Zebo, Cave and Jackson all return to starting teams for Munster's trip to Ulster
Published 29/10/2015 | 14:22
Several members of Ireland's World Cup squad have been included in the match-day squads for the inter-provincial derby against Ulster tomorrow night.
Munster head coach Anthony Foley has named Simon Zebo in the starting team with Donnacha Ryan among the replacements. Mario Sagario in line to make his first appearance for the province.
In total Foley makes seven changes to the starting XV that lost away to Scarlets last Friday night.
James Cronin and Mike Sherry come back in and join BJ Botha in the front row, while in the second row, Dave Foley starts at 4 for the first time this season with Mark Chisholm continuing in the second row.
In the back row, captain CJ Stander makes the switch to blindside and Jack O'Donoghue returns at openside while Robin Copeland reverts to number 8 for tomorrow evening's encounter.
After featuring twice from the bench in Munster's most recent league encounters, Tomás O'Leary will make his first start since returning to the province in partnering Ian Keatley in the half-backs.
Francis Saili comes back in to start alongside Denis Hurley in the midfield for the first time while the final change comes in the back-three and sees returning international Simon Zebo start on the right wing. Gerhard van den Heever remains on the left wing as does Andrew Conway at full-back.
Having joined the province on a three month contract Maria Sagario could feature for the first time this weekend after being named amongst the replacements. Donnacha Ryan, another World Cup returnee, is also included on the bench.
Munster: Andrew Conway; Simon Zebo, Francis Saili, Denis Hurley, Gerhard van den Heever; Ian Keatley, Tomás O'Leary; James Cronin, Mike Sherry, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Mark Chisholm; CJ Stander Capt., Jack O'Donoghue, Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, John Ryan, Mario Sagario, Donnacha Ryan, Jordan Coghlan, Duncan Williams, Rory Scannell, Ronan O'Mahony.
Darren Cave and Paddy Jackson meanwhile have been named in Ulster's starting XV with fellow Ireland player Chris Henry included on the bench.
Cave and Jackson made replacement appearances last week in the win over Cardiff Blues as Ulster extended their unbeaten run at Kingspan Stadium to 14 PRO12 games.
There are two other changes in the starting team as Neil Doak continues to rotate his squad during a block of 16 consecutive fixtures.
Peter Nelson returns to the side at fullback and is joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy and Andrew Trimble. Paul Marshall and Stuart McCloskey, both of whom scored tries against Cardiff, are retained at scrumhalf and inside centre respectively.
The only change up front sees Andy Warwick replace Callum Black at loosehead prop, joining captain Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst in the front row. Lewis Stevenson and Franco van der Merwe continue their second row partnership, with Roger Wilson, Sean Reidy and last week's Man of the Match, Nick Williams, once again combining in the back row.
Henry, who competed at the Rugby World Cup with Cave and Jackson, will provide cover for the loose forward trio in Limerick. Dan Tuohy has followed the return-to-play protocols after his concussion in the Edinburgh game and will join Henry on the bench.
Paul Rowley, recruited from London Welsh in the summer, is in line to make his first competitive appearance of the season after being named as the scrumhalf replacement. John Andrew, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Ian Humphreys and Sammy Arnold are the other players in the match day squad.
Ulster enter the game in fifth place, two points adrift of third placed Munster, whose perfect start to the new Guinness PRO12 season ended with their 25-22 defeat at Scarlets on Friday.
Munster were undefeated against Ulster last season, winning 21-20 at Thomond Park and then drawing 23-23 at Kingspan Stadium in May, in two extremely hard-fought encounters. Ulster has won just once in the PRO12 in Limerick since 2009; a memorable 19-17 success in May 2014.
Ulster team & replacements to play Munster, Guinness PRO12, Thomond Park, Friday 30th October (6.00pm kick off):
(15-9): Peter Nelson; Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Andrew Trimble; Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; (1-8): Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring (captain), Wiehahn Herbst, Lewis Stevenson, Franco van der Merwe, Roger Wilson, Sean Reidy, Nick Williams;
Replacements (16-23): John Andrew, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Dan Tuohy, Chris Henry, Paul Rowley, Ian Humphreys, Sammy Arnold.