The Munster team has been named for Friday’s Guinness PRO14 tussle with Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 8pm).
There are six changes to the side that defeated Edinburgh last week, while in the replacements there is the welcome return of Joey Carbery who is named in his first matchday squad since January 2020.
Jack O’Donoghue, the opening try scorer at BT Murrayfield, captains the province from the back row. Cork youngster Jack O’Sullivan joins O’Donoghue and Chris Cloete in the loose forwards.
Fineen Wycherley scrums down next to Jean Kleyn in the engine room with Kevin O’Byrne stepping into the front row in between props James Cronin and John Ryan.
Shane Daly returns from the Ireland camp to retain his position on the left wing, Calvin Nash is named on the opposite flank, and Mike Haley completes the back-three at full-back.
Craig Casey’s absence due to his involvement with Ireland is covered by Nick McCarthy, who links up with JJ Hanrahan at half-back. Rory Scannell and Damian de Allende fill the midfield berths.
If sprung from the bench for his 241st appearance for the province, Billy Holland will move ahead of Ronan O’Gara and become the second most-capped Munster player of all-time.
Another notable inclusion is Paddy Patterson, the former Leinster and Ireland Under-20 scrum half, who is in line to make his Munster debut off the bench. He joined the province on a short-term deal last month.
Munster defence coach JP Ferreira commented: “It (our defence) was really good (in the Edinburgh game). I thought we had some really good defensive sets.
“We had a three-minute block on our goal-line where we kept them out. It’s massive for us when after three minutes of defending on our own goal-line we get a penalty or a free-kick – it just lifts everyone.
“I thought towards the end of the game, the last seven-and-a-half minutes saw our best defensive efforts. That’s just because we were going after the ball and trying to get that bonus point.
“It’s coming together nicely but it’s another test at the weekend (away to Cardiff), and hopefully we can just crack on from where we left off.”
MUNSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Rory Scannell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Nick McCarthy; James Cronin, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue (capt), Chris Cloete, Jack O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Liam O’Connor, Roman Salanoa, Billy Holland, Gavin Coombes, Paddy Patterson, Joey Carbery, Darren Sweetnam.