Mikey Haley returns at full-back in what is a very strong Munster selection for Friday night’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Cardiff Blues at Irish Independent Park, kick-off 7.35pm.
In what is the province’s final home game in Cork this season, Peter O’Mahony captains the side and there are six changes to the team that started last week’s Champions Cup quarter-final win over Edinburgh.
Haley, Tyler Bleyendaal, Kevin O’Byrne, Billy Holland, Chris Cloete and Arno Botha all come into the starting XV.
With Haley starting at full-back, Andrew Conway and Keith Earls will play on either flank as Rory Scannell and Chris Farrell continue their centre partnership. Conor Murray and Bleyendaal team up in the half-backs.
Dave Kilcoyne, O’Byrne and John Ryan pack down in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Holland in the engine room. A back-row of O’Mahony, Cloete and Botha complete the side.
Sammy Arnold returns from injury to take his place among the replacements and is set to make his first appearance since January.
Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander, Alby Mathewson, JJ Hanrahan, Sammy Arnold.
Ulster have made five changes for their trip to Glasgow tomorrow (kick-off 7.35pm) as they aim to close in on a home quarter-final.
Rory Best is out after injuring his ankle in the Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster. Iain Henderson, Robert Baloucoune and Nick Timoney drop out of the squad while Darren Cave, who will retire at the end of the season, is among the replacements.
Luke Marshall, who made a try-scoring impact on his return from a long-term injury lay-off last weekend, has been named to start at outside centre, where he will partner Stuart McCloskey in the Ulster midfield.
Winger Rob Lyttle also returns to the starting lineup, as he joins Jacob Stockdale and academy livewire Michael Lowry in the back three. The half-back pairing of John Cooney and Billy Burns is retained once more.
Alan O’Connor will captain the side from the second row alongside Kieran Treadwell. Hooker Rob Herring, Ulster’s top try scorer (six) in the PRO14, will pack down with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore in the front row.
Sean Reidy, who made his 100th Ulster appearance on Saturday, starts at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee named as the other loose forwards.
John Andrew, Andy Warwick and Tom O’Toole will cover the front row on the bench, with Ian Nagle and Matthew Rea named as the additional forward replacements. David Shanahan, Darren Cave and Angus Kernohan will provide the backline options.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed earlier this week that Wiehahn Herbst has taken up a contract with Vodacom Bulls in South Africa.
Ulster: M Lowry, R Lyttle, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, B Burns, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor (Capt), K Treadwell, S Reidy, J Murphy, M Coetzee.
Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, T O’Toole, I Nagle, M Rea, D Shanahan, D Cave, A Kernohan.