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It’s time to bounce back as Munster release their hungry Lions

AT this week’s press conference coach Rassie Erasmus spoke about the difficulty of trying to balance his selection each week between the vastly experienced and the eager understudies. Today he went for the ‘big boys’ as Munster set out their stall for their home game against Cardiff Blues in Thomond Park tomorrow, kick-off 1.30.
Conor Murray (pictured), skipper Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get stuck into this one and the six changes made from last Friday night’s starters will be expected to produce the goods.
The front row of Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan are all making their first starts of the season while Robin Copeland gets his first start, this time in the second-row alongside Billy Holland. The back-row of O’Donnell, O’Mahony and Stander looks particularly strong.
Ian Keatley returns at out-half and UL Bohemian player JJ Hanrahan looks set to mark his return to the Munster shirt in competitive fare after being named on the bench.
Shannon lock Sean McCarthy is included in his first matchday squad this season, while new arrival from Saracens, Mark Flanagan, could also make his Munster debut off the bench.
The Cardiff Blues kick-started their 2017-18 campaign with a hard-fought victory in Connacht last weekend and they have reshuffled their side for their latest trip to Ireland.
Four of those changes come alongside Roberts in the back line, with Blaine Scully returning from injury to captain the side and Tomos Willams and Jarrod Evans forming an exciting half-back partnership.
Up front, Matthew Rees returns to start at hooker, James Down and George Earle pack down at second-row and Olly Robinson steps up from the bench following an impressive debut last week.
Munster: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Jaco Taute, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Robin Copeland, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony – capt., Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Liam O’Connor, Stephen Archer, Mark Flanagan, Sean McCarthy, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Chris Farrell.
Roberts and Scully among eight changes for Munster clash
Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Blaine Scully (capt), Jack Roberts, Willis Halaholo, Tom James; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Matthew Rees, Taufa’ao Filise, George Earle, James Down, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Macauley Cook, Lloyd Williams, Steven Shingler, Matthew Morgan
Tickets can be purchased online at munsterrugby.ie, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park or at the ground on matchday from 9am.

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