Home Rugby JJ Hanrahan Returns As Alby Mathewson Bids Farewell To Munster

JJ Hanrahan Returns As Alby Mathewson Bids Farewell To Munster

Alby Mathewson will make his final appearance for Munster from the bench in their second-round Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 in Thomond Park on Saturday.

JJ Hanrahan returns to the side in place of Tyler Bleyendaal who reported stiffness this week and was unavailable for selection.

He is one of three changes to the Munster side who recorded a bonus-point win over Ospreys last week with Tadhg Beirne and Jack O’Donoghue also named in the starting XV.

Mike Haley starts at full-back with Andrew Conway and Keith Earls on either flank. Rory Scannell and Chris Farrell continue their centre partnership with Conor Murray and Hanrahan in the half-backs.

Last week’s Man of the Match Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell and John Ryan pack down in the front row.

Beirne partners Jean Kleyn in the engine room with O’Donoghue named in a back row that also includes captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander.

Meanwhile, former Munster players Simon Zebo and Donnacha Ryan have been named in the Racing 92 side for the trip to Limerick.

Kick-off on Saturday is 5.30pm.

Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Fineen Wycherley, Alby Mathewson, Dan Goggin, Arno Botha.

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Meanwhile, James Tracy is in line to make his 100th appearance for Leinster off the bench in their Champions Cup meeting with Lyon in Matmut Stade de Gerland.

Rob Kearney makes his first start for Leinster since returning from the Rugby World Cup, with Jordan Larmour moving to the right wing and James Lowe continuing on the left.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are paired together for the first time this season in the centre from the start, with Luke McGrath and captain Johnny Sexton continuing as the half-back pairing.

In the pack Cian Healy and Rónan Kelleher are retained from the starting XV last week, with Tadhg Furlong returning from a back injury to start at tighthead.

James Ryan is again selected in the second row, with Scott Fardy winning his 50th cap as his partner for the trip to France.

In the back row it’s the same two on the flanks, with Rhys Ruddock at blindside and Josh van der Flier at openside winning his 75th cap, with Max Deegan making his first European start from number eight.

Kick-off on Saturday is 3.15pm (Irish time).

Leinster: Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Rónan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong, Scott Fardy, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Max Deegan.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Josh Murphy, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Dave Kearney.

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Caolin Blade is set to make his 100th appearance for Connacht when they take on Toulouse in the second round of the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday.

He forms a half-back partnership with Conor Fitzgerald who impressed off the bench against Toulouse last weekend.

Connacht are boosted by the return of international lock Quinn Roux who will captain the side in the absence of Jarrad Butler. Roux will line up alongside Ultan Dillane in the second row after the latter came through the Montpellier game unscathed following a recent back injury.

In the front row there are two changes, with Dave Heffernan coming in at hooker and Peter McCabe at loosehead. Dominic Robertson-McCoy is retained at tighthead with Finlay Bealham named on the bench after a two week layoff with injury.

In the back row, the versatile Eoghan Masterson comes in at blindside with Colby Fainga’a at openside and Robin Copeland starting again at number 8.

There is a reshuffle in the backline, with Matt Healy at full back in a back three that sees Kyle Godwin and John Porch on the wings, while Tom Farrell comes into the midfield alongside Tom Daly.

Kick-off on Saturday is 1pm (Irish time).

Connacht: Matt Healy, John Porch, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Kyle Godwin, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade; Peter McCabe, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Matthew Burke, Finlay Bealham, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Angus Lloyd, Jack Carty, Peter Robb.

About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter