FRIDAY night's game at Musgrave Park should end a long injury nightmare for a young Cork prop, Liam O’Connor, who is named in a Munster squad for the first time since December 2017.
The Ballyvolane native picked up a triple knee ligament injury the last time he played for Munster at the same ground and has fought his way back to full fitness and to a place on the bench for this evening’s clash with Southern Kings at Musgrave Park, 7.35pm.
Munster have picked and out and out attacking side. Chris Farrell will be looking to make a statement this evening, having featured for Ireland against Scotland, and make Joe Schmidt’s job of picking his outside centre for the Italy game more difficult.
Farrell will be part of a back division with lots of pace with injured Andrew Conway returning to action and looking to keep his good scoring run in Cork. He is part of a pacey back three that features homegrown Darren Sweetnam and Mike Haley.
There are seven changes to the side that defeated Dragons in Munster’s last outing three weeks ago.
Conway, Farrell, Niall Scannell, John Ryan and Billy Holland all return from international duty to start the clash.
Tyler Bleyendaal captains the side in his first start at out-half this season with his three previous starts this campaign at inside centre. Bleyendaal is named in the half-backs along with Neil Cronin.
Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell and Ryan pack down in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Holland in the engine room.
Fineen Wycherley, so impressive this season, Chris Cloete and Arno Botha start in the back row, and will be in for a busy evening against a very fast Kings’ back-row. Cloete makes his first appearance since sustaining a neck injury in December.
MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam; Tyler Bleyendaal (c), Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Fineen Wycherley, Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Liam O’Connor, Stephen Archer, Darren O’Shea, Gavin Coombes, Alby Mathewson, JJ Hanrahan, Dan Goggin.