Keith Earls switches from wing to partner Ivan Dineen at centre as Munster look to get back on track
Province hoping to bounce back from their defeat last week in Treviso
Munster’s Keith Earls: lines out at centre at Musgrave Park tonight against Newport. Photograph: Inpho
In Ulster it was Jared Payne, who will be Irish qualified next year, in Leinster Brian O’Driscoll and Connacht Robbie Henshaw.
Earls shifts from the wing in a new centre partnership with Ivan Dineen, with Andrew Conway on the right wing and Simon Zebo on the other flank. JJ Hanrahan is in at outhalf with Ian Keatley among the replacements.
James Cronin starts at loosehead prop alongside Damien Varley and John Ryan in the front row.
Openside flanker Peter O’Mahony again captains the Munster side and should expect to see some fellow internationals take to the pitch at some stage.
Paul O’Connell, who has been training well but had some pre-season niggles, is expected to make an appearance as well as Felix Jones.
Both players start on the bench.
Newport have opted to change their nine-10 axis as International outhalf Kris Burton steps into outhalf and Jason Tovey moves to the bench.
That allows young gun Jonathan Evans take on the role of scrum-half in his first start of the season.
The Welsh side have also brought Matthew Pewtner on to the right wing for the game in Cork.
“Lyn has given me the chance to prove myself to I am going to try and take it,” said Evans of his opportunity.
“Now I have the opportunity I have to take the chance. It’s just the way it goes.
The Munster pack will doubtlessly have something to say about that.
Munster’s three-game winning run was broken on Friday in Treviso but Newport don’t have a great record for winning away from home with their last victory coming against Zebre in February.
Munster won the home encounter last season with Newport winning the meeting in Rodney Parade but Newport’s only previous win on Munster soil came on their very first visit to Thomond Park in March 2004. They face a big challenge to repeat the feat tonight.