Munster star O'Connell returns to face Connacht

Head coach Rob Penney has made nine changes for tomorrow's Sportsground showdown against Connacht at 6.15pm.

With four changes to the pack Paul O'Connell returns this week joining Donncha O'Callaghan in the second row.

Dave Kilcoyne and Damien Varley start in the front row with John Ryan making the positional switch to tight-head.

Paddy Butler takes the place of James Coughlan in the back-row as Varley takes over the captaincy duties.

Duncan Williams teams up with Ian Keatley at half-back, while Denis Hurley, Johne Murphy and Andrew Conway all join James Downey and Gerhard van den Heever in the backline.

In the replacements, Munster are bolstered by the addition of BJ Botha who limped off last weekend with a mild ankle injury, and following a week of rest and rehabilitation the prop could make his 70th appearance for the province.

JJ Hanrahan who was ruled out earlier in the week met with the specialist and it was confirmed he sustained a moderate groin tear.

The plan going forward is for JJ to progress with rehab and he will continue to be monitored by the medical staff on a daily basis.

Munster: Denis Hurley; Gerhard van den Heever, Johne Murphy, James Downey, Andrew Conway; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, John Ryan; Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell; CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, Paddy Butler.

Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Alan Cotter, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell, Gerry Hurley, Conor Murray, Ronan O'Mahony.

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