Head coach Johann van Graan has named his first Champions Cup team with returning internationals Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Dave Kilcoyne, Conor Murray and Andrew Conway all included for Saturday’s Thomond Park date with Leicester Tigers (kick-off 7.45pm).
The returning Ireland contingent, including the province’s captain Peter O’Mahony, represent five of the six changes to the side that defeated the Ospreys in Irish Independent Park last weekend.
Stephen Archer is promoted from the bench this week and joins Rhys Marshall, the man-of-the-match against the Ospreys, and Dave Kilcoyne in the front row, with the trio supported by the unchanged second row of Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland.
A new-look back row sees Chris Cloete start in his first Champions Cup game as the South African flanker links up with the experienced duo of O’Mahony and CJ Stander. The back row battle could have a big bearing on the outcome as Munster meet Leicester for the third season in a row in Europe.
Conor Murray rejoins Ian Keatley in the half-backs with Rory Scannell and Sam Arnold again forming the centre pairing. The 21-year-old Arnold makes his Champions Cup debut in red after last representing Ulster in Europe in January 2016.
In-form winger Alex Wootton is another player who will make his European bow this weekend as he retains his place in a back-three that also contains Andrew Conway and Simon Zebo. Included among the replacements is Darren O’Shea, who is also in line for his first taste of Champions Cup rugby.
Munster v Leicester Tigers tickets – €;20 for adults, €;10 for juniors and €;10 for students – can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 061 421103.
MUNSTER (v Leicester Tigers): Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland;, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Darren Sweetnam.