Tom Daly will lead out Connacht for the first time after he was named as captain for Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup match against Munster at Thomond Park (kick-off 6pm).
Daly has enjoyed a strong season for the province, missing just one game and consistently stringing together some impressive performance from inside centre.
He continues his burgeoning partnership with Academy centre Sean O’Brien, while former Munster players Alex Wootton and Sam Arnold are named on the wings.
John Porch continues at full-back as does Limerick youngster Conor Fitzgerald at number 10. Kieran Marmion slots in at scrum half this week.
There are six changes to the pack from last week’s Leinster game, including a new look front row combination of Paddy McAllister, hooker Shane Delahunt and Dominic Robertson-McCoy.
Ultan Dillane returns to partner Niall Murray in the second row, and there are also starts in the back row for Academy talent Cian Prendergast and Abraham Papali’i alongside retained flanker Conor Oliver.
Ahead of the round 3 trip to Limerick, Connacht head coach Andy Friend said: “Tom Daly’s performances this season have been a real plus for us. He consistently brings a huge level of intensity in both attack and defence.
“A consistent run of games has allowed him to go from strength to strength. I know he’ll make an excellent captain tomorrow and lead by example again.
“We’ve shaken things up a bit in our starting XV with players who deserve a start either through training performances or impacts off the bench.
“There’s bags of experience among the replacements as well with six centurions, so I’m sure they’ll do a job when called upon.”
CONNACHT (v Munster): John Porch; Sam Arnold, Sean O’Brien, Tom Daly (capt), Alex Wootton; Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion; Paddy McAllister, Shane Delahunt, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Niall Murray, Ultan Dillane, Cian Prendergast, Conor Oliver, Abraham Papali’i.
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Eoghan Masterson, Sean Masterson, Caolin Blade, Jack Carty, Peter Sullivan.