Munster make seven changes, Lowry goes to 10 for Ulster

Munster will be without both Peter O’Mahony and the in-form Simon Zebo for tomorrow night’s crucial URC derby match with Ulster at Kingspan Stadium (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player).

O’Mahony – along with hooker Niall Scannell suffered knocks in last week’s win against Exeter Chiefs in the Heineken Champions Cup, and have been left out having not trained fully.

Simon Zebo is also a notable absentee, with the province saying he’s unavailable due to “personal reasons.”

Johann van Graan makes seven changes in total, with Conor Murray, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan and Fineen Wycherley all rotating to the subs bench.

Craig Casey comes in for Murray, and Joins Carbery in the half-backs, while Chris Farrell and Damian de Allende continue in the center.

Shane Daly replaces Zebo on the left wing, and joins Mike Haley and Keith Earls in the back three.

There’s an all new front row of Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer and Diarmuid Barron, while Thomas Ahern is rewarded for his recent performances with a start in the second row alongside Jean Kleyn.

With O’Mahony out, Jack O’Donoghue resumes captaincy and shifts across to the blindside flank, joined in the back row by John Hodnett and Alex Kendellen.

Ulster have made just three changes to their staring XV from last week’s agonizing defeat to Toulouse.

With Billy Burns sidelined due to a head injury, Mike Lowry takes over at the out-half, with the Ireland international moving in from full-back.

Stewart Moore comes in to start at 15, with the rest of the backline unchanged, as Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, and John Cooney all keep their places.

The remaining changes come in the back row. Matty Rea starts at the blindside flanker, replacing his brother Marcus, while Jordi Murphy starts on the openside, with Duane Vermeulen rested and Nick Timoney shifting to number 8.

Head coach Dan McFarland goes with the same front-five that started against Toulouse, with captain Iain Henderson joining at lock by lan O’Connor, and the first choice front row of Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring and Marty Moore.

Munster were 18-13 winners when the sides met at Thomond Park in January, but it’s five years since either side claimed an away win in this fixture.


Ulster: Stewart Moore; Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy; Mike Lowry, John Cooney; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore; Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (capt); Matty Rea, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Sam Carter, Sean Reidy, Nathan Doak, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.

Munster: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Thomas Ahern; Jack O’Donoghue (capt), John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen.

Replacements: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan, Jason Jenkins, Fineen Wycherley, Conor Murray, Ben Healy, Chris Cloete.

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