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Keatley To Win 100th Munster Cap Against Dragons

Keatley To Win 100th Munster Cap Against Dragons

Munster head coach Anthony Foley has named his team to face the Newport Gwent Dragons at Irish Independent Park on Saturday (kick-off 3pm), with Ian Keatley set to win his 100th cap for the province and Paul O’Connell lining out in Cork for the first time this season.

It has been confirmed that Tommy O’Donnell sustained a torn hamstring during last Saturday’s game against Ulster. he is expected to be sidelined for approximately six to eight weeks.

Simon Zebo is another player ruled out of the round 22 fixture after failing to recover fully from back spasms, however, the winger is expected to make a return to full training next week after further rest.

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Duncan Casey and Peter O’Mahony were late withdrawals from this week’s squad preparations with the hooker reporting mild back pain and the squad captain picking up a knock in training yesterday. Both players are expected to take a full part in next week’s programme.

In total, there are five personnel changes to the side that drew 23-23 away to Ulster last weekend with centre Denis Hurley named as captain for the sixth time this season.

John Ryan and BJ Botha come into the front row, either side of Argentinian Eusebio Guinazu (pictured below), and with Donnacha Ryan making the switch to blindside flanker, Billy Holland returns to the starting line-up alongside Paul O’Connell in the second row.

This will be the first time that O’Connell has played at the redeveloped ground. Coincidentally, the last time the Ireland skipper played in Cork was also against the Newport Gwent Dragons back in September 2013.

Ryan is joined in the back row by Paddy Butler at openside flanker and last weekend’s man-of-the-match CJ Stander, who continues at number 8.

Conor Murray and Ian Keatley, who wins his 100th Munster cap, remain at half-back, as do Hurley and Andrew Smith in midfield, while the only change in the back-line sees Ronan O’Mahony join the back-three alongside Keith Earls and Felix Jones.

Join Munster on the #HomeRun from just €;20 for adults, while great value family terrace packs are available from €;40. Purchase tickets online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 0818 719300.

Tickets will also be on sale at the ground on Saturday morning at 10am from the Dolphin gate, and from 1.30pm at the Sunday’s Well gate.

MUNSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley (capt), Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; John Ryan, Eusebio Guinazu, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Butler, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Sean Dougall, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Andrew Conway.