Limerick Rugby
Don't Miss

Injured trio’s return a welcome boost for Munster as they face the might of Toulon

(O’Connell: It says it in the eyes. Munster will dip into the ‘traditional spirit’ again tomorrow)
By Aidan Corr
IT must have been a difficult week for head coach Johaan Graan facing the biggest game of the season and a list of injuries as long as an undertaker’s overcoat. As the white smoke billowed with the news of the Munster matchday squad, we got a better picture of the situation. It has turned out that three of those listed as doubtful are now fit and ready to go with Zebo, Conway and Rory Scannell all named in the starting fifteen. That gives Munster a major boost and they will run out against Toulon in Thomond Park with a badly needed injection of positivity.
Listening to Johaan Graan at the press day last Monday, the picture looked bleak. The team named today is as good as they could hope for and apart from Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Tyler Bleyendaal and Tommy O’Donnell this is a fifteen that could be regarded as full-strength.
There are six changes to the side that beat Scarlets 19-7 in the Guinness PRO14 last Saturday.
Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway are both back from injury having come through training this week with Stephen Archer and Grand Slam winners Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray and CJ Stander also returning to the side.
Zebo starts at full-back with Conway and Alex Wootton, Munster’s top try-scorer so far this season, on the flanks.
Rory Scannell, who has played every minute of Munster’s European campaign so far, continues his centre partnership with the impressive Sammy Arnold.
EPCR European Player of the Year nominee Conor Murray starts at scrum-half as Ian Keatley, who scored 61 points in six Pool games, takes the 10 shirt.
Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall and Archer get the nod in the front row as the ever-reliable Billy Holland and Jean Kleyn team up in the engine room.
Captain O’Mahony and CJ Stander come into the back row after their international exploits with no.8 Stander another man to have played all 480 minutes of the European campaign so far.
Jack O’Donoghue keeps his place in the team after an excellent performance against Scarlets with the Waterford man moving from blindside to openside flanker.
The all-international trio of Niall Scannell, James Cronin and John Ryan make up the front row cover.
Having faced Munster as Racing 92 players in last season’s Champions Cup, James Hart and Gerbrandt Grobler are in line to make their European bows for Munster off the bench. Last week’s Man of the Match Robin Copeland, JJ Hanrahan and Darren Sweetnam complete the replacements.
Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, James Cronin, John Ryan, Gerbrandt Grobler, Robin Copeland, James Hart, JJ Hanrahan, Darren Sweetnam.
Kick-off on Saturday in this European Champions Cup quarter final clash is 3.15.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login