RaboDirect PRO12 match preview: Munster v Connacht

Last updated: 23rd March 2013  

Dave McSharry Connacht

Dave McSharry gets the nod at inside centre for Connacht.

OConnell Paul

Paul O'Connell is back in Munster colours after a six-month lay-off.

Related links

Teams

Also see

Munster welcome back Ireland lock Paul O'Connell as they look for their first win in four games against Connacht in Saturday's RaboDirect PRO12 clash.

O'Connell is included in the starting XV for the first time since October having recovered from a back injury.

In contrast to the hosts, who have lost their last three league matches, Connacht arrive with four wins in their last five outings.

There is just one play-off place left in the reach of Munster who must now grapple with Ospreys and Scarlets to make the top four.

Munster benefit from the late kick-off meaning they will know exactly what is expected by the time their game gets underway at Musgrave Park.

The home side make three changes to the team which drew against Ospreys last time out.

The inclusion of O'Connell sees Billy Holland demoted to the bench as Conncha O'Callaghan partners the returning Ireland international at lock.

Sean Dougall is back in the starting line-up having not played since January while Niall Ronan is named in the squad for the first time since November.

Meanwhile, Connacht have made just two changes to the team which defeated Zebre in the last round of fixtures.

Coach Eric Elwood names Dave McSharry in the back line for the first time since January's Heineken Cup clash against Zebre.

George Naoupu enters the fold to join Mick Kearney in the second row in place of Andrew Browne who switches to blindside flanker with John Muldoon starting at number eight.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Doug Hurley; 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Cathal Sheridan, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Tommy O'Donnell, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Damien Varley, 1 David Kilcoyne.

Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Niall Ronan, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Ivan Dineen.

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Gavin Duffy (capt), 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 George Naoupu, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.

Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.

SkyBet
Click here for more betting