Tuesday 12 December 2017

Sean Dougall preferred to Tommy O'Donnell as Donnacha Ryan misses out on Toulon test

Munster team to face Toulon: 15. Felix Jones
Munster team to face Toulon: 15. Felix Jones
13. Keith Earls
13. Casey Laulala
12. James Downey
11. Simon Zebo
10. Ian Keatley
9. Conor Murray
8. James Coughlan
7. Sean Dougall
6. CJ Stander
5. Paul O'Connell
4. Dave Foley
3. BJ Botha
2. Damien Varley
1. Dave Kilcoyne

Rob Penney has chosen Sean Dougall ahead of Tommy O'Donnell at openside flanker for Munster's Heineken Cup semi-final showdown with holders Toulon at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday

The decision to choose Dougall is a huge gamble for Penney and an indication that Munster will be looking to negate the influence of the inspirational Steffon Armitage.

It had been hoped the Donnacha Ryan would return to the fray but he hasn't recovered and doesn't make the matchday 23.

Donnacha Ryan, who has been battling with a foot injury since the Treviso game in March, did take part in this week's training programme but misses out.

In an amazing feat of recovery, JJ Hanrahan has recovered from a groin tear and takes his place on the bench as cover for Ian Keatley.

There are no other surprises to the team.

Meanwhile, Jonny Wilkinson has recovered from the hamstring injury that troubled him for the past month and will captain Toulon in Marseille.

He takes over from Frederic Michalak who drops out of the squad all together despite impressing in the Top 14 for the past three weeks.

Steffon Armitage remains at Number 8 with his brother Delon at full-back. Bryan Habana continues his return to action and will start in third consecutive game on the left wing for the Heineken Cup champions.

Munster team to play Toulon: (15-9) Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray;(1-8) Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley (C), BJ Botha ; Dave Foley, Paul O'Connell; CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan.

Replacements: (16-23) Duncan Casey, James Cronin, John Ryan, Donncha O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.

Toulon team to play Munster: (15-9) Delon Armitage;  Drew Mitchell, Mathieu Bastareaud, Matt Giteau, Bryan Habana; Jonny Wilkinson (c), Sebastien Tillous-Borde; (8-1) Steffon Armitage, Juan Fernandez Lobbe, Juan Smith; Jocelino Suta, Danie Rossouw; Carl Hayman, Craig Burden, Xavier Chiocci.

Replacements: (16 -23) Jean-Charles Orioli, Alexandre Menini, Martin Castrogiovanni, Virgile Bruni, David Smith, Maxime Mermoz, Michael Claassens,  Konstantine Mikautadze.

Date: Sunday, April 27


Venue: Stade Vélodrome, Marseilles

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Luke Pearce (England)

Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

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