Munster head coach Johann van Graan has made just one change to the team that defeated Gloucester as the province gear up to play Exeter Chiefs in Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup round 6 showdown at Thomond Park (kick-off 5.30pm).
Tighthead prop John Ryan replaces Stephen Archer with captain Peter O’Mahony, who has been nursing a rib injury this week, named in the starting XV. Conor Murray will make his 50th Champions Cup appearance just over seven years since making his debut against Northampton Saints.
The much-anticipated Pool 2 match is completely sold-out with additional seating installed at both ends of the ground to boost the capacity of Thomond Park to 26,267. Exeter trail the pool leaders by four points, and a win or a draw would secure a record 18th European Cup quarter-final appearance for Munster.
Mike Haley continues at full-back with Andrew Conway and Keith Earls, two of the 11 Munster players named in Ireland’s Six Nations squad, on the wings. Chris Farrell and Rory Scannell continue as the province’s centre pairing with the half-back berths again filled by Murray and Joey Carbery, the pool stages’ leading scorer with 59 points.
Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and the returning Ryan pack down together in the front row, the highly-rated second row partnership of Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne gets another European outing, and O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander make up the loose forwards trio.
MUNSTER (v Exeter Chiefs): Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Arno Botha, Alby Mathewson, Tyler Bleyendaal, Dan Goggin.