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Mix Of Experience And Youth For Munster ‘A’

Mix Of Experience And Youth For Munster ‘A’

Ian Costello’s Munster ‘A’ squad are on their travels this weekend for the first of their crucial back-to-back British & Irish Cup games with Rotherham Titans.

And while the selected Munster ‘A’ squad is bristling with experience in the form of Denis Hurley, Johne Murphy, Luke O’Dea, Danny Barnes, Scott Deasy, Christy Condon, Dave Foley and Ian Nagle, there are several players such as Ryan Murphy, Jack O’Donoghue and Brian Slater who are completely new to this level of rugby.

Academy back rower O’Donoghue from Waterford and Dolphin scrum half Slater are both named on a bench that includes Deasy, who will provide back-up to starting out-half JJ Hanrahan.

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First year Academy back rower Murphy, another Dolphin clubman is a former Ireland Schools and Under-19 international and most recently made his first ‘A’ interprovincial appearance against Leinster.

Munster ‘A’ head coach Ian Costello is well aware of the task they face on Saturday, saying: “Look, Rotherham are a good Championship side. We played Plymouth and found it very very tough to break them down over there.

“So to travel to Rotherham, it’s going to be similar. On paper they (Rotherham) are stronger (than Plymouth). They put 50 points on them and we struggled to beat them.

“It was a very tough close game. So from our point of view it’s going to be a very big challenge.”

Speaking of the mix of youth and experience in the panel, Costello continued: “There are quite a few back row injuries so we’re lacking a bit of experience there.

“But, on the other side of the coin, we have some very exciting young players from our Academy that are going to come in and get an opportunity this week. So it’ll great to see how they get on with that challenge.

“We’ve managed to get a look at a few of Rotherham’s games. What we do is let the lads themselves do the analysis, look at various aspects of the opposition’s game.

“From what we’ve seen, they’re a very good side but we’ll have our homework done and hopefully be well prepared come Saturday.”

Saturday’s encounter kicks off at 2pm at Clifton Lane. Both Rotherham and the Titans are unbeaten after two opening wins each, with the Titans’ bonus point against Plymouth (59-26) putting them a point clear at the top of Pool 7.

MUNSTER (v Rotherham Titans): Denis Hurley; Luke O’Dea, Danny Barnes, Ivan Dineen, Johne Murphy; JJ Hanrahan, Cathal Sheridan; James Cronin, Sean Henry, John Ryan, David Foley, Ian Nagle, Brian Hayes, Ryan Murphy, Shane Buckley.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, Christy Condon, Philip Donnellan, Jack O’Donoghue, Brian Slater, Scott Deasy, Ronan O’Mahony.