Munster pick strong team for Rainbow Cup clash at RDS
Leinster make 13 changes from the side which beat Exeter Chiefs
Peter O’Mahony is back in the Munster side for their Rainbow Cup opener. Photograph: Inpho
Leinster have opted to rotate their squad while welcoming back some frontline internationals whereas Munster will arrive with more or less their first-choice side when the auld rivals meet in their opening Rainbow Cup match at the RDS on Saturday evening (kick-off 7.35pm, live on eir Sport).
Harry Byrne will start at outhalf and Dan Sheahan has been given only his third start at hooker as Caelan Doris, Garry Ringrose - who captains the side - and James Ryan all make timely returns from injury to strengthen Leinster’s options ahead of next Sunday week’s Champions Cup semi-final against La Rochelle.
All told, Leinster make 13 changes from the side which beat Exeter Chiefs 34-22 a fortnight ago, with only Jordan Larmour (who moves to fullback) and James Lowe retained in the starting XV. Josh Murphy and Scott Penny also return from injury, as the likes of Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan, Luke Mcgrath, Johnny Sexotn, oss Byrne, Robbie Henshaw and Hugo Keenan are all rested.
The return of Ryan, Doris and Ringrose is a huge boost for the province and particularly welcome in the cases of Ryan and Doris, who have both been sidelined after repeat concussive incidents. Doris last played in the win over Munster on January 23rd, missing the entirety of the Six Nations, while Ryan and Ringrose (ankle) hasn’t played since Ireland’s penultimate game in the Championship against Scotland.
For their part, Munster make just two changes to their starting XV from the 40-33 Champions Cup last 16 defeat by Toulouse three weeks ago with Shane Daly chosen ahead of Andrew Conway as Keith Earls switches to right wing, while Peter O’Mahony returns from the leg laceration he suffered against Leinster in their Pro14 final defeat a month ago.
Gavin Coombes moves to the bench, where he is joined by the promoted Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Keynan Knox, Ben Healy and Calvin Nash.
Leinster: Jordan Larmour, Dave Kearney, Garry Ringrose (Capt), Rory O’Loughlin, James Lowe, Harry Byrne, Hugh O’Sullivan; Ed Byrne, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter; Ross Molony, Ryan Baird; Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Seán Cronin, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, James Ryan, Scott Fardy, Cormac Foley, Ciarán Frawley,Tommy O’Brien.
Munster: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (Capt), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Keynan Knox, Fineen Wycherley, Gavin Coombes, Craig Casey, Ben Healy, Calvin Nash.