Munster head coach Anthony Foley has named his side to face Zebre in round 13 of the GUINNESS PRO12 in Parma on Saturday (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Irish time). The returning Keith Earls and James Cronin will be on bench duty.
Having successfully rehabbed a knee injury sustained at an Ireland training camp during pre-season, Keith Earls (pictured below) could make his first appearance of the season for Munster after being named among the replacements for this weekend’s clash in Italy.
Prop James Cronin could also feature from the bench after recovering from a shoulder injury sustained during the province’s European Champions Cup defeat to Clermont Auvergne at the start of December.
In total, Anthony Foley has made seven personnel changes to the team that started against Connacht in the New Year’s Day defeat in Galway.
In the front row Eusebio Guinazu makes his first start for the province, doing so at loosehead prop alongside hooker Kevin O’Byrne and tighthead Stephen Archer, both of whom come back into the starting line-up.
The return of Dave Foley to the second row will see Billy Holland wear the number 5 jersey this weekend, while, in the back row, number 8 CJ Stander is the only player to remain in place from the Sportsground loss. Dave O’Callaghan makes his first start since returning from injury at blindside with captain Peter O’Mahony moving to openside for the first time this season.
Conor Murray resumes his half-back partnership with Ian Keatley, and JJ Hanrahan and Pat Howard continue in midfield at inside and outside centre respectively.
There is just one personnel change in the back-three as Felix Jones come in at full-back. Simon Zebo reverts back to the left wing and Ronan O’Mahony features on the opposite flank.
The game at the Stadio XXV Aprile will be televised in Italy on Nuvolari TV and not broadcast on Irish or UK channels. You can follow live updates on the Munster Rugby Twitter page.
MUNSTER (v Zebre): Felix Jones; Ronan O’Mahony, Pat Howard, JJ Hanrahan, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Eusebio Guinazu, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Billy Holland, Dave O’Callaghan, Peter O’Mahony (capt), CJ Stander.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, James Cronin, John Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paddy Butler, Duncan Williams, Keith Earls, Johne Murphy.