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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

Foley rings the changes as stars return for heavyweight clash with Clermont

Foley, O’Connell, O’Mahony, Murray and Zebo all return.

Paul O'Connell starts in the second-row alongside Dave Foley.
Paul O'Connell starts in the second-row alongside Dave Foley.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

BIG GAME, BIG occasion and the big guns return for Munster.

Anthony Foley has made seven changes to his side for Saturday’s highly anticipated European Champions Cup game against Clermont Auvergne at Thomond Park.

As expected, Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo return after their exploits on the international stage. Tommy O’Donnell and Felix Jones also start after coming off the bench during last week’s Pro12 victory over Ulster.

Despite the return of Munster’s luminaries, Foley has stuck with the same front three for the visit of the French heavyweights with Dave Kilcoyne, Duncan Casey and BJ Botha getting the nod.

In the back-line, the return of Zebo means Gerhard van der Heever switches to the opposite wing with Jones completing the back three.

Kevin O’Byrne, who is named among the replacements, could make his European debut while prop James Cronin is a notable inclusion after recovering from an ankle injury.

Munster have won their opening two games and currently sit top of Pool 1 but the back-to-back fixtures against Clermont could go along way to determining the final standings.

Clermont are hot on their heels but were beaten at Saracens in round one. Wesley Fofana and Aurélien Rougerie will start in midfield for the visitors but Welsh centre Jonathan Davies is only named among the substitutes.

Kick-off is at 5.30pm tomorrow and the game is live on Sky Sports 2.


15. Felix Jones

14. Gerhard van den Heever

13. Pat Howard

12. Denis Hurley

11. Simon Zebo

10. Ian Keatley

9. Conor Murray

1. Dave Kilcoyne

2. Duncan Casey

3. BJ Botha

4. Paul O’Connell

5. Dave Foley

6. Peter O’Mahony (capt)

7. Tommy O’Donnell

8. CJ Stander


16. Kevin O’Byrne

17. James Cronin

18. Stephen Archer

19. Billy Holland

20. Sean Dougall

21. Duncan Williams

22. JJ Hanrahan

23. Johne Murphy

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