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Published: 12:24 | 21/4/17

Munster welcome back Stander


CJ Stander has been declared fit to return to the Munster starting XV for Saturday's European Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens, which is live on BT Sport.

Stander has been sidelined with an ankle injury since the win over Toulouse at the quarter-final stage but he has been named in the starting line-up, in one of five changes to the side that defeated Ulster in the Guinness PRO12 last weekend.

Simon Zebo is named at full-back and is joined in the back three by Keith Earls and the returning Andrew Conway, as Jaco Taute also makes a return to start alongside Rory Scannell in midfield.

Duncan Williams and Tyler Bleyendaal take their place in the half-backs.

Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan are retained in the front row with Donnacha Ryan and Billy Holland set to continue their second row partnership.

Stander returns to start at number eight and he is joined in the back row by Peter O'Mahony and Tommy O'Donnell.

Jean Deysel will make his Champions Cup debut if he is introduced from the bench, but there is no place in the matchday squad for Conor Murray as he continues to recover from the stinger injury he sustained in Ireland's RBS Six Nations defeat to Wales in March.

Meanwhile, Saracens have named a strong side for the game at the Aviva Stadium, including all six players who were included in the British and Irish Lions squad.

Munster (XV v Saracens): S Zebo; A Conway, J Taute, R Scannell, K Earls; T Bleyendaal, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan, D Ryan, B Holland, P O'Mahony, T O'Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements: R Marshall, J Cronin, S Archer, D O'Callaghan, J Deysel, I Keatley, F Saili, D Sweetnam. 

Saracens (XV v Munster): A Goode; C Ashton, M Bosch, B Barritt, S Maitland; O Farrell, R Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, J George, V Koch, M Itoje, G Kruis, M Rhodes, J Wray, B Vunipola.

Replacements: S Brits, T Lamositele, P Du Plessis, J Hamilton, S Burger, B Spencer, A Lozowski, C Wyles. 

Munster will face last year's winners Saracens in the European Champions Cup semi-final at the Aviva Stadium  on April 22 exclusively live on BT Sport, part of the eir Sport pack.

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