Munster make four changes for Southern Kings test

O’Connor, O’Shea, Mathewson and Goggin all come into starting line-up in South Africa

Tommy O’Donnell: Munster man could be in the frame for an Ireland call-up given the injury to Jordi Murphy. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Pro14: Southern Kings v Munster

Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday. Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

Sunny and 23 degrees for Saturday in Port Elizabeth, what is there not to like for round two and Munster’s annual trip to South Africa with Cheetahs lined up for next weekend in Toyota Stadium.

Johan van Graan hopes to work off Munster’s encouraging opening game, where they put 39 points on a poor Dragons side. Emulating Cardiff’s win on the opening week wouldn’t be a bad second act. The Welsh came out on the right side of an eight-try thriller in the Eastern Cape.


Munster have made four changes to the side that won in Thomond Park. Frontrow Liam O’Connor, lock Darren O’Shea, half back Alby Mathewson and centre Dan Goggin all come into the starting line-up.

Given Jordi Murphy’s popped rib there is bound to be interest in Tommy O’Donnell, who dons the captain’s armband, with Jack O’Donoghue and Arno Botha in the backrow.

Being in South Africa won’t help O’Donnell’s cause if Murphy is out of contention and Joe Schmidt opts to call him up. Cape Town is 14,729 kilometres from Tokyo, Dublin 9,582.

Academy hooker Diarmuid Barron is named in the replacements along with Munster’s short-term signing Jed Holloway, who is line to make his Guinness Pro14 debut. The Australian forward was an experienced member of the Waratahs squad with 52 Super Rugby appearances. He is known for his work-rate and ball carrying.

The 26-year-old will provide cover at lock, and across the backrow, with Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in Japan. He is on a two month contract.

SOUTHERN KINGS: M Banda; A Loubser, T Kruger, JT Jackson, C Winnaar; D Catrakilis, S Ungerer; Juan Schoeman, A van Rooyen, P Scholtz, J Sexton, A Fortuin, L Badiyana (C), T Burger, R Lerm Replacements: J du Toit, A Tshakweni, R de Klerk, B de Wee, E Louw, J Allderman, S Sithole, J Twum-Boafo.

MUNSTER: M Haley; D Sweetnam, D Goggin, R Scannell, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, A Mathewson; L O'Connor, K O'Byrne, S Archer; D O'Shea, F Wycherley; J O'Donoghue, T O'Donnell (C), A Botha. Replacements: D Barron, J Cronin, J Loughman, J Holloway, B Holland, N Cronin, T Bleyendaal, C Cloete.

Referee: D Jones (WRU)

Verdict: Munster

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times