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Gavin Coombes in action for Munster last season. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Gavin Coombes in action for Munster last season. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
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Coombes cousins from Skibbereen both start for Munster against Connacht

MUNSTER have made 10 changes for Saturday's top of the table clash with Connacht in the PRO14.

This game is a defining one for the Reds where they will need to get their festive season off to a winning start.

It starts a run of four games that will define their season, away to Connacht, at home to Leinster and away to Ulster before turning their attention back to Europe and a trip to Paris.

There are a couple of standout changes in the 10 made by van Graan with Craig Casey starting at nine and a return to action for loosehead prop Dave Kilcoyne.

It will be a huge day as well for the Coombes clan in Skibbereen, with Liam making his fourth PRO14 appearance on the wing but it is his first time starting with his cousin Gavin who starts in the back-row.

Liam Coombes starts for Munster against Connacht. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Liam Coombes starts for Munster against Connacht. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

CJ Stander is handed the captain’s armband and retains his place along with Chris Farrell, JJ Hanrahan, Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland who also keeping their places in the starting 15 from the side that lost to Saracens last weekend.

Shane Daly is named at full-back with Calvin Nash and Liam Coombes on either flank.

Dan Goggin and Farrell pair up in the centres with Casey and Hanrahan in the half-backs.

Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Archer start in the front row with the second-row partnership of Kleyn and Holland unchanged.

Academy players Diarmuid Barron, Keynan Knox and Ben Healy – who have all featured in the PRO14 already this season – are included among the replacements.

Jeremy Loughman returns from injury to take his place on the bench.

MUNSTER: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Chris Farrell, Dan Goggin, Liam Coombes; JJ Hanrahan, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Gavin Coombes, Chris Cloete, CJ Stander (c).

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Keynan Knox, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue, Neil Cronin, Ben Healy, Sammy Arnold.