing with a lot of confidence. They went to Toulouse and got a win there and then went to the Sportsground a week later where they did the same in a tight affair.

“They are building momentum under Les Kiss and Neil Doak and it’s going to be a hard ask for the boys, but we need to respect them, and also respect ourselves and go after a good result for ourselves.”

MUNSTER (v Ulster): Andrew Conway; Ronan O’Mahony, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino; Ian Keatley, Tomas O’Leary; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, BJ Botha, Dave Foley, Mark Chisholm, Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander (capt).

Replacements: Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Mario Sagario, Billy Holland, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, Tyler Bleyendaal, Denis Hurley.