Saturday, 2 April 2016

Leinster v Munster - Preview


Jonathan Sexton returns in one of nine Leinster changes for the Pro12 derby against Munster.

Zane Kirchner, Dave Kearney, Eoin Reddan, Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy and Jamie Heaslip also come in for the hosts.

Second-placed Leinster are seven points clear of Irish rivals Munster, who make five changes.

Conor Murray, Francis Saili and Andrew Conway return, along with James Cronin and CJ Stander, who is named captain.

Murray partners Johnny Holland at half-back, with Saili overcoming a bang to the shoulder to resume his midfield partnership with Rory Scannell.

As a result, Keith Earls makes a positional switch to the wing and joins Conway and full-back Simon Zebo in the back three.

Munster are boosted by the return of Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray for the Aviva Stadium derby

Munster have Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray back for the Aviva Stadium derby

Cronin will start alongside Niall Scannell and Stephen Archer in the front row, with Stander coming in to join Dave O'Callaghan and Tommy O'Donnell in the back row.

With Kirchner returning at full-back, Leinster captain Isa Nacewa moves to the right wing with Kearney also back in the equation on the left wing.

There are two new half backs in Reddan and Sexton - back in the Leinster side for the first time since the defeat by Wasps in January - while five changes in the pack include two in the front row, with McGrath and Cronin starting alongside Tadhg Furlong.

Toner returns to partner Hayden Triggs in the second row, while in the back row Rhys Ruddock is again selected - but moves from number eight to blindside flanker.

Murphy comes in at open-side while Heaslip completes the pack at number eight.

Leinster
Zane Kirchner; Isa Nacewa (capt), Garry Ringrose, Ben Te'o, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Hayden Triggs, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy, Mike Ross, Ross Molony, Josh van der Flier, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden.

Munster
Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Johnny Holland, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander (capt).
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Jack O'Donoghue, Tomás O'Leary, Ian Keatley, Darren Sweetnam.

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