Penney makes seven changes ahead of Sarries showdown

Munster head coach Rob Penney has made seven changes to his starting XV from the side that took the field against Edinburgh in Round 2 for tomorrow’s Heineken Cup showdown with Saracens at Thomond Park (6pm).

Two of those changes are positional while three who start tomorrow, James Coughlan, Ronan O'Gara and Keith Earls were forced to miss the Edinburgh clash through injury.

Felix Jones came on as a replacement against the Scottish outfit on his return from injury and finds himself back in the starting team wearing number 15 for tomorrow’s encounter.

Earls returned to his familiar outside centre role last week after the November internationals and he retains that jersey at the expense of Casey Laulala who offers a very potent back option from the bench.

James Downey will line up alongside Earls in midfield with captain Doug Howlett and Conor Murray completing the back line.

Dave Kilcoyne will be looking to continue the good form which earned him his first Irish cap over the autumn series. He starts in the front row with Mike Sherry and BJ Botha.

With Paul O’Connell sidelined through injury, his old partner Donncha O’Callaghan will pair up with Donnacha Ryan in the second-row.

Back-rowers Niall Ronan, Sean Dougall, and Tommy O'Donnell are all on the injured list,meaning a rare opportunity to impress in European rugby for Dave O'Callaghan who has been handed the number 6 shirt in what will be his first Heineken Cup start.

O'Callaghan a 22-year-old Development contracted player from Youghal came on as a replacement in the final Pool game last season against Northampton Saints and this season has been a regular in the number 6 shirt, starting in seven of the Rabo games and earning a place on the bench for the Racing Metro and Edinburgh fixtures.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; R O'Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, D Ryan; Dave O'Callaghan, P O'Mahony, J Coughlan.

Replacements: D Varley, W du Preez, S Archer, B Holland, P Butler, D Williams, I Keatley, C Laulala.

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