CJ Stander returns to captain Munster for Zebre clash
CJ Stander will captain Munster tomorrow when they entertain Zebre at Thomond Park tomorrow night (kick-off 7.45).
Johann van Graan's side can cement their place in second place in Conference A with a win over the Italians and could leapfrog Glasgow if the Scots fail to beat the Cheetahs at home.
The hosts will be keen to avoid any injuries ahead of their Champions Cup quarter-final clash with Edinburgh next weekend.
There is good news for Jack O’Donoghue who makes his first start since recovering from a serious knee injury.
There are seven changes to the side that faced Scarlets three weeks ago.
Alex Wootton, JJ Hanrahan, Stephen Archer, Darren O’Shea, O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete and Stander all come into the starting XV.
Mike Haley starts at full-back with Darren Sweetnam and Wootton on either flank.
Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin continue their centre partnership with Alby Mathewson and Hanrahan in the half-backs.
Jeremy Loughman, Rhys Marshall and Archer pack down in the front row.
Fineen Wycherley moves into the second row and is partnered by Darren O’Shea.
It’s all change in the back row as O’Donoghue, Cloete and Stander complete the side.
Tyler Bleyendaal is among the replacements and is in line to make his 50th appearance for the province.
Internationals Niall Scannell, John Ryan and Chris Farrell are also included in the matchday 23.
Munster: (15-9) Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; (1-8) Jeremy Loughman, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea; Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, CJ Stander (C).
Replacements: (16-23) Niall Scannell, Liam O’Connor, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Arno Botha, Duncan Williams, Tyler Bleyendaal, Chris Farrell.
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