Bleyendaal returns to Munster midfield
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.