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Farrell Fit To Start Munster’s Crunch Clash With Gloucester

Farrell Fit To Start Munster’s Crunch Clash With Gloucester

Munster head coach Johann van Graan has made six changes in personnel for Friday’s Heineken Champions Cup round 5 match against Gloucester at Kingsholm (kick-off 7.45pm).

Peter O’Mahony, who made a try-scoring return against Connacht, captains Munster as they look to stay in control of their own destiny at the top of Pool 2. In a big boost, centre Chris Farrell starts again after receiving positive news on a knee scan this week.

Compared to the side that won 31-24 in Galway, Mike Haley, Rory Scannell, Conor Murray, Dave Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer and CJ Stander all come into the starting XV. Haley slots back in at full-back, anchoring a back-three completed by wingers Andrew Conway and Keith Earls.

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Farrell and Scannell form the centre partnership, the former making his seasonal bow in this year’s Champions Cup, with Murray resuming at half-back alongside the in-form Joey Carbery, who scored 30 points across the derby wins over Leinster and Connacht.

Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and Archer pack down together in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne continuing as the second row pairing. Skipper O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell and Stander make up a powerful and experienced back row combination.

Rhys Marshall returns from a hamstring injury and is named among the replacements with the hooker set to make his first appearance since October’s 36-22 bonus point victory at home to Gloucester. He was a try scorer that day, joining Haley, Carbery, Sam Arnold and Conway in crossing the whitewash.

Pool 2 is evenly poised ahead of the weekend’s games with all four sides vying for top spot and a quarter-final place. While Munster and Gloucester face off at Kingsholm on Friday night, second-placed Castres Olympique travel to play Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Sunday afternoon 

Munster, who will be wearing their alternate kit for the round 5 fixture, go into the match in buoyant form following their move to the top of Conference A of the GUINNESS PRO14. Gloucester lost 34-16 away to Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership but have a formidable home record.

MUNSTER (v Gloucester): Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Jeremy Loughman, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Arno Botha, Alby Mathewson, Tyler Bleyendaal, Dan Goggin.