Munster bring back international heavyweights for Leicester game

South African flanker Chris Cloete to make European debut

Chris Cloete makes his Champions Cup debut for Munster at openside flanke for the visit of Leicester to Thomond Park. Photograph:  Giuseppe Fama/Inpho

Chris Cloete makes his Champions Cup debut for Munster at openside flanke for the visit of Leicester to Thomond Park. Photograph: Giuseppe Fama/Inpho

 

New Munster coach Johann van Graan brings in five international players among six changes in his side for Saturday night’s Champions Cup match against Leicester at Thomond Park (7.45pm).

Skipper Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Dave Kilcoyne, Conor Murray and Andrew Conway are all included, while South Africa flanker Chris Cloete starts in his first Champions Cup at openside.

Stephen Archer is promoted from the bench this week and joins Rhys Marshall and Kilcoyne in the frontrow, and it’s as you were with the secondrow partnership of Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland.

Murray joins Ian Keatley in the halfbacks with Rory Scannell and Sam Arnold again form the midfield pairing. Arnold makes his Champions Cup debut in red after last representing Ulster in Europe in January 2016.

Winger Alex Wootton is another who will make his European bow this weekend as he retains his place to start in a back three that includes Conway and Simon Zebo.

Included in the replacements is Darren O’Shea, who is also in line to make his Champions Cup debut.

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (capt), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Darren Sweetnam.

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