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O'Connell back for Connacht trip
18 Apr 2014 12:12
Paul O'Connell returns to the Munster side as head coach Rob Penney makes nine changes for the short trip to Galway for their RaboDirect PRO12 showdown with Connacht on Saturday, kick-off 18.15. With four changes to the pack O'Connell returns joining Donncha O'Callaghan in the second row, while Dave Kilcoyne and Damien Varley start in the front row with John Ryan making the positional switch to tight-head.
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Paddy Butler takes the place of James Coughlan in the back-row as Varley takes over the captaincy duties. Duncan Williams teams up with Ian Keatley at half-back, while Denis Hurley, Johne Murphy and Andrew Conway all join James Downey and Gerhard van den Heever in the backline. In the replacements, Munster are bolstered by the addition of BJ Botha who limped off last weekend with a mild ankle injury. JJ Hanrahan was ruled out of contention after sustaining a moderate groin tear.
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Munster: Denis Hurley; Gerhard van den Heever, Johne Murphy, James Downey, Andrew Conway; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, John Ryan; Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell; CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, Paddy Butler.
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Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Alan Cotter, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell, Gerry Hurley, Conor Murray, Ronan O'Mahony.
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Connacht have named Willie Faloon at openside flanker after he recovered from a hamstring injury picked up late last week.
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This is the first game in seven months for the 27-year-old who joins Eoin McKeon and captain John Muldoon in the back row.
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Galway-born forwards Ronan Loughney and Andrew Browne are promoted from the bench and represent the only other changes to the pack.
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There is also a reshuffle to the backline with scrum half Kieran Marmion the only player to be lining out in the same position as last week. Last week's try scorer Darragh Leader has been named to start at fullback while Ireland international Robbie Henshaw shifts to outside centre to partner Eoin Griffin.
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Wingers Matt Healy and Danie Poolman return to the starting line-up in place of Fionn Carr and Tiernan O'Halloran, who has been ruled out with a quad tear sustained in training mid-week.
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Miah Nikora is handed the reins at outhalf and completes an all-Irish qualified starting team.
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Connacht: Darragh Leader, Danie Poolman, Robbie Henshaw, Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy, Miah Nikora, Kieran Marmion, Ronan Loughney, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You, Mick Kearney, Andrew Browne, John Muldoon (cpt), Willie Faloon, Eoin McKeon.
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Replacements: Jack Dinneen, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Aly Muldowney, Conor Gilsenan, Frank Murphy, Dan Parks, Dave McSharry
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