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Munster Duo Return From International Duty

Munster Duo Return From International Duty

Head coach Anthony Foley has named a much-changed Munster team to face the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday (kick-off 7.30pm).

There are seven changes to the Munster side that lined out against Cardiff Blues at the start of the month, Anthony Foley also makes two positional switches with one notable move seeing JJ Hanrahan start at full-back.

In the replacements, South Africa newcomer Pat Howard is in line to make his Munster debut and Dave O’Callaghan is named in his first matchday 23 since last February after successfully rehabbing a knee injury.

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With two changes to the front five, hooker Eusebio Guinazu makes his first start for the province while Stephen Archer takes the place of BJ Botha at tighthead prop.

Fresh from making his Ireland debut against Georgia last Sunday, returning international Robin Copeland is named at number 8. Paddy Butler, a try scorer against Cardiff, moves to blindside flanker with Sean Dougall starting at openside.

After making his third appearance for Ireland last weekend, Ian Keatley is also released back to the province – he is partnered at half-back by Cathal Sheridan.

Denis Hurley renews his centre partnership with Andrew Smith and the wing berths are filled by Ronan O’Mahony and Andrew Conway, with Hanrahan wearing the number 15 jersey for the first time.

On the injury front, flanker Barry O’Mahony, who was stretchered off from training on Monday afternoon, underwent surgery on his right ankle in Dublin yesterday. He has been ruled out for the immediate future.

MUNSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): JJ Hanrahan; Andrew Conway, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley, Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Cathal Sheridan; John Ryan, Eusebio Guinazu, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan (capt), Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Sean Dougall, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, Alan Cotter, BJ Botha, Dave O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, Pat Howard, Johne Murphy.