Munster make seven changes as they target key win over Edinburgh
Province missing number of players for clash with Scottish side that have lost four in a row
Munster’s Ben Healy has been selected to start against Edinburgh. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho
Munster v Edinburgh
Venue: Thomond Park, Limerick.
On TV: Live on eir Sport and Premier Sports.
Johann van Graan identified last season’s defeat at home by Edinburgh as the reason Munster finished four points behind the Scots in Conference B. Hence, after last week’s flawed if typically gutsy win away to Scarlets, this offers an opportunity to kickstart their campaign with two significant scalps.
But Munster come into this one not as they would have envisaged, having returned to their HPC in Limerick for the captain’s run yesterday for the first time in four days after two senior players tested positive for Covid-19.
Conor Murray returns from injury on the bench, while four others of their eight-man contingent in Andy Farrell’s squad start. But Shane Daly (groin), Chris Farrell and Peter O’Mahony are missing, as are Damian de Allende and JJ Hanrahan, as well as the injured Keith Earls, David Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, RG Snyman and Joey Carbery.
Ben Healy – match-winner last weekend – is one of seven changes. The 23-year-old Alex McHenry makes his first Pro14 start alongside Rory Scannell, as does Matt Gallagher on the left wing. Up front Jeremy Loughman, Fineen Wycherley and Tommy O’Donnell are recalled, while summer Leinster signing Roman Salanoa and academy outhalf Jack Crowley are on the bench.
Richard Cockerill also makes seven changes to his side smarting from four defeats in a row, with flanker Jamie Ritchie and Pro14 Players’ Player of the Season Duhan van der Merwe returning.
Viliame Mata, Magnus Bradbury, Henry Pyrgos and Blair Kinghorn are big misses, but Munster look vulnerable.
Munster: M Haley, A Conway, A McHenry, R Scannell, M Gallagher; B Healy, C Casey; J Loughman, R Marshall, J Ryan; F Wycherley, T Beirne, J O’Donoghue, T O’Donnell, CJ Stander (Capt). Replacements: K O’Byrne, J Cronin, R Salanoa, G Coombes, J Hodnett, C Murray, J Crowley, D Goggin.
Edinburgh: D Hoyland; D Graham, M Bennett, G Taylor, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, N Groom; R Sutherland, S McInally, WP Nel; B Toolis, G Gilchrist; J Ritchie, H Watson, N Haining. Replacements: M Willemse, P Schoeman, S Berghan, A Davidson, M Kunavula, D Nutton, N Chamberlain, J Johnstone.