Limerick Rugby
Don't Miss

Munster name their side for opening game in Cardiff

(Pictured: Jack O’Donoghue will skipper the Munster side once again)

MUNSTER have named their matchday squad for to-morrow’s opening competitive fixture of the season against Cardiff. It is a mix of the experienced and those who are on the brink of continuous match time at this high level. The youthful starting prop combination of Josh Wycherley and Keynan Knox have earned their call-up.

Stepping into the first round of a lengthy United Rugby Championship the Irish province will be fired up with renewed hope and courageous optimism. Their new coaching team, however, have had only limited opportunity to piece together their best combination and after losing their two opening friendlies in Musgrave Park, the Reds face a tough task.

Facing the media this week, coach Denis Leamy was not making any promises: “It’s an honour to be back with Munster and it is also very exciting. Leo (Cullen) fully understood my wish to leave Leinster and it is good to relocate with people that I know as well as settling in here with my family.”

Denis has been impressed with what he has seen on the training pitch over the past few weeks: “Pre-season always gives coaches a chance to see the young talent in the squad and in this short time here I have learned a lot about our squad. We had 50 players on the pitch on some occasions during the sessions and these young guys are the future of the province.

“The change of date for Saturday’s game did not really throw us out. We were travelling out anyway on Friday. Cardiff play fast and attractive rugby and this is a difficult fixture for us. We are only together for a few weeks and it might take us a little bit of time to gel. It’s a big challenge for us, we have only been together 4/5 weeks but we will be prepared. We have been focussing on speed in training and how the players can perform under fatigue. Defence coach is an area I really enjoy, I am passionate about and I hope we will see the benefit after Christmas.”

As the conversation drifted into the area of props, Josh Wycherley batted the questions with the skill of a test player: “There is always improvement to be done no matter what position you play on the field,” the Corkman said. “I am enjoying the way the new coaching staff are introducing the changes. We are training at a faster pace, at a different tempo and I enjoy that. Consistency is the target week by week, push on to be competitive and it’s all about the ‘now.’

“I enjoyed the run-outs I got in the pre-season games and this week-end is a big one for us. Cardiff are a good side and they are always difficult to beat on their home ground.”

Cardiff Rugby Director Of Rugby said: “Our new signings have been fantastic. You can see their obvious quality in and around training and the fact that they have played in other top level environments. They will bring a something a little bit different both on and off the pitch. We’ve been really pleased with what they have shown us so far and it would be great for them to really show what they can do in a Cardiff jersey come Saturday.”

Cardiff Rugby: Liam Williams; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Rhys Carré, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, Josh Turnbull (c), Seb Davies, James Botham, Thomas Young, Taulupe Faletau Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Barratt, Dmitri Arhip, Matthew Screech, Lopeti Timani, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, Uilisi Halaholo

Munster: Shane Daly, Calvin Nash, Chris Farrell, Malakai Fekitoa, Liam Coombes, Ben Healy, Paddy Patterson, Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell, Keynan Knox, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue (c), Alex Kendellen, Jack O’Sullivan. Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Dave Kilcoyne, Roman Salanoa, Tom Ahern, John Hodnett, Neil Cronin, Jack Crowley, Rory Scannell

Cardiff Rugby v Munster,Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff – KO 15.05 IRE & UK/16.05 ITA and SA
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU, 63rd league game)
AR 1: Ben Breakspear (WRU) AR 2: Mike English (WRU)
TMO: Sam Grove-White (SRU)
Live on: BBC Wales, RTÉ, Premier Sports, SuperSport &

You must be logged in to post a comment Login