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Keatley Is Munster’s Only Change For Cheetahs Game

Keatley Is Munster’s Only Change For Cheetahs Game

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has made just one change to the team that defeated Benetton Rugby for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 encounter with the Toyota Cheetahs at Thomond Park (kick-off 5.15pm).

That change sees Ian Keatley come in for Tyler Bleyendaal at out-half with second row Billy Holland taking over as captain this weekend. Following strong showings in round 1, the Greencore Munster Academy duo of loosehead prop Liam O’Connor and blindside flanker Sean O’Connor retain their starting positions.
In naming a strong bench, Rassie Erasmus includes no less than five returning Ireland internationals with Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Rory Scannell and Simon Zebo all likely to see their first action of the new season.
Full-back Andrew Conway, who was a try-scoring man-of-the-match against Benetton Rugby, will make his 100th GUINNESS PRO14 appearance on Saturday evening, as will Kilcoyne should he appear off the bench.

Erasmus has close ties with the Cheetahs franchise and their coaching personnel, led by head coach Rory Duncan. He started his playing career with Free State in 1996, coached the Cheetahs to Currie Cup glory in 2005 and was their first Super Rugby coach the following year.

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The former Springbok said: “They play a very high risk, high reward game and they won’t change. That is why their name is the Cheetahs. I remember when we had to get a name when we went from Currie Cup rugby to Super Rugby. Everyone just said ‘Cheetahs’ because they run and they run very fast. That is how they got their name, so they will never change that and it’s exciting.

“Even against Ulster, if two or three of those tries stick for them, it could have been 42-41, that is the way they play rugby. That is what we will face on Saturday.

“They will settle in and get better and better. This week they will be much better, getting accustomed to the referee interpretations, getting used to playing in rainy weather and so on. The small things when you are away, lineouts here get called in a huddle that doesn’t happen in the southern Hemisphere.

“There are a lot of small things that are different that really doesn’t change your game but they sometimes surprise you. I think they will fix most of those things from game one for this game, game two. With every match they will just get better.”

Munster v Cheetahs tickets will be available from the ticket office in Thomond Park on matchday from 9am, and are also available to buy online on Ticketmaster.ie. Ticket prices from adults €;20, families €;40 and juniors €;7. 
MUNSTER (v Toyota Cheetahs): Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Jaco Taute, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Liam O’Connor, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (capt), Sean O’Connor, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Fineen Wycherley, Robin Copeland, James Hart, Rory Scannell, Simon Zebo.