Sunday 23 October 2016

Munster motivated for O'Connell's finale

There can be no greater motivation for Munster than to see Paul O'Connell leave a winner once again.

Coach Anthony Foley has had to settle for one out of three - never a nice return - as Simon Zebo recovers from concussion to take his place against Glasgow in the PRO12 League final tonight.

Outside of O'Connell, Conor Murray (knee) and Peter O'Mahony (hip) are the two men Munster can least afford to be without.

Nevertheless, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will have a keen eye on how Donnacha Ryan adapts to life as a blindside in place of O'Mahony.

While Munster have to cope without two-thirds of the three injured in the semi-final, they also have to deal with the loss of two-thirds of their back row as Tommy O'Donnell has been ruled out.

The weight of responsibility is doubled on number eight CJ Stander and the impressive Paddy Butler with Ryan set to show his versatility.

Springbok tight-head BJ Botha will become a Munster centurion as he rotates into the starting line-up.

It is almost all change for Glasgow up front as they make five amendments with front rowers Gordon Reid and Dougie Hall, lock Leone Nakarawa and flankers Rob Harley and Ryan Wilson transforming them.

Glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, R Vernon, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; F Russell, H Pyrgos; G Reid, D Hall, R de Klerk, L Nakarawa, J Gray, R Harley, R Wilson, J Strauss (capt).

Munster: F Jones; K Earls, A Smith, D Hurley (capt), S Zebo; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, E Guinazu, BJ Botha, B Holland, P O'Connell, D Ryan, P Butler, CJ Stander.

VERDICT: Munster


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