Full-back Felix Jones and centre James Downey return to Munster's starting XV for Sunday's clash with Treviso in Italy.
Full-back and centre Felix Jones and James Downey return to Munster's starting XV for Sunday's clash with Treviso in Italy.
Felix Jones and James Downey return to Munster's starting XV for the first time since the game against Racing Metro in mid January, for the trip to Italy and the RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Benetton Treviso at Stadio di Monigo on Sunday (3pm).
Jones had minor surgery on a knee – after the Heineken Cup game against Racing Metro on January 20 – that has kept him sidelined till now.
Downey's last outing was also in that game and he's missed the last two with a rib injury.
Casey Laulala is another who returns to the starting XV for the first time since he partnered Downey in the PRO12 match against Ulster in Thomond Park Stadium just after Christmas.
He did play off the bench in the subsequent games against Blues, Edinburgh and Metro, then missed the next two while back home in New Zealand but returned to action as a 49th minute replacement for Ivan Dineen in Parc y Scarlets last Saturday.
James Coughlan and Tommy O'Donnell return from the Ireland set-up to make the trip as does Damien Varley who was a late withdrawal from the squad last weekend (knee injury) for the trip to Wales.
Meanwhile, Treviso coach Franco Smith will be without several players who will be on international duty with Italy in the six Nations this weekend.
Treviso has been boosted, however, by the return flanker Marco Filippucci, who will be amongst the repalcements.
The match against Munster,marks the return of PRO12 matches to Stadio Monigo in Treviso.
Form: Benetton Treviso's only win so far in 2013 was 17-14 at home to Ospreys in the European Cup on 20 January. The Italians have won three of their last four home games at the Stadio Monigo. Munster have lost two of their last three games in the RaboDirect PRO12, but have won two of their last three away from home in the competition. The Munstermen tripped up 17-21 in Aironi on their most recent visit to Italy. Treviso's only previous victory over Munster was 19-18 at Stadio Monigo in the RaboDirect PRO12 on 13 February 2011.
Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Gideon La Grange, 11 Giulio Toniolatti, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Christian Loamanu, 7 Filippo Giusti, 6 Dean Budd, 5 Corniel Van Zyl (c), 4 Valerio BernabÃ², 3 Jacobus Roux, 2 Giovanni Maistri, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Matteo Muccignat, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Marco Filippucci, 21 James Ambrosini, 22 Luca Morisi, 23 Tommaso Iannone.
Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Denis Hurley, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Johne Murphy, 10 Iain Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan. 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Paddy Butler, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Ian Nagle, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry (c) 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 John Ryan, 18 BJ Botha, 19 D Foley, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Cathal Sheridan, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ivan Dineen.
Date: Saturday, February 23
Venue: Stadio di Monigo
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU)
Assistant referees: Stefano Traversi, Stefano Marrama (both FIR)
Television match official: Mauro Dordolo (FIR)