Sweetnam among 13 changes for Munster for Ulster trip on Friday night

Sweetnam among 13 changes for Munster for Ulster trip on Friday night
Darren Sweetnam at full tilt. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

MUNSTER make 13 changes from the side that were defeated by Castres last weekend with Mike Haley, at full-back, and Sam Arnold, at inside centre, the only two retained from last weekend.

Tonight they face in an in-form Ulster side at Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm) in a game where Jaco Taute captains the side for the first time.

Dunmanway’s Darren Sweetnam returns from a back injury sustained on international duty last month against the US Eagles to start on the right wing with Alex Wootton making a welcome return on the opposite flank.

Former All Black Alby Mathewson and JJ Hanrahan are the starting half-backs with Neil Cronin and Bill Johnston the replacement pair if needed.

Johann van Graan, because of international player welfare protocols, has also changed his front row completely with Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Archer fronting the scrum while Jean Kleyn returns from injury to partner Crosshaven’s Darren O’Shea in the engine room.

Darren O'Shea during Munster training. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Darren O'Shea during Munster training. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Conor Oliver is another to make a welcome return to the starting lineup as he makes his first start of the campaign having missed the early stages of the season through injury and is joined in the back row by Bantry’s Fineen Wycherley and Arno Botha.

Fit-again Tommy O’Donnell takes his place among the replacements along with Academy duo Gavin Coombes and Shane Daly gets the nod as the replacement utility back.

Munster will be looking to make a statement in this game ahead of their Old Firm clash with Leinster in Thomond Park on December 29.

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Sammy Arnold, Jaco Taute (C), Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Darren O’Shea; Fineen Wycherley, Conor Oliver, Arno Botha.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, Ciaran Parker, Gavin Coombes, Tommy O’Donnell, Neil Cronin, Bill Johnston, Shane Daly.

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