Head coach Johann van Graan has rung the changes for Munster’s GUINNESS PRO14 encounter with Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital on Saturday night (kick-off 7.35pm).
There are 11 changes to the side that defeated the Ospreys 28-12 in Cork last time out, with the quartet of Jack O’Donoghue, Dan Goggin, Calvin Nash and Shane Daly retaining their places in the starting line-up.
Waterford native O’Donoghue captains the province for the second time in his career. The all-new starting front row sees Jeremy Loughman and Kevin O’Byrne pack down with 20-year-old Academy prop Keynan Knox who makes his first PRO14 start.
Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea form the second row partnership, with South African duo Chris Cloete and Arno Botha completing the back row alongside stand-in captain O’Donoghue.
In a back-line led by JJ Hanrahan and Alby Mathewson, the fit-again Sam Arnold makes his first start of the season, pairing up with Dan Goggin in midfield. Alex Wootton is set for his first outing on the wing since March having overcame a knee injury.
With Wootton’s return and Nash on the opposite flank, Daly makes the positional switch for his first start at full-back this week. Another returning player is flanker Conor Oliver who is poised for his first involvement of the season off the bench.
Speaking ahead of the Cardiff Arms Park clash, centre Goggin said: “(Cardiff away) is a game that we target every single year and the last couple of years we haven’t come away with a win over there.
“Conditions are always tough over there and they’ve got serious attacking force in the back. You know Rey Lee-Lo and Willis Halaholo will be dangerous, so we are going to prepare as best we can for that game and do our best to come away with the points.”
MUNSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Sam Arnold, Dan Goggin, Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Keynan Knox, Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue (capt), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Liam O’Connor, Stephen Archer, Jed Holloway, Conor Oliver, Nick McCarthy, Tyler Bleyendaal, Rory Scannell.