Jack O’Donoghue is back from suspension to captain Munster in Friday’s BKT United Rugby Championship match against the Ospreys at Thomond Park (kick-off 7.35pm). Tickets are available to buy here.
With three changes to the team that beat Benetton Rugby last time out, Gavin Coombes returns from Ireland camp to start at number 8 and Simon Zebo makes his first appearance since December.
Greencore Munster Rugby Academy scrum half Ethan Coughlan and prop Mark Donnelly are among the replacements. For 20-year-old Clare native Coughlan, it could be his first appearance of the season and his home debut.
Shane Daly, who has played the most minutes for Munster so far this season, starts at full-back with Liam Coombes and the returning Zebo on either wing.
The half-back and centre partnerships are unchanged with Joey Carbery and the in-form Paddy Patterson having Malakai Fekitoa, who will depart the province at the end of the season, and Antoine Frisch outside them.
Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell and Roman Salanoa pack down in the front row, with 25-year-old tighthead prop Salanoa recently earning his first call-up to the Ireland senior squad.
Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley start together in the engine room, while a back row combination of O’Donoghue, Hodnett and Coombes complete the starting XV.
Adding to Graham Rowntree’s firepower off the bench, Ben Healy is among the replacements after returning from international duty with Scotland.
With a run of three successive home matches against the Ospreys, Scarlets and Glasgow Warriors, Munster attack coach Mike Prendergast commented: “It is very clear and very straightforward, we have got to win the three games.
“I suppose we have to approach it game by game, a bit of a cliché, but that’s where we are at because we had that challenging part to the season and we have no joker cards left.
“We have to be on top of our game but all we can do is go off our last performance which had many aspects of our game.
“We were very, very strong, we scored five tries over in Treviso, we scored 40 points (winning 40-30), so there is no reason not to be quite confident this weekend but, as we said, we are coming up against a team who are in very good form as well.”
MUNSTER (v Ospreys): Shane Daly; Liam Coombes, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Simon Zebo; Joey Carbery, Paddy Patterson; Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell, Roman Salanoa, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue (capt), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Mark Donnelly, Stephen Archer, Jack O’Sullivan, Alex Kendellen, Ethan Coughlan, Ben Healy, Rory Scannell.