Simon Zebo will start for Munster as Rassie Erasmus' side open their European Champions Cup campaign away at Castres Olympique.

Erasmus has made five changes to the side that suffered defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium last weekend ahead of Sunday's Stade Pierre Antoine encounter. 

Zebo's inclusion is amongst three introductions to the backline with the Cork native returning to take his place at full-back, while Darren Sweetnam is named on the wing, and Rory Scannell has been restored to midfield, joining Champions Cup debutant Chris Farrell. 

Keith Earls is retained on the wing after an impressive seasonal debut last Saturday that saw him score a brace against their interprovincial rivals. 

As expected, Conor Murray and Tyler Bleyendaal start, with Bleyendaal making the positional switch this week to renew their half-back pairing from last season.  JJ Hanrahan misses out completely.

In the forwards, newcomer Mark Flanagan makes his first start for the province and makes his Champions Cup debut, as he joins Billy Holland in the engine room.

Stephen Archer is introduced to the front row alongside Niall Scannell and Dave Kilcoyne and the back row remains unchanged with Tommy O’Donnell, captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander all starting.

Lock Jean Kleyn has been left out of the squad for the trip to France as the South African recovers from a neck injury.

This will be the 13th time these sides meet in Europe and in turn it becomes the most played fixture in the competition’s history. 

Munster: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Mark Flanagan, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (Capt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. 

Replacements:  Rhys Marshall, Liam O’Connor, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Andrew Conway.