Munster head coach Johann van Graan has made a raft of changes to the team for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 round 14 match against the Dragons at Rodney Parade (kick-off 3pm).
In all, there are 13 alterations to the side that secured a record 18th Champions Cup quarter-final place for the province with last Saturday’s hard-fought 9-7 win over Exeter Chiefs at Thomond Park.
Returning to PRO14 action, Tyler Bleyendaal captains the Munstermen from inside centre with full-back Mike Haley and lock Jean Kleyn the only starters from the Exeter game to keep their places.
Darren Sweetnam and Ronan O’Mahony, who played for Garryowen in the All-Ireland League last week, come in on the wings with Dan Goggin and Bleyendaal forming the centre partnership. Bill Johnston, another Garryowen clubman, joins Alby Mathewson at half-back.
Jeremy Loughman, hooker Rhys Marshall and Stephen Archer pack down together in the front row with Kleyn and Billy Holland, who impressed off the bench against both Gloucester and Exeter, in the engine room. Fineen Wycherley, Conor Oliver and Arno Botha complete the side, with the latter making his second start of the month at number 8.
Liam O’Connor, who got some game-time with Cork Constitution last Saturday, is set to make his first PRO14 appearance of the season off the bench after recovering from a long-term knee injury. Academy back rower Gavin Coombes is also among the replacements.
MUNSTER (v Dragons): Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Tyler Bleyendaal (capt), Ronan O’Mahony; Bill Johnston, Alby Mathewson; Jeremy Loughman, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Fineen Wycherley, Conor Oliver, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Liam O’Connor, Ciaran Parker, Darren O’Shea, Gavin Coombes, Neil Cronin, Calvin Nash, Jaco Taute.