RaboDirect PRO12: Munster host Cardiff on Saturday as Scarlets travel to Treviso
Last Updated: 07/02/14 3:39pm
Simon Zebo: Has recovered from a foot injury and will start for Munster
Simon Zebo comes in at full-back for Munster to make his first start for the Irish province since October when they take on Cardiff on Saturday evening.
The Ireland international has been laid low with a foot injury, but is one of nine changes for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash at Thomond Park.
South African flyer Gerhard van den Heever and back row forward Barry O'Mahony start their first home games for Munster, while Duncan Williams and JJ Hanrahan return to form the half-back combination.
Sean Dougall and Cathal Sheridan are included on the replacements bench after recovering from recent knocks with Ian Keatley in the squad after featuring for the Irish Wolfhounds two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, loosehead prop Sam Hobbs is restored to the Blues starting XV and will captain a Cardiff side that shows eight changes to the one that beat Harlequins in the LV= Cup last time out.
Lock Chris Dicomidis is back to join Filo Paulo in the second row, while Robin Copeland returns from Ireland training to start at number eight against the team he will join this summer.
"Saturday is a massive game for us," Dicomidis stated. "The boys are really looking forward to the challenge. It's the start of a massive period for us now, four big games in the Rabo and we need to climb up that table."
Scarlets head to Italy
In Saturday's earlier game, the Scarlets travel to Treviso and are bolstered by the return of several key international forwards.
Wales flanker Josh Turnbull and Scotland counterpart John Barclay are bothy welcomed back to strengthen the back row, whilst Turnbull's international colleagues Emyr Phillips and Samson Lee are named on the replacements bench.
Treviso are back in action after a three-week break and coach Marius Goosen has rung the changes following their Heineken Cup loss to Montpellier.
Amongst them are Mat Berquist's selection at full-back ahead of Italy international Luke McLean and Corniel Van Zyl replacing Marco Fuser at lock.