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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Connacht make three changes to face experimental Munster side

JJ Hanrahan is the only survivor from the side that faced the Scarlets.

JJ Hanrahan is the only player to retain his place in the Munster side.
JJ Hanrahan is the only player to retain his place in the Munster side.

MUNSTER COACH ROB Penney has continued his habit of making full use of his squad ahead of their game with Connacht tomorrow (kick-off 7:15pm).

JJ Hanrahan is the only survivor from last week’s clash with the Scarlets, as Niall Scannell and John Ryan start in the front row alongside James Cronin.

Donncha O’Callaghan is selected with Dave Foley, while Paddy Butler, Sean Dougall and James Coughlan make up the back row.

In addition to Hanrahan, Felix Jones, Keith Earls, Duncan Williams, Ronan O’Mahony, Johne Murphy and James Downey form the remainder of the backline.

Meanwhile, Connacht have made three changes from the side that beat the Dragons for their RaboDirect PRO12 trip to Thomond Park.

Frank Murphy starts at scrum-half, earning his 100th cap for the province in the process, while Fionn Carr is named on the right wing and Gavin Duffy switches to full-back to accommodate Robbie Henshaw at centre.

In the back row, Andrew Browne starts at blindside flanker, as John Muldoon moves to the openside, while Eoin McKeon is named at number 8.

Speaking ahead of the game, coach Pat Lam said:

“Despite being boosted by the win on Saturday against the Dragons, we lost a couple of guys through that last game and it’s hugely disappointing to have to plan without Dave (McSharry), especially on the back of losing our other midfielders Danie (Poolman), Craig (Ronaldson) and Kyle (Tonetti) to injury.

“Kieran Marmion has had a high work load this season having played in every game and taking part in a two-day national camp earlier this week.  So he is named on the bench for tomorrow’s game. We’re delighted for Frank to achieve his 100th Connacht cap, especially after such a long road to recovery last season.

“Jake (Heenan) joins Willie Faloon on the injured list which is another huge loss to a crucial position for us. But John (Muldoon) has shown in the past that he has the skillset and experience to switch sides in the back row.

“We’re really looking forward to the game. These interprovincial games are huge occasions and a source of great pride for the players. It’s a massive challenge as Munster are flying high at the top of the PRO12 table, they’re topping their own Heineken Cup pool and we haven’t beaten them down there since 1967.

“We have shown this season that if we go through the processes and bring heart to our game plan, we can get the outcome we all want.  That’s what we have to do tomorrow.”

Munster team:

F Jones; K Earls, J Murphy, J Downey, R O’Mahony; JJ Hanrahan, D Williams; J Cronin, N Scannell, J Ryan; D O’Callaghan, D Foley; P Butler, S Dougall, J Coughlan (captain).

Replacements:

D Varley, A Cotter, S Archer, B Holland, CJ Stander, G Hurley, J Holland, D Hurley.

Connacht team:

15. Gavin Duffy 14. Fionn Carr 13. Robbie Henshaw 12. Eoin Griffin 11. Matt Healy 10. Dan Parks 9. Frank Murphy 1. Brett Wilkinson 2. Jason Harris-Wright 3. Nathan White 4. Mick Kearney 5. Craig Clarke (captain) 6. Andrew Browne 7. John Muldoon 8. Eoin McKeon.

Replacements:

16. Dave Heffernan 17. Denis Buckley 18. Rodney Ah You 19. Aly Muldowney 20. George Naoupu 21. Kieran Marmion 22. Jack Carty 23. Darragh Leader.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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