Munster make four changes as Connacht target first win
New Ulster signing Bill Johnston makes his competitive debut against Toyota Cheetahs
Munster coach Stephen Larkham has made four changes to his team for Saturday’s match. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Munster have made four changes to the side that defeated Dragons in the opening round of the Pro14 for the trip to Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium against the Southern Kings on Saturday (kick-off 3pm Irish time).
It’s as you were in the backrow of Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell and Arno Botha, with O’Donnell taking over the captaincy duties this week.
Mathewson joins JJ Hanrahan in the halfback pairing, and with Rory Scannell switching to the 12 jersey Goggin comes in at outside centre in an otherwise unchanged backline.
Connacht head coach Andy Friend has made three changes to the Connacht starting team for the visit of Benetton to the Sportsground, also on Saturday (kick off 7.35pm).
Speaking ahead of the game, Friend said: “While we were disappointed with the result last weekend, there is huge anticipation among the squad for our first home game of the season. We have set some really ambitious targets for the season ahead, particularly around our home form.
“We have made three changes to our starting team from last weekend. Some of those were down to one or two injuries we picked up and some are down to the depth we have in the squad. This week we have named Sean Masterson among the replacements. He is an excellent young backrow who has impressed already for the Connacht Eagles side. I’m confident that he is ready for that step up to Pro14 rugby this weekend”.
Meanwhile new Ulster signing Bill Johnston will make his competitive debut for the province this Saturday against the Toyota Cheetahs (kick-off 5.15pm Irish time).
Johnston is the sole change to the Ulster squad that opened the 2019/20 season with a bonus point home win over Ospreys last Friday night.
Munster: Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; Liam O’Connor, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer; Darren O’Shea, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell (Capt), Arno Botha.
Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, Matt Healy; Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade; Paddy McAllister, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux; Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Paul Boyle.
Ulster: Matt Faddes; Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, James Hume, Rob Lyttle; Bill Johnston, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Rob Herring (Capt), Tom O’Toole; Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter; Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Greg Jones.