Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus makes ten changes for Munster’s return to Pro12 action as the province take on Treviso at Stadio Mongio on Saturday.
Six from Munster’s British and Irish Cup winning Munster A squad are introduced to the side with Darren O’Shea and Conor Oliver in the starting XV and Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, Rory Burke and Alex Wootton included in the replacements.
It’s an all changed front row with James Cronin, Rhys Marshall and Stephen Archer named while lock Darren O’Shea links up with Billy Holland in the second row pairing.
Holland is the only player to retain his place in the pack and captains the side for the ninth time this season.Dave O’Callaghan, Conor Oliver and Jack O’Donoghue make up the back row.
Three changes to the backline sees this season’s leading try scorer Ronan O’Mahony and Darren Sweetnam cover the wings while Francis Saili joins Jaco Taute in the centre partnership.It’s as you were in the half backs with Duncan Williams and Tyler Bleyendaal named.
Munster: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Francis Saili, Jaco Taute, Ronan O’Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Darren O’Shea, Billy Holland Capt.; Dave O’Callaghan, Conor Oliver, Jack O’Donoghue.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, Rory Burke, Donnacha Ryan, CJ Stander, Angus Lloyd, Ian Keatley, Alex Wootton.
Ulster's Director of Rugby Les Kiss has made three changes to the Ulster team that will take on Ospreys in the Guinness Pro12 on Saturday afternoon, as Stuart McCloskey makes his first start in three months.
Ulster travel to Swansea knowing Pro12 playoff destiny still remains in their own hands with two regular season games remaining.
Ireland centre McCloskey, who returned from a three month injury layoff with an impressive second half cameo against Munster a fortnight ago, is drafted into the starting XV where he will partner Luke Marshall in midfield.
The other backline change sees fellow Irish international Craig Gilroy brought in at full back, where he will form an explosive back three partnership with Charles Piutau and captain Andrew Trimble.
The experienced half back pairing of Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson remain in situ. Robbie Diack is the sole change in the pack as he will slot in at number 8, where he will be flanked by Iain Henderson and Sean Reidy. Kieran Treadwell and Alan O'Connor will continue their second row partnership for the fifth game in a row, while the front row of Andy Warwick, Rory Best and Wiehahn Herbst is also retained.
Ulster: C Gilroy, A Trimble (Capt), L Marshall, S McCloskey, C Piutau, P Jackson, R Pienaar; A Warwick, R Best, W Herbst, K Treadwell, A O'Connor, I Henderson, S Reidy, R Diack
Replacements: R Herring, C Black, R Ah You, F van der Merwe, N Timoney, P Marshall, S Olding, J Stockdale.
Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made ten changes to his side for Saturday’s Pro12 clash with Scarlets – their last home game of the season.
It will also be Lam’s last outing at the Sportsground before his move to Bristol at the end of the season. He has made wholesale changes to the team that lost to Leinster in their last outing.
Darragh Leader, who this week signed a new deal with his home province, will start on the right wing for his first game in 18 months having returned from long-term injury. On the other wing, Cian Kelleher also returns following a long-term absence this season with injury.
Tom Farrell and Eoin Griffin make up a new centre partnership while Marnitz Boshoff is handed the reins at outhalf, with Caolin Blade starting in the number nine shirt.
Up front, Ireland international Finlay Bealham shifts to loosehead prop to allow Dominic Robertson-McCoy pack down at tighthead. James Cannon forms a second-row partnership with Andrew Browne, who captains the side on Saturday night.
Sean O’Brien and Eoghan Masterson are promoted to the starting back row where they join Jake Heenan.
"With Champions Cup being our main focus, the next two games present a great opportunity to prepare for the qualification playoffs in May," said Lam.
"It allows us to give guys coming back from long-term injuries a chance to perform against a quality Scarlets side.
The game against the Welsh side kicks-off at 7.35 and they wrap up their regular season against Munster in Thomond Park on Saturday, May 6. After that comes a play-off for a European Champions Cup spo against the seventh placed team in either France or England.
Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Cian Kelleher; Marnitz Boshoff, Caolin Blade; Finlay Bealham, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Roberston-McCoy; James Cannon, Andrew Browne; Sean O’Brien, Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson.
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, JP Cooney, Quinn Roux; John Muldoon, John Cooney, Craig Ronaldson, Danie Poolman.