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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Munster set for minimal changes with Van Graan backing settled starting XV

There may be changes in the second row and back row for the clash with Leinster.

MUNSTER LOOK SET to make just two changes for Friday night’s Guinness Pro14 semi-final clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium [KO 7.35pm, eir Sport, deferred coverage on TG4 at 9.45pm].

Johann van Graan is expected to name a settled starting XV, with the backline set to be unchanged for a third consecutive game.

johann-van-graan Munster boss Johann van Graan at training yesterday. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

There could be a pair of changes up front, however, with back row Jack O’Donoghue in line to come into the starting XV after an impressive showing off the bench against Connacht last time out.

Chris Cloete started at openside flanker last time out and Tommy O’Donnell is another option in the position, but O’Donoghue’s dynamism and skills in the lineout and maul may see him get the nod alongside Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in Munster’s back row.

There could be a change in the second row too, with Billy Holland potentially coming into the starting side after being on the bench last weekend.

Tadhg Beirne and Fineen Wycherley delivered a good performance as the second row pairing against Connacht but it’s thought the 22-year-old may be carrying an injury issue.

Otherwise, it’s expected that Munster will have a very settled look as van Graan hopes to see his men cause an upset by beating the reigning Pro14 champions on Friday night.

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It remains to be seen if Munster opt for a 6/2 split of forwards and backs on their bench, having done so last weekend against Connacht.

Munster and Leinster are due to name their matchday 23s at midday tomorrow.

Possible Munster XV:

15. Shane Daly
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Damian de Allende
11. Keith Earls
10. JJ Hanrahan
9. Conor Murray

1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Tadhg Beirne
5. Billy Holland
6. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
7. Jack O’Donoghue
8. CJ Stander 

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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