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Cloete And Botha Added To Munster Back Row

Cloete And Botha Added To Munster Back Row

Arno Botha is supported by fellow back rower Chris Cloete as he drives forward during Munster's GUINNESS PRO14 win at home to Edinburgh earlier in the season ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Munster have announced their team for their final home game in Cork this season as they prepare to host Cardiff Blues at Irish Independent Park in the GUINNESS PRO14 on Friday night (kick-off 7.35pm).

Cork native Peter O’Mahony captains a side which shows six changes to the one which started last Saturday’s tense Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final win over Edinburgh. Into the starting XV come Mike Haley, Tyler Bleyendaal, Kevin O’Byrne, Billy Holland, Chris Cloete and Arno Botha.

It is a crucial match for second-placed Munster and Cardiff, in fourth, as teams continue to scrap for every point in the run-in to the PRO14 play-offs. Haley, a late withdrawal before the Edinburgh due to illness, starts at full-back with Andrew Conway and Keith Earls, the two-try hero at BT Murrayfield, on either flank.

Chris Farrell and Rory Scannell continue their centre partnership with Bleyendaal, who replaces Joey Carbery (hamstring) at out-half, pairing up with Conor Murray at half-back. There are changes in all three lines of the pack, including the addition of Cloete and Botha to the back row, with the latter impressing off the bench last week.

O’Byrne packs down at hooker for his first start since the December derby clash with Ulster, combining with Dave Kilcoyne and John Ryan, while Holland and Jean Kleyn man the engine room. In an injury boost, Sam Arnold takes his place among the replacements for what could be his first appearance since January after fracturing his fibula.

The remaining South and North terrace tickets are available online here from Ticketmaster.ie or from the Munster Rugby Ticket offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park or by calling 061 421103 today from 10am to 5pm, and from 9am on match day.

Tickets will be available from Munster Rugby offices at Irish Independent Park from 9am to 1pm on match day, and then from the Ticket Office outside the Dolphin Gate from 1pm. If you have already purchased a stand ticket, please note that the stand seating is unreserved.

MUNSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander, Alby Mathewson, JJ Hanrahan, Sam Arnold.