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Van Graan makes 5 changes as Munster welcome Ospreys to Limerick

Mike Haley returns in the backline while there are four personnel switches up front for the injury-plagued southern province.

Matt Gallagher celebrates scoring a try against the Dragons.
Matt Gallagher celebrates scoring a try against the Dragons.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

JOHANN VAN GRAAN has made five changes to his Munster team that beat Dragons in Newport ahead of Sunday’s Guinness Pro14 visit of the Ospreys to Thomond Park (2:45pm, TG4/eir Sport 2).

Most of the changes have been made in the pack, with Mike Haley the only switch in personnel in Van Graan and Stephen Larkham’s backline as he comes in at fullback, with Matt Gallagher moving to the left wing in place of Calvin Nash and Darren Sweetnam swapping sides.

There are four changes up front, with James Cronin and Stephen Archer coming in for youngsters Keynan Knox and Josh Wycherley in the front row, Fineen Wycherley replacing Billy Holland at lock, and Tommy O’Donnell deputising for the injured Chris Cloete.

Munster are otherwise unchanged, with JJ Hanrahan again getting the nod over Ben Healy at out-half.

John Ryan returns from Ireland camp to take a spot on the bench, Dan Goggin is in line to feature after a shoulder injury, and Jack O’Donoghue will captain the side in what will be his fifth consecutive start.

Munster confirmed midweek that in-form back row John Hodnett will require surgery on his achilles tendon and will be ruled out for a lengthy period. Centre Alex McHenry and outside back Liam Coombes also picked up knocks, while an unnamed Munster player tested positive for Covid-19 but feeling well and has no close contacts.

The southern province have won all four games so far this season but missed out on action last week due to a Covid outbreak within the squad of their then-scheduled opponents, Benetton.

Munster

15. Mike Haley
14. Darren Sweetnam
13. Rory Scannell
12. Damian de Allende
11. Matt Gallagher
10. JJ Hanrahan
9. Craig Casey

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1. James Cronin
2. Kevin O’Byrne
3. Stephen Archer
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Fineen Wycherley
6. Jack O’Donoghue (Captain)
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. Gavin Coombes

Replacements:

16. Diarmuid Barron
17. Josh Wycherley
18. John Ryan
19. Billy Holland
20. Jack O’Sullivan
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Ben Healy
23. Dan Goggin

Ospreys

15. Mat Protheroe
14. Luke Morgan
13. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
12. Keiran Williams
11. Hanno Dirksen
10. Stephen Myler
9. Shaun Venter

1. Gareth Thomas
2. Ifan Phillips
3. Tom Botha
4. Adam Beard
5. Bradley Davies
6. Will Griffiths
7. Dan Lydiate (Captain)
8. Gareth Evans

Replacements:

16. Dewi Lake
17. Rhodri Jones
18. Ma’afu Fia
19. Rhys Davies
20. Olly Cracknell
21. Matthew Aubrey
22. Josh Thomas
23. Scott Williams

Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)
Assistant Referees:George Clancy and Robert O’Sullivan (both IRFU)
TMO: Brian McNeice (IRFU)

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