Monday 23 April 2018

Rassie Erasmus makes five changes for Edinburgh clash and winless Connacht go with six Newsdesk Newsdesk

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Easmus has made five changes to his Munster starting XV for the visit of Edinburgh to Thomond Park (kick-off 3pm) with Cian Bohane set for his first start.

Bohane's inclusion in the starting XV sees the Corkman form a brand new centre partnership with returning international Keith Earls who has made a speedy recovery from the tight hamstring that saw him withdrawn from last weekend's encounter in Newport.

Elsewhere, Dave Kilcoyne will make his first start of the season in the front row while the return of Dave O'Callaghan at 6 sees captain Billy Holland - the PRO12's leading tackler to date - revert to the second row.

The final change comes in the back three with Ian Keatley to start at full back. One of only three players to have scored in excess of 1000 points in the PRO12 (1266), Keatley needs just 5 points to reach the 1000 mark for Munster across all competitions.

Should he appear from the bench, recent academy graduate and Ireland Men's 7s representative Alex Wotton will make his first competitive appearance.

Successfully rehabbing a neck injury, Stephen Archer is included in the matchday squad for the first time this season.

Munster XV: (15-9) Ian Keatley; Darren Sweetnam, Keith Earls, Cian Bohane, Ronan O'Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; (1-8) Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland - capt.; Dave O'Callaghan, Jack O'Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Donnacha Ryan, Conor Oliver, Duncan Williams, Dan Goggin, Alex Wootton.

Pat Lam has made six changes to his side to face Scarlets (Kick Off: 7.35pm) from the Connacht team that started last weekend's postponed fixture against Zebre in Parma.

Irish internationals Matt Healy, Kieran Marmion, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane are all brought in to the side that will run out at Parc y Scarlets tomorrow.

Along with Roux, Jake Heenan makes a welcome return from injury and his first appearance of the season.

Dillane starts in the back row for the first time along with Heenan and captain John Muldoon.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Pat Lam said: “With more guys coming back from injury, it’s pleasing to be able to select a bit more experience in our side. Quinn (Roux) and Jake (Heenan) returning is obviously a boost and it helps drive more competition within the squad.

“Although we have never won at Parc y Scarlets before, we are really excited by the challenge to try and create a small bit of history.

“While both teams are obviously determined to get points on the table, our focus remains on the quality of our performance.”

Connacht XV: (15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Andrew Browne, Ultan Dillane, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (c)

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, JP Cooney, Lewis Stevenson, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Shane O’Leary, Cian Kelleher

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