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JJ Hanrahan Returns Ahead Of Munster’s Crunch Clash With Racing

Munster

Munster have named their starting XV ahead of their crucial Heineken Cup Champions Cup against Racing 92 in Paris on Sunday afternoon.

Johann van Graan’s side have been handed a timely boost with the return of out-half JJ Hanrahan to the starting XV which contains eight changes from the team that faced Ulster last weekend.

Niall Scannell starts at hooker on his 100th Munster appearance, with Peter O’Mahony captaining the side while Mike Haley is named at full-back with Andrew Conway and Keith Earls starting on either flank.

Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, John Ryan, Arno Botha, Chris Cloete, Craig Casey, Dan Goggin, Shane Daly.

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Leinster are also in action this weekend as they take on Lyon on Sunday at the RDS, with Leo Cullen’s side also making a number of changes.

Scott Fardy captains the side while Jordan Larmour starts at full-back, with Dave Kearney and James Lowe on the wings.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are the centre partnership chosen by Cullen, with Luke McGrath and Ross Byrne in the half-backs.

Cian Healy, James Tracy and Tadhg Furlong are selected in the front row, with Devin Toner and Fardy in the second row.

Finally, in the back row, Rhys Ruddock is again selected, with Josh van der Flier coming back in at openside and Max Deegan at number eight.

Leinster: Jordan Larmour, Dave Kearney, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Scott Fardy, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Max Deegan.

Replacements: Seán Cronin, Peter Dooley, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, Caelan Doris, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ciarán Frawley, Rob Kearney.

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Ulster take on Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday and welcome back Marcell Coetzee and Jordi Murph to their starting XV as the only changes from the win over Munster.

In the back three, Will Addison retains the full-back position, and will line out alongside Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune on the wings.  Stuart McCloskey is once again partnered with Luke Marshall in midfield. The familiar half-back duo of Billy Burns and John Cooney also retain starting berths.

In the forwards, Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Marty Moore make up the starting front row. Iain Henderson will lead the side and is joined by Alan O’Connor in the second row. Sean Reidy switches to blindside flanker, while Jordi Murphy comes in at openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at number eight.

Ulster: Will Addison, Robert Baloucoune, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, David Shanahan, Bill Johnston, Matt Faddes

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Connacht are the final province in Champions Cup action and they face Toulouse at the Sportsground and they welcome back Irish internationals Jack Carty and Bundee Aki in their starting XV.

There are also returns to the starting team for fellow internationals Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane and Matt Healy.

Jarrad Butler and Colby Fainga’a have both recovered from injury, with Butler captaining the side at number 8 and Fainga’a joined by Paul Boyle on the flanks.

Ultan Dillane will be partnered by Gavin Thornbury in the second row, while Paddy McAllister and Tom McCartney join Bealham in the front row to complete the pack.

Scrum-half Stephen Kerins is handed his first Champions Cup start, with Caolin Blade among the replacements having started the last nine games for Connacht.

Aki is partnered by Peter Robb in the centre, while Matt Healy is joined by winger Niyi Adeolokun and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran in the back three.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Stephen Kerins; Paddy McAllister, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Paul Boyle, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (C).

Replacements: David Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Joe Maksymiw, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, David Horwitz, John Porch.

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Author: Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com