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Munster Go With Cusack-Murray Combination

Munster Go With Cusack-Murray Combination

There is a decidedly fresh look to the Munster team for Saturday’s Magners League match against the Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park (kick-off 7.30pm).

The 21-year-old Conor Murray will make his first senior start for Munster alongside Declan Cusack, his 22-year-old Garryowen club-mate.

For his part, Cusack’s only other start for Munster was against Connacht last April. Also in the starting line-up of 22-year-old lock Ian Nagle and winger Simon Zebo, who will be 21 later this month.

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There is plenty of experience across the province’s starting line-up in the form of Doug Howlett and Paul Warwick in the backs, and the returning Marcus Horan and Denis Fogarty, stand-in captain Mick O’Driscoll, James Coughlan and Denis Leamy up front.

In all, head coach Tony McGahan has made seven changes in personnel to the team that defeated Aironi 20-10 last Sunday.

Horan and Fogarty join the 23-year-old Stephen Archer in the front row, with Leamy’s inclusion at number 8 seeing Coughlan switch to openside flanker and Tommy O’Donnell revert to the replacements.

There are four Ireland internationals on the selected bench, including Peter Stringer who saw action in the second half at Murrayfield last Sunday.

MUNSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Johne Murphy; Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Paul Warwick, Simon Zebo; Declan Cusack, Conor Murray; Marcus Horan, Denis Fogarty, Stephen Archer, Ian Nagle, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), Donnacha Ryan, James Coughlan, Denis Leamy.

Replacements: Damien Varley, Wian du Preez, Tony Buckley, Alan Quinlan, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter Stringer, Sam Tuitupou, Danny Barnes.