Sunday 11 December 2016

Eleven changes for Leinster while Tommy O'Donnell makes first Munster start of the season

Published 31/12/2015 | 12:35

Munster flanker Tommy O’Donnell
Munster flanker Tommy O’Donnell

Munster and Leinster have both named their teams for their respective Guinness PRO12 inter-provincial derbies.

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Leo Cullen has made eleven changes in total from the Munster game with a number of players back involved after recent injuries with Luke McGrath (knee), Johnny Sexton (quad) and Ben Te'o (concussion) all returning to the starting XV while a further eight players come in to start.

In the pack Jack McGrath is once again selected at loosehead prop after his try scoring performance last weekend with Marty Moore coming in from the start this weekend.

It's a completely new back row with captain Rhys Ruddock leading the charge from blind side flanker and Josh van der Flier selected at open side. Finally Jordi Murphy starts from number eight.

In the backs Rob Kearney starts at full back in only his second Guinness PRO12 game of the season, while Dave Kearney is named on the left having been an unused substitute in the win over Munster last Sunday.

Ben Te'o returns from injury and takes over the inside centre jersey from Luke Fitzgerald with Garry Ringrose outside him at 13.

Leinster team to face Connacht: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Ben Te'o, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Marty Moore, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock ©,  Josh van der Flier, Jordi Murphy

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After making his first appearance of the season last week off the bench against Leinster Tommy O'Donnell will start against Ulster on Saturday.

Head Coach Anthony Foley makes seven changes to the starting XV for Saturday's round 11 PRO12 encounter.

In the front row the injury forced withdrawal of James Cronin sees Dave Kilcoyne start at loose-head and as expected BJ Botha has overcome the flu in time to make a return to the starting line-up.

Mark Chisholm is introduced in the second row and with Tommy O'Donnell returning to the backrow Jack O'Donoghue makes the positional switch to blindside, with Captain CJ Stander continuing at 8.

There are three changes to the backline as Ian Keatley joins Tomás O'Leary in the halfbacks while Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and Ronan O'Mahony are both introduced out wide.

Academy player Rory Scannell, who signed a two-year senior contract earlier this week, continues his midfield partnership with Francis Saili while Andrew Conway remains at fullback. 

Replacement scrumhalf Duncan Williams is in line to become the ninth player in the current squad to reach the milestone of 100 appearances for the province if sprung from the bench this weekend. 

Munster:  Andrew Conway; Ronan O'Mahony, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino; Ian Keatley, Tomás O'Leary; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Mark Chisholm; Jack O'Donoghue, Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander Capt.

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