Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has named his team for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 derby showdown with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 2pm).
In keeping faith with the forwards that saw off Cardiff Blues last weekend at Thomond Park, Rassie Erasmus makes no changes to the starting pack with captain Peter O’Mahony again leading the side and number 8 CJ Stander running out for his 100th appearance in a Munster jersey.
Stander, who is now an established Ireland international and a 2017 British & Irish Lion, made his Munster debut against the Scarlets in Cork in November 2012. The South African-born back rower has signed a further two contracts to date, his latest seeing him remain at the province until next June.
It is also as you were at half-back where Conor Murray and Ian Keatley, last week’s man-of-the-match, pair up, while there is a new centre partnership with Tyler Bleyendaal named at inside centre alongside Chris Farrell.
Jaco Taute underwent surgery earlier this week after the specialist confirmed that the South African centre suffered knee ligament damage against Cardiff Blues last Saturday. The 26-year-old is expected to follow a rehabilitation programme for approximately six months.
Meanwhile, returning Ireland international Keith Earls will make his seasonal debut for Munster tomorrow, starting on the left wing. With JJ Hanrahan, who scored two tries against Cardiff as a replacement, promoted to make his first start of the season at full-back, Andrew Conway switches across to the right wing. Simon Zebo is nursing a knock from training.
MUNSTER (v Leinster): JJ Hanrahan; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Tyler Bleyendaal, Keith Earls; 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, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton.