Bleyen­daal re­turns to Mun­ster mid­field

The Rugby Paper - - Pro14 -

TYLER Bleyen­daal will cap­tain Mun­ster against the Chee­tahs in his first game for the Ir­ish prov­ince in nine months.

New Zealand-born Bleyen­daal, 28, has re­turned to ac­tion af­ter neck surgery and will lead a much-changed side.

Head coach Jo­hann van Graan has made nine changes from the win over Glas­gow with Bill John­ston and Fi­neen Wy­cher­ley mak­ing their first starts.

Nico Lee re­turns for the Chee­tahs, who are bot­tom of the PRO14’s Con­fer­ence A. The South African side’s hopes of clinch­ing a first vic­tory over Mun­ster in their fourth at­tempt have hit a set-back be­cause of an in­jury to No.8 Niell Jor­daan, with Ai­don Davis tak­ing his place.

Lee starts at No12, which has re­sulted in po­si­tional changes for Wil­liam Smal­lSmith and Rhyno Smith in a reshuf­fled back­line while Mal­colm Jaer drops out of the squad.

Bleyen­daal’s first ap­pear­ance for Mun­ster since last Fe­bru­ary will come at No.12 where he will part­ner Sam Arnold, with John­ston en­trusted with the fly-half berth.

Alex Woot­ton and academy wing Shane Daly join full-back Mike Ha­ley in the back three.

Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Archer are re­called to the front row while Dar­ren O’Shea, Arno Both and Wy­cher­ley are also handed starts in the Mun­ster pack.

Van Graan has in­cluded a fur­ther two academy play­ers – Sean O’Con­nor and Gavin Coombes – among his sub­sti­tutes as the Ir­ish prov­ince at­tempt to fur­ther re­duce Glas­gow’s lead at the top of the con­fer­ence ta­ble.

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