Munster and Ulster make sweeping changes

Ireland’s two tests against Argentina in June will kick-off at 7.40pm Irish time

Munster coach Rob Penney has made 10 changes in personnel to the side that thumped Edinburgh last time out for tomorrow's game against Ulster at Thomond Park (6.30).

In the front row Dave Kilcoyne and Damien Varley come in for James Cronin and Duncan Casey respectively with John Ryan retaining his place at tighthead. Duncan Casey, who was replaced after 30 minutes against Edinburgh, met with a specialist yesterday and is undergoing surgery today on his right shoulder.

Dave Foley teams up with Paul O’Connell in the second row while Paddy Butler moves from number eight to blindside flanker. Duncan Williams starts alongside Ian Keatley in the half backs, while the midfield sees the return of James Downey and Casey Laulala. Simon Zebo reverts to the left wing with Felix Jones returning at fullback.

Ulster, who like their hosts have already qualified for the Pro12 semi-finals have sent a very young side to Limerick making 12 changes from last weekend. The entire backline from their defeat to Leinster is changed with former underage international Rory Scholes and the highly regarded Stuart McCloskey named in the backline. James McKinney and Michael Heaney form a youthful halfback pairing.


Up front, Callum Black starts at loosehead, with Rob Herring and Andrew Warwick keeping their places in the front row. Lewis Stevenson partners new captain Dan Tuohy in the secondrow, while Mike McComish and Sean Doyle flank Nick Williams in the backrow. Bronson Ross has recovered from neck surgery and is selected on the bench as is former Clontarf scrumhalf David Shanahan.

Tuohy admitted: “Mark Anscombe pulled me to one side on Monday and said that I was going to captain the team; I was delighted. For me, I am just going to concentrate on my own game, get the lads behind me and hopefully we can put in a decent performance tomorrow night.”


Meanwhile the Argentine rugby union (UAR) has confirmed the kick-off times for Ireland’s two Test summer tour with both matches against the Pumas starting at 3:40pm local time (7.40pm Irish time).

The first Test takes place at the Estadio Centenario in Resistancia in Chaco Province in the northeast of the country on Saturday June 7th. The second Test will be played in the Estadio José Fierro in Tucumán in North-western Argentina the following Saturday.

New Zealander Glen Jackson will referee the first test with France's Pascal Gauzerre taking charge of the second.

Munster: F Jones; G van den Heever, C Laulala, J Downey, S Zebo; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, J Ryan; D Foley, P O’Connell; P Butler, S Dougall, J Coughlan. Replacements: Q MacDonald, J Cronin, A Cotter, B Holland, T O’Donnell, C Murray, JJ Hanrahan, K Earls.

Ulster: C Gilroy; D McIlwaine, M Allen, S McCloskey, R Scholes; J McKinney, M Heaney; C Black, R Herring, A Warwick; L Stevenson, D Tuohy (capt); M McComish, S Doyle, N Williams. Replacements: K McCall, B Ross, A Macklin, N McComb, C Joyce, D Shanahan, R Andrew, P Nelson.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer