Head Coach Anthony Foley makes five changes to the starting XV for Munster’s round 12 Connacht clash at the Sportsground on New Year’s Day, ko 5pm.
The returning international trio of Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony and Simon Zebo are all named in the starting line-up with O’Mahony back to captain the side.
In the front row BJ Botha trades places with Stephen Archer and packs down next to John Ryan and Duncan Casey, while in the second row Paul O’Connell renews his partnership with Billy Holland.
Holland will make his 100th appearance for the province in Galway since making his debut in September 2007 against Scarlets, and becomes the sixth player in the current squad to reach the milestone.
With the returning Peter O’Mahony at blindside CJ Stander makes the positional switch to 8 and Tommy O’Donnell retains his place at openside.
The changes to the backline see JJ Hanrahan start at 12 for the second time in as many weeks while Simon Zebo starts at fullback for the first time this season.
On the injury front Gerhard van den Heever underwent his knee surgery on Monday and will commence rehabilitation once initial post-op recovery is complete.
Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Pat Howard, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; John Ryan, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha; Billy Holland, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony Capt., Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Eusebio Guinazu, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, Dave O’Callaghan, Neil Cronin, Rory Scannell, Ivan Dineen.