Preview: Munster v Leicester Tigers

Date published: December 9 2016

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus makes six changes to the Munster side that defeated Glasgow Warriors in PRO12 action to face Leicester.

As part of two changes to the pack Donnacha Ryan and CJ Stander come into the second row and back row respectively, while four changes to the backline see Conor Murray and Tyler Bleyendaal take charge at half-back with Keith Earls and Simon Zebo starting in the back three.

In making these changes, Erasmus keeps faith with the same starting XV that defeated Glasgow 38-17 in the Champions Cup back in October.

Should they feature from the bench tomorrow, new arrivals this season Rhys Marshall, Thomas Du Toit and Jean Kleyn will all make their European debuts.

Meanwhile, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs return to the Leicester Tigers line-up.

Tuilagi is back in the starting line-up for the Pool 1 clash after his recovery from a groin injury, while scrum-half Youngs makes his first club appearance since being named England’s Man of the Series in November.

Fellow England international Dan Cole, though, is ruled out after suffering a leg injury in the victory over Australia last weekend.

Owen Williams joins Tuilagi in the centres, with Peter Betham moving to the wing. Club captain Tom Youngs returns to the front row after missing the win over Northampton Saints last Saturday.

Form: Munster’s tournament opener against Racing 92 was postponed after their head coach Anthony Foley died of a heart problem at the team hotel on the eve of their clash in Paris. The Irish province are at the top of the PRO12 and put on a magnificent display in their only game to date in the Champions Cup. That stunning 38-17 win over Glasgow Warriors at an emotionally charged Thomond Park set the pulse racing and they are currently in joint top spot in Pool One alongside Glasgow. The Tigers suffered a heavy 42-13 defeat to the Warriors in Round One before bouncing back with a 27-17 triumph over Racing in their Round Two clash.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Thomas Du Toit, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Andrew Conway

Leicester Tigers: 15 George Worth, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovii Mulipola
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 William Evans, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Tom Brady

Date: Saturday, December 10
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Tual Trainini (France), Stéphane Boyer (France)
TMO: Arnaud Blondel (France)