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Ireland international defies injury doubts to return for Munster

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony will lead the Irish province out against Premiership leaders Exeter on Saturday.

A rib injury sustained in the 41-15 victory over Gloucester last week looked likely to rule him out of the final round of the Champions Cup pool stage, but a fast recovery has aided O’Mahony’s return to the starting XV.

The 52-capped talisman will now start in the back row with CJ Stander and Tommy O’Donnell, with head coach Johann van Graan hoping his leadership qualities can lead Munster to victory.

John Ryan’s replacement of Stephen Archer in the front row is the only change that van Graan has made to the side that beat Gloucester.

Conor Murray will make his 50th Champions Cup appearance for Munster and will continue to build on his half-back partnership with Joey Carbery alongside him.

Munster need a win or a draw to top the pool, but Exeter will be keen to translate their Premiership form into European success.

If Exeter are able to win with a try bonus point, Munster would need to make sure that they earn two losing points by scoring at least four tries and losing by less than seven.

Exeter: 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Nic White; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Jack Yeandle (capt), 3 Harry Williams, 4 Dave Dennis, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Sam Skinner, 7 Don Armand, 8 Matt Kvesic.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Sean Lonsdale, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Ian Whitten.

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Joey Carbery, 9  Conor Murray; 1 Dave Kilcoyne, 2 Niall Scannell, 3 John Ryan, 4 Jean Kleyn, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 6 Peter O’Mahony (capt), 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 8 CJ Stander.

Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Dan Goggin.


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