Preview: Munster v Edinburgh

Date published: September 23 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Keith_Earls

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has made five changes for Saturday's PRO12 encounter against Edinburgh.

Centre Cian Bohane is in line to make his first competitive start for the province. Bohane's inclusion in the starting XV sees the Corkman form a brand new centre partnership with returning international Keith Earls who has made a speedy recovery from the tight hamstring that saw him withdrawn from last weekend's encounter in Newport.

Elsewhere, Dave Kilcoyne will make his first start of the season in the front row while the return of Dave O'Callaghan at six sees captain Billy Holland – the PRO12's leading tackler to date – revert to the second row.

The final change comes in the back three with Ian Keatley to start at full-back. One of only three players to have scored in excess of 1000 points in the PRO12 (1266), Keatley needs just five points to reach the 1000 mark for Munster across all competitions.

Should he appear from the bench, recent academy graduate and Ireland Men's Sevens representative Alex Wotton will make his first competitive appearance.

Successfully rehabbing a neck injury, Stephen Archer is included in the matchday squad for the first time this season.

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons has made seven changes to his starting side.

Three changes come in the backline, as try-scorer against Scarlets and Leinster, Michael Allen, moves from wing to centre with Damien Hoyland – who returns from a groin injury to make his first appearance of the season – starting in the number 14 jersey.

Allen is joined in the centre by Chris Dean, who comes in for the injured Phil Burleigh (shoulder). Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is set to wear the number nine jersey for the first time this season in place of the injured Nathan Fowles (leg).

The remaining four changes in the pack will see Kevin Bryce makes his first Edinburgh Rugby start at tighthead prop, while Stuart McInally is named at hooker and captain of the side. Fraser McKenzie comes in at lock in place of the rested Grant Gilchrist while Cornell Du Preez makes his first start of the season at number eight.

Glenn Bryce and Tom Brown retain their starting jerseys to join Hoyland in the back-three, while Dean and Allen are set to play outside of the half-back partnership of Duncan Weir and Hidalgo-Clyne.

Rory Sutherland packs down in the loosehead prop berth alongside McInally and Bryce, while McKenzie is in the boilerroom with Ben Toolis. Last week's try-scorers, Magnus Bradbury and Hamish Watson, start at blindside and openside flanker respectively, with Du Preez at the tail of the scrum.

On the bench, six players not included in last week's match-day squad will feature for the outing against Munster.

Neil Cochrane, Jack Cosgrove, Lewis Carmichael – who will make his Edinburgh Rugby debut if called upon from the bench – and John Hardie are all brought in as forward replacements – the latter having recovered from a head knock sustained against Scarlets – while Sean Kennedy and Rory Scholes are also included as back replacements.

Form: The Munstermen have not been defeated at Thomond Park in 2016, the last visiting side to win there being Leinster on 27 December. Edinburgh’s solitary victory in their last six PRO12 fixtures was 20-9 over Scarlets at Murrayfield in round 2. Edinburgh have not beaten an Irish province on their own soil since a trip to Connacht in January 2015. Munster have lost just one of their last nine PRO12 clashes with Edinburgh: 13-14 at Thomond Park in September 2014 – the last time the two met at the venue.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Ian Keatley, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Cian Bohane, 11 Ronan O'Mahony; 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jack O'Donoghue, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland (c), 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Dan Goggin, 23 Alex Wootton

Edinburgh: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Michael Allen, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Kevin Bryce, 2 Stuart McInally (c), 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Jack Cosgrove, 18 Allan Dell, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 John Hardie, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Rory Scholes

Date: Saturday, September 24
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT) 
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales) 
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Mark Patton (Ireland) 

COMMENTS