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O’Connell Leads Youthful Munster Team

O’Connell Leads Youthful Munster Team

Munster play their final game of the season on Friday at Stade XXV Aprile (kick-off 7.45pm local time/6.45pm Irish time) against Italian side Zebre, who are looking to finish their season on a high by claiming that elusive first ever win in the RaboDirect PRO12.

Munster, who have not won an away game in the league in 2013, have named a side that includes 2013 Lions tourist Paul O’Connell and Heineken Cup semi-final try scorer Denis Hurley.

The fit-again Sean Dougall returns to the Munster starting line-up for the first time since March and is joined by David O’Callaghan and Paddy Butler in the back row.

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The versatile Ian Keatley joins Casey Laulala in forming what is likely to be a lively centre pairing, while JJ Hanrahan and Cathal Sheridan join forces at half-back.

Academy player Ronan O’Mahony gets his second PRO12 start on the right wing with Academy prop James Cronin named in the replacements for a possible second outing at this level. Potential debutant Cian Bohane is also listed on the bench.

Friday’s round 22 clash will be broadcast only on Italian channel SportItalia 2, with no coverage in Ireland. Munster Rugby are planning to tweet live updates here.

Meanwhile, for the third successive year, London Irish will provide the opposition for Munster in their pre-season programme.

The game is to take place over the weekend of August 30-31 with the exact date and venue yet to be confirmed. Munster are actively pursuing other opportunites for pre-season fixtures.

MUNSTER (v Zebre): Denis Hurley; Ronan O’Mahony, Casey Laulala, Ian Keatley, Johne Murphy; JJ Hanrahan, Cathal Sheridan; David Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Paul O’Connell (capt), David O’Callaghan, Sean Dougall, Paddy Butler.

Replacements: Damien Varley, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Ian Nagle, Niall Ronan, Duncan Williams, Cian Bohane, Felix Jones.