How they compare
Team News: There was a considerable boost to Munster morale yesterday when head coach Johann van Graan was able to name a trio of Ireland internationals in his backline as Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway, and Rory Scannell all proved their fitness.
Having vowed only to pick players who were 100% fit, Van Graan named Zebo at full-back following his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained against Edinburgh on March 16 while right wing Conway has not played since picking up a knee injury against Castres in January.
Scannell will start at inside centre.
There are six changes in total to the side that beat Scarlets 19-7 in the PRO14 last Saturday.
In addition to Zebo and Conway’s inclusion, Munster also welcome back Ireland’s Grand Slam winners Peter O’mahony, Conor Murray, and CJ Stander from Test duty and rotate tighthead props with Stephen Archer in for John Ryan, who reverts to the bench. O’donnell’s place at seven goes to Jack O’donoghue, who moves from last week’s starting position at blindside as he welcomes O’mahony and Stander to the back row.
Team News: Fabien Galthie has shuffled his pack in the wake of the 49-0 league drubbing of Clermont Auvergne last Sunday with only Argentine back rower Juan Fernandez Lobbe missing out through injury from a team showing five changes.
Club captain Duane Vermeulen has recovered from a shoulder injury and returns to the side in place of Lobbe, whose place at blindside is taken by France international Raphael Lakafia, with Facundo Isa remaining in place on the openside.
Lock Dave Attwood has a new second-row partner in Juandre Kruger, whose inclusion has forced Romain Taofifenua onto the bench.
There is a change at fly-half where Anthony Belleau makes w a y f o r F r a n c o i s Tr i n h - D u c , while in midfield Mathieu Bastareaud moves from inside to outside centre, sending one All Black, Malakai Fekitoa, to the bench and allowing for the return of another, Ma’a Nonu, at 12.
The back three is the only unchanged combination with Chris Ashton at full-back playing with wings Josua Tuisova and Semi Radradra.
Weighing in at a mere 93 kilogrammes, full-back Chris Ashton is a relative lightweight compared to his three-quarter colleagues, underline the defensive challenge facing Munster.
Only Munster full-back Simon Zebo, weighing in at 94kg, outweighs his opposite number in the respective outside backs with none of the home backs topping 100kg.
The physical mismatch in midfield is the most apparent where Rory Scannell (94kg) goes up against Ma’a Nonu (106kg) and at outside centre where Sammy Arnold (96kg) gives away 24kg to opposite number Bastareaud.
— Simon Lewis