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Conor Murray back on the bench as Connacht end Pro12 reign in Munster

It’s the last round of the regular season tomorrow, but both teams have big matches to look forward to on 20 May.

Decent bench options, Murray and Bleyendaal.
Decent bench options, Murray and Bleyendaal.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Rassie Erasmus has been able to recall scrum-half Conor Murray to his matchday 23 for tomorrow’s Pro12 clash with Connacht  [kick-off 17.15, TG4] at Thomond Park.

The Lions half-back has been out of actions since suffering a shoulder injury during Ireland’s Six Nations loss to Wales, but is among the replacements for the final round of the regular Pro12 season with the knock-out stage coming to Limerick on 20 May.

Jean Deysel has returned from a rib injury sustained in the Champions Cup semi-final loss to Saracens to join Conor Oliver and Jack O’Donoghue in the back row. The Springbok will likely see time in the second row too as there is no recognised lock on the bench, Erasmus instead bringing Peter O’Mahony and Tommy O’Donnell into the squad.

Pat Lam, presiding over his final Pro12 match before moving to Bristol this summer, has made 11 changes from the home loss to Scarlets with Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Andrew Browne and Tom Farrell retaining their place.

Pat Lam with Rassie Erasmus before the game Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Munster will start the day three points off leaders Leinster, who go to Ulster, but with a European play-off in store, Connacht too have plenty of incentives as they aim to end their reign as champions on a high.

“With this being our final game before the European play-off, there is no question that we need an improved performance in Limerick tomorrow,” says Lam.

“With quite a few changes from last weekend, it’s an opportunity for those guys selected to drive that improvement. Winning only once in 29 years in Thomond Park emphasises the challenge we face tomorrow.  With the way Munster are playing as a team this season, there is no doubt that challenge has got even tougher.

“At the end of the day it’s a derby game with a lot on the line for both teams and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Munster:

15. Andrew Conway
14. Alex Wootton
13. Jaco Taute
12. Dan Goggin
11. Keith Earls
10. Ian Keatley
9. Angus Lloyd

1. James Cronin
2. Rhys Marshall
3. Stephen Archer
4.  Darren O’Shea
5. Billy Holland (Captain)
6.  Jean Deysel
7. Conor Oliver
8. Jack O’Donoghue

Replacements

16. Niall Scannell
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. John Ryan
19. Peter O’Mahony
20. Tommy O’Donnell
21. Conor Murray
22. Tyler Bleyendaal
23. Francis Saili

Connacht:

15  Tiernan O’Halloran
14  Danie Poolman
13  Tom Farrell
12 Craig Ronaldson
11 Cian Kelleher
10 Jack Carty
9  Kieran Marmion

1  Denis Buckley
2   Shane Delahunt
3   Conor Carey
4  Quinn Roux
5  Andrew Browne
6  Eoin McKeon
7. James Connolly
8. John Muldoon (Captain)

Replacements

16  Dave Heffernan
17 JP Cooney
18 Finlay Bealham
19  Sean O’Brien
20 Naulia Dawai
21  John Cooney
22 Marnitz Boshoff
23  Darragh Leader

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