MUNSTER got a huge boost ahead of Sunday's European Champions Cup clash against Leicester Tigers with the new that their captain Peter O’Mahony has signed a three-year contract with the IRFU.
O’Mahony made his debut in 2012 for Ireland and has since added 42 caps for his country but it has been with his province that he has truly shined.
The following year he was handed the captaincy of Munster and has remained in situ since then. There was a huge fear that he would head to England or France but his contract will see him remain with the province until at least 2021.
Commenting on the new contract Peter O’Mahony said: “I am absolutely delighted to commit my future to Munster and Ireland for the next three years. I’m very proud of where I am from and I am really excited about what we are building down in Munster right now.
“Playing for my country is something I dreamed of growing up as a boy, so I cherish each occasion I am lucky enough to take to the field in an Irish jersey. I look forward to building on what has been achieved to date with the rest of the Irish squad and management team.”
O’Mahony will once again lead the province as they try to beat the Tigers back to back at Welford Road on Sunday evening.
Head coach Johann van Graan makes two changes to the starting 15 with seven Cork players in the starting lineup and five on the bench.
It’s a first European start for Bishopstown hooker Kevin O’Byrne as he and winger Darren Sweetnam are promoted from the bench this weekend with Andrew Conway and Rhys Marshall continuing to follow return to play protocols after head injuries last weekend.
Keith Earls and Niall Scannell are notable returnees from respective hamstring and thumb injuries and are included in the match-day 23 while Billy Holland again continues in the second row having already started all 13 of Munster’s games so far this season.
MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (c), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Brian Scott, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Keith Earls.