MUNSTER HEAD COACH Rob Penney has selected Denis Hurley at inside centre for the clash with Leinster tomorrow night in the RaboDirect Pro12, one of 10 changes to his starting XV.
Hurley has worn the 12 shirt twice already for Munster this season at senior level, during the 54-13 victory over the Cardiff Blues in February and the 18-13 defeat to the Scarlets at the start of the month.
33-year-old James Downey, Munster’s first-choice inside centre up until now, has been left out of the squad entirely. Elsewhere, Simon Zebo returns on the left wing, making up the back three with Keith Earls and Felix Jones.
Conor Murray, who helped Ireland to the Six Nations recently, has been recalled at scrum-half and forms a halfback pairing with Ian Keatley, who is preferred to JJ Hanrahan in the number 10 shirt.
In the front row, Dave Kilcoyne comes in at loosehead prop, while BJ Botha is back on the other side of the scrum, with Damien Varley continuing at hooker. Paul O’Connell returns in the second row, where he lines up alongside Dave Foley.
Captain Peter O’Mahony is welcomed back into the fold at blindside flanker, making up the back row with Tommy O’Donnell at openside and James Coughlan at No.8.
On the bench, the likes of James Cronin, CJ Stander, Hanrahan and South African wing Gerhard van den Heever offer Penney interesting options in the second half of the inter-provincial derby.
Stephen Archer pulled up with an injury in training yesterday, meaning 27-year-old tighthead prop Alan Cotter is also included as a replacement.
Munster (v Leinster): Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Paul O’ Connell; Peter O’Mahony (capt.), Tommy O’Donnell, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, James Cronin, Alan Cotter, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Gerhard van den Heever.