Munster’s 2017 Lions contingent of Conor Murray, captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander are among nine changes made by director of rugby Rassie Erasmus for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 match against Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park (kick-off 1.30pm).
Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander are among six changes to the pack with the international front row trio of Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan all making their first starts of the season.
Robin Copeland is another player to make his first start of the 2017/18 campaign, doing so alongside Billy Holland in the second row. Tommy O’Donnell remains at openside flanker with O’Mahony and Stander returning at blindside and number 8 respectively.
Conor Murray and Ian Keatley come in at half-back as does Jaco Taute in midfield. Partnering Rory Scannell, the powerful South African centre takes charge of the outside channel for the first time this season.
There is no change in the province’s back-three combination, the in-form Alex Wootton, Darren Sweetnam and Andrew Conway have, to date, started every game in the GUINNESS PRO14.
Named on the bench following a two-season spell at Northampton Saints, JJ Hanrahan is in line for his first Munster appearance since the 2015 PRO12 final against Glasgow Warriors in Belfast. Shannon lock Sean McCarthy is included in his first Munster matchday squad this season, while Mark Flanagan, a loan signing from Saracens, could make his debut for his new side off the bench.
Munster v Cardiff Blues tickets can be purchased online at munsterrugby.ie, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park or at the ground on matchday from 9am.
MUNSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Jaco Taute, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Liam O’Connor, Stephen Archer, Mark Flanagan, Sean McCarthy, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Chris Farrell.