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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 8 May 2021

O'Mahony included on Munster bench as Leinster make three changes

The southern province’s captain returns sooner than anticipated, while Ian Madigan and Gordon D’Arcy continue as Leinster’s centres.

O'Mahony is involved for the first time this season.
O'Mahony is involved for the first time this season.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER HAVE BROUGHT captain Peter O’Mahony back into their match day squad earlier than expected ahead of tomorrow’s Guinness Pro12 clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium [KO 18.30].

The 25-year-old has not been involved for the province since dislocating his shoulder in April’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Toulouse, after which he underwent a double shoulder reconstruction.

O’Mahony joins the returning Damien Varley, Gerhard van den Heever, JJ Hanrahan, BJ Botha and Dave Kilcoyne on a strong Munster bench to face Leinster.

Felix Jones captains the team from fullback, with Andrew Conway and Simon Zebo completing the back three. Australian centre Andrew Smith is back in the starting XV, alongside Denis Hurley in midfield.

Conor Murray and Ian Keatley continue as the halfback pairing, while Stephen Archer and James Cronin come into the front row to join Duncan Casey. Paul O’Connell is partnered by Dave Foley in the second row, while CJ Stander, Tommy O’Donnell and Robin Copeland make up a powerful back row.

Jack McGrath Jack McGrath is back in the Leinster front row. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Meanwhile, Leinster coach Matt O’Connor had made three changes to the side that beat the Cardiff Blues last Friday.

All three of the alterations come in the pack, as Jack McGrath and Mike Ross return in the front row on either side of Sean Cronin, while Mike McCarthy replaces Kane Douglas in the second row.

Ian Madigan and Gordon D’Arcy get another chance to form a midfield bond, with the latter wearing 13, while Jimmy Gopperth and Eoin Reddan will call the shots as the halfback pairing.

A back row trio of captain Jamie Heaslip, Dominic Ryan and Rhys Ruddock will look to counter Munster’s strength in that area.

From the bench, the likes of Douglas, Mick McGrath, Steve Crosbie and Bryan Byrne will look to add impact in the closing quarter.

Leinster: Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Gordon D’Arcy, Ian Madigan, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy; Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Jamie Heaslip (capt.).

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Michael Bent, Tadhg Furlong, Kane Douglas, Jack Conan, Isaac Boss, Steve Crosbie, Mick McGrath.

Munster: Felix Jones (capt.); Andrew Conway, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Duncan Casey, Stephen Archer; Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell; CJ Stander, Tommy O’Donnell, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Damien Varley, Dave Kilcoyne, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Gerhard van den Heever.

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Murray Kinsella

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