Wednesday 18 January 2017

Anthony Foley makes six changes to Munster side that will face Connacht

Published 27/11/2015 | 12:17

Munster's James Cronin
Munster's James Cronin

Anthony Foley has made six changes from the side that defeated Treviso in the Champions Cup for Saturday's return to Guinness PRO12 action against Connacht at Thomond Park.

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James Cronin will win his 50th Munster cap with Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino set to make his first start for the province.

Cronin is one of two changes in the front row with Niall Scannell making his first PRO12 start of the season at hooker, while BJ Botha continues at tighthead.

Donnacha Ryan again partners Mark Chisholm in an unchanged second row, while in the back row, the return of Robin Copeland at 8 sees captain CJ Stander switch to 6 with Jack O'Donoghue remaining at 7.

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Tomás O'Leary comes in to partner Ian Keatley in the half backs and a positional change for Keith Earls sees him move into midfield alongside Francis Saili who switches to the inside channel.

The final two changes are seen in the back-three with PRO12 debutant Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and the returning Gerhard van den Heever starting on the left and right wing respectively.

In completing the starting XV, Andrew Conway will make his fifth start at full-back this season.

Should he feature from the bench, Kevin O'Byrne will make his first PRO12 appearance of the current campaign.

Munster: Andrew Conway; Gerhard van den Heever, Keith Earls, Francis Saili, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino; Ian Keatley, Tomás O'Leary; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, BJ Botha; Donnacha Ryan, Mark Chisholm; CJ Stander Capt., Jack O'Donoghue, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Kevin O'Byrne, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Dave Foley, Jordan Coghlan, Duncan Williams, Rory Scannell, Denis Hurley.

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