CJ Stander starts for Munster against Saracens

Conor Murray ruled out as Munster name their team for Champions Cup semi-final

 CJ Stander during Munster training at the University of Limerick this week. Photograph: Getty Images

CJ Stander during Munster training at the University of Limerick this week. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has named CJ Stander in his match-day 23 for Munster’s Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens at the Aviva on Saturday.

However there is no place for Conor Murray who has yet to feature since injuring his shoulder in Ireland’s Six Nations defeat to Wales.

Stander has overcome the ankle injury sustained against Toulouse in the quarter-final stage to be named in the starting XV.

The recently named British and Irish Lion is one of five changes to the side that defeated Ulster in the Guinness Pro12 last weekend in Thomond Park.

The Ireland international is the only change to the pack as he joins Lions’ colleague Peter O’Mahony and Tommy O’Donnell in the back row.

An unchanged front five sees Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan scrum down in the front row while the squad’s most capped duo of Donnacha Ryan and Billy Holland continue their second row partnership.

With late changes to the side last weekend the half back pairing of Duncan Williams and Tyler Bleyendaal return to start for Saturday’s encounter.

Centre Jaco Taute also makes a return as he resumes his European midfield partnership with Rory Scannell who has been deemed fit to play after a knock to his ankle last weekend.

The final change comes by way of winger Andrew Conway who joins Keith Earls and Simon Zebo in the back three.

Named in the replacements is Jean Deysel who will make his Champions Cup debut if sprung from the bench.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Jaco Taute, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (Captain), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Dave O’Callaghan, Jean Deysel, Ian Keatley, Francis Saili, Darren Sweetnam.

Saracens: Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt (c), Sean Maitland; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Vincent Koch, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Michael Rhodes, Jackson Wray, Billy Vunipola

Replacements: Schalk Brits, Titi Lamositele, Petrus du Plessis, Jim Hamilton, Schalk Burger, Ben Spencer, Alex Lozowski, Chris Wyles

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