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Goggin To Make His Champions Cup Debut For Munster

Goggin To Make His Champions Cup Debut For Munster

Munster head coach Johann van Graan has finalised his team to play Exeter Chiefs in Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup Pool 2 opener at Sandy Park (kick-off 3.15pm).

There are four personnel changes and two positional switches to the side that lost 30-22 to Leinster in the GUINNESS PRO14 last weekend, with Mike Haley, Rory Scannell and Duncan Williams returning to the back-line.

Haley makes his first European appearance for the province at full-back, prompting a move to the right wing for Andrew Conway and the 154-times capped Keith Earls retains his place on the left. Scannell partners the 23-year-old Dan Goggin who makes his Champions Cup debut in midfield.

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Munster’s half-back pairing sees Williams take over from the injured Alby Mathewson (knee) at scrum half alongside Joey Carbery who was a Champions Cup winner with Leinster last season. It will be Carbery’s fifth successive start for the Munstermen.

There is an unchanged front row with Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and Stephen Archer packing down together, backed up by Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne, a beaten semi-finalist with the Scarlets last season, in behind.

South African flanker Chris Cloete is the only change to the province’s pack, joining captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in the back row, with Tipperary man Tommy O’Donnell providing back-up on this occasion as part of a strong bench.

Scrum half Neil Cronin is in line to make his return from a shoulder injury, while the replacements bench also includes fit-again front rowers Rhys Marshall and John Ryan who resumed training this week. James Cronin, Billy Holland, JJ Hanrahan and Sam Arnold complete the matchday 23.

MUNSTER (v Exeter Chiefs): Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, James Cronin, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Sam Arnold.