If you are going to make changes in the aftermath of a crushing defeat you would be advised to have a few British & Irish Lions hanging around the place looking for some game time and that is just the luxury Rassie Erasmus has at his disposal this afternoon.
Munster face Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park today (1.30pm) looking to atone for their Guinness PRO14 horror show in Glasgow eight days ago when a no-show in terms of physicality saw them hammered 37-15 at Scotstoun. No better men, then, than captain Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander and Conor Murray to welcome back to the fold as Erasmus makes nine changes from that side
O’Mahony and Stander move into the back row alongside Tommy O’Donnell, who remains at openside, and there are four further changes to the pack, with Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan making their first starts of the campaign.
Injury to lock Jean Kleyn and a suspension for Fineen Wycherley, a result of his red card last weekend, means Robin Copeland deputises in a second-row partnership with Billy Holland. Scrum-half Murray returns at Duncan Williams’ expense while Ian Keatley regains the fly-half berth in place of Tyler Bleyendaal, who drops out of the matchday squad. Erasmus instead hands JJ Hanrahan his first opportunity from the bench since returning from a two-year spell at Northampton.
The other change sees Jaco Taute start at outside centre for the first time this season, partnering Rory Scannell as Chris Farrell is rotated to the replacements as outside backs cover in place of Simon Zebo, who have not trained fully during the week. There are more fresh faces on the bench with Sean McCarthy making his first squad of the season while Mark Flanagan is also named after his short-term move from Saracens.
A Conway; D Sweetnam, J Taute, R Scannell, A Wootton; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan; R Copeland, B Holland; P O’Mahony – captain, T O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
R Marshall, L O’Connor, S Archer, M Flanagan, S McCarthy, D Williams, JJ Hanrahan, C Farrell.
R Williams; B Scully - captain, J Roberts, W Halaholo, T James; J Evans, T Williams; B Thyer, M Rees, T Filise; G Earle, J Down; J Turnbull, O Robinson, N Williams.
E Lewis, C Domachowski, K Assiratti, S Davies, M Cook, L Williams, S Shingler, M Morgan
Quinton Immelman (South Africa).
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