RaboDirect PRO12: Munster travel to Edinburgh; Connacht host Cardiff Blues
Last Updated: 02/05/14 1:45pm
Munster travel to Meggetland to face Edinburgh on Saturday knowing a RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final is secured after Ospreys were defeated by Zebre on Thursday night.
Although a top-four finish is already cemented, Munster can still challenge for a home semi-final and head coach Rob Penney will be keen to see his side rediscover their form after winning just two of their last five outings.
Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has made just two changes to his side, which will be captained by Greig Laidlaw, with the Gloucester-bound scrum-half making his final home appearance for the club.
Laidlaw leads an unchanged backline at the Colinton ground, however injuries to the club’s second and back-rows have enforced personnel changes to the pack.
Izak van der Westhuizen joined a growing list of injured locks after sustaining a blow against Glasgow last time out, meaning David Denton is drafted into the engine room, while Tomas Leonardi takes the loose forward berth.
Meanwhile, Penney makes 11 changes to the side that started the Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon as they return to league action.
A new-look front-row sees James Cronin and John Ryan pack down on either side of Duncan Casey, while Tommy O'Donnell and Paddy Butler return to the starting line-up alongside CJ Stander in the back row.
After rehab on a groin injury, JJ Hanrahan suffered no ill-effects from the last 20 minutes of last weekend's encounter in Marseille and partners up with Conor Murray in the half-backs.
Denis Hurley and Johne Murphy link up in midfield, while Simon Zebo switches to full-back with Andrew Conway and Gerhard Van Den Heever introduced on the wings.
By the time Cardiff Blues arrive at the Galway Sportsground to take on Connacht in their penultimate game of the season they will know whether European qualification remains in sight.
The capital side are currently nine points behind Scarlets, who currently occupy the final qualification berth, meaning Cardiff are relying on results elsewhere.
Scarlets take on the Dragons on Friday night and should the hosts prevail at the Parc y Scarlets, the Blues will be ruled out of a Champions Cup place.
Cardiff coaches Dale McIntosh and Paul John have made three changes to the side that beat Scarlets on ‘Judgement Day’ at the Millennium Stadium.
Winger Harry Robinson take the place of the injured Chris Czekaj, while Lloyd Williams starts at scrum-half as Lewis Jones moves to the bench.
The only change to the pack comes at No 8 where Ellis Jenkins gets the nod with Robin Copeland suspended.
Meanwhile, Connacht head coach Pat Lam has made just one change for their final home game of the season this Saturday.
Up front, Andrew Browne makes way for Aly Muldowney who slots into the second row alongside Mick Kearney.
Robbie Henshaw retains his palce at outside centre and links up with Eoin Griffin, who will play his final game at the Sportsground before departing for London Irish next season.