Tommy O’Donnell and James Coughlan, both of whom were called up this week by Ireland coach Declan Kidney only to prove surplus to requirements for the Scotland game, team up with Paddy Butler, leaving South African CJ Stander on the bench and no place at all for Sean Dougall. And, of course, Peter O’Mahony will be back at the end of the Six Nations. While disappointed at his omission from the starting line-up, Stander fully accepts the situation.
“There are a lot of good loose forwards and so a lot of competition,” he said.
“The guys with Ireland are doing great but for us still here at Munster, we have to perform, weekend after weekend, be in contention and stick our hand up for the coach to see us.”
Stander and his team-mates hardly lived up to that ambition in Llanelli last week, coming up with a performance a long way short of what was required. A repeat tomorrow won’t suffice.
“There were some small errors, I had a few errors, some of the other guys had a few errors,” he agreed. “We just couldn’t get to the second phase to perform better.”
Rob Penney will be heartened by the availability of full-back Felix Jones and centre James Downey, both of whom have been out injured. Having come in as a replacement in Llanelli, Casey Laulala starts as Downey’s centre partner. Up front, Stephen Archer is also back again after a frustrating injury lay-off and starts at tight-head prop.
Both teams are missing several frontline players because of international calls but this is the first of a series of matches that Munster must win to qualify for the knockout stages.
TREVISO: B Williams; L Nitoglia, A Pratichelli, G La Grange, G Toniolatti; A Di Bernardo, F Semenzato; M Rizzo, G Maistri, J Roux, V Bernabo, C Van Zyl capt, D Budd, F Giusti, C Loamanu.
Replacements: F Sbaraglini, M Muccignat, P Di Santo, M Fuster, M Filippucci, J Ambrosini, L Morisi, T Iannone.
MUNSTER: F Jones; D Hurley, C Laulala, J Downey, J Murphy; I Keatley, D Williams; W du Preez, M Sherry capt, S Archer, I Nagle, B Holland, P Butler, T O’Donnell, J Coughlan.
Replacements: D Varley, J Ryan, BJ Botha, D Foley, CJ Stander, JJ Hanrahan, I Dineen.
Referee: Neil Patterson (Scotland).