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Munster name side for Friday’s opening game

(Stephen Fitzgerald starts at full-back)
DIRECTOR of rugby Johann Erasmus will get his first taste of Munster rugby action this Friday night in Waterford and has named his side that will face Zebre in Round 1 of the 2016 Kearys Renault Series, kick-off 7pm.
An all-senior tight five sees John Ryan, Niall Scannell and Stephen Archer make up the front row with recent academy graduate and injury returnee John Madigan (knee) starting alongside captain Billy Holland in the second row.
Dave O’Callaghan and academy flanker Conor Oliver join O’Donoghue in completing the pack.
Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley form the first half-back partnership of the new season with Clontarf clubman and former Leinster centre Colm O’Shea joining Cian Bohane in the midfield. O’Shea has trained with the squad in preseason having previously lined out for Ireland against the Barbarians at Thomond Park in June 2015.
Ronan O’Mahony and Darren Sweetnam take charge of the flanks with academy member Stephen Fitzgerald completing the back three. The academy full-back’s younger brother, sub academy out half Conor, is also included in the matchday side, making the Fitzgerald’s the third set of brothers to win representation with the senior side in the past year, alongside the Scannells (Rory and Niall) and Johnstons (David and Bill).
There’s a youthful look to the replacements with the named trio of Gavin Coombes, Calvin Nash of Young Munster and Shannon’s Stephen Fitzgerald only receiving their Leaving Cert results today.
In total there are six academy players with new recruits, backrow Coombes and centre/wing Nash, joining Brian Scott, Ollie Lyons and Dan Goggin in looking to make their first senior appearance for the province.
Additionally it’s a first squad inclusion for experienced tighthead John Andress and lock Darren O’Shea, while Cork Con scrumhalf John Poland is named in his first senior representative side.
Munster: Stephen Fitzgerald; Darren Sweetnam, Cian Bohane, Colm O’Shea, Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; John Madigan, Billy Holland (capt.), Dave O’Callaghan, Conor Oliver, Jack O’Donoghue.
Replacements from: Kevin O’Byrne, Peter McCabe, John Andress, Brian Scott, Darren O’Shea, Dave Foley, Ollie Lyons, Gavin Coombes, John Poland, Conor Fitzgerald, Dan Goggin, David Johnston, Calvin Nash, Steven McMahon.
Tickets (call 061 421103) can be purchased at the ground on matchday or from Prices from: Adults €15, Juniors €7, Family of 2 (1 Adult 1 Junior) €18, Family of 4 (2 Adult 2 Junior) €30.

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