Bleyen­daal to lead Mun­ster on his re­turn

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - RUGBY - JOHN O’SUL­LI­VAN

Chee­tahs v Mun­ster Toy­ota Sta­dium, to­mor­row, 2.45pm, Eir Sport, Premier Sports

Tyler Bleyen­daal re­turns to the Mun­ster side for the first time in a lit­tle over eight months. His last game was against the Glas­gow War­riors at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

The New Zealan­der will cap­tain the side from in­side cen­tre with former Ire­land U-20 in­ter­na­tional Bill John­ston handed the num­ber 10 jer­sey in one of nine changes from last week’s side that squeezed past the Glas­gow War­riors.

Rory Scan­nell was his team’s saviour last week with a beau­ti­fully-struck long range penalty but he starts on the bench as Bleyen­daal is part­nered by Ire­land squad mem­ber Sammy Arnold, hap­pily re­cov­ered from the blow to the head that forced his early re­tire­ment from the War­riors game.

Ire­land Sevens in­ter­na­tional Shane Daly is named on the right wing with Alex Woot­ton, a try-scor­ing re­place­ment the last day lin­ing out on the other flank.

Kevin O’Byrne, Dar­ren O’Shea and Fi­neen Wy­cher­ley are given rare starts while academy prospects Sean O’Con­nor and Gavin Coombes are amongst the re­place­ments.

Tougher prospect

Mun­ster beat the Chee­tahs 38-0 in Thomond Park in the open­ing round of fix­tures in the tour­na­ment but will find this an al­to­gether tougher prospect for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, in­clud­ing the fact that the home side are no longer spread­ing them­selves across two tour­na­ments, the Pro14 and the Cur­rie Cup.

The Chee­tahs make a num­ber of changes to the side that beat Cardiff at the same venue last week.

The book­ies make Mun­ster two-point favourites but a vic­tory for the vis­i­tors given the com­par­a­tive teams and the venue would be a huge re­sult.

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