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Nine Newcomers To Start Munster’s Pre-Season Opener

Nine Newcomers To Start Munster’s Pre-Season Opener

Munster head coach Anthony Foley has named his team to face Grenoble at Thomond Park on Friday (kick-off 7pm). He has chosen a blend of senior, Academy, Sub Academy and club talent for the first game of the Kearys Renault Series.

In total nine players are in line to make their first senior appearances for Munster as Foley experiments with his options for the upcoming season, while as many as five players return having completed their return-to-play rehab over the course of pre-season

An all-senior front row sees John Ryan and BJ Botha start on either side of Niall Scannell, with Academy lock John Madigan and the returning Dave Foley (wrist) completing the tight five.

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Shane Buckley and Robin Copeland have both recovered from their respective shoulder injuries to take their places in the back row on the blindside flank and at number 8 respectively. New signing and former Leinster youngster Jordan Coghlan starts at openside.

The half-back partnership of Cathal Sheridan and the fit-again Tyler Bleyendaal (neck) sees the former New Zealand Under-20 captain make his long-awaited senior debut for the province.

Matt D’Arcy, last year’s season’s Ulster Bank League Division 1A Player of the Year, is another making his first appearance in the red jersey. The centre is joined in the midfield by Cian Bohane who completes his long road to recovery following a serious knee injury sustained during pre-season last year.

Gerhard van den Heever has also rehabbed his knee injury and starts on the left wing with Darren Sweetnam on the opposite flank in a back-three completed by Academy full-back David Johnston who makes his first start for the senior side.

It will be a proud day for the Johnston family as David’s younger brother Bill (Sub Academy) provide cover on the bench. The young out-half was instrumental in Rockwell’s Munster Schools Senior Cup success last season and is one of six replacements in line to make their senior bows for the province – Peter McCabe (senior), Rory Burke (Academy), Conor Oliver (Academy), Diarmaid McCarthy (Young Munster) and Steve McMahon (Academy).

Donncha O’Callaghan, Kevin O’Byrne, Sean McCarthy (Academy), Ryan Foley (Academy) and Ned Hodson (Academy) complete an extended matchday squad of 26.

After the game, all spectators are invited to join the Munster players at a post-match BBQ in the Fan Zone Plaza where they will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for pictures. (Match ticket covers entry but not food.)

Match tickets can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park, or by calling 0818 719 300.

On the injury front, Denis Hurley, who picked up an ankle injury at Monday’s training session at UL, will undergo further review after the weekend once the swelling subsides.

MUNSTER (v Grenoble): David Johnston; Darren Sweetnam, Cian Bohane, Matt D’Arcy, Gerhard van den Heever; Tyler Bleyendaal, Cathal Sheridan (capt); John Ryan, Niall Scannell, BJ Botha, John Madigan, Dave Foley, Shane Buckley, Jordan Coghlan, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Peter McCabe, Rory Burke, Donncha O’Callaghan, Sean McCarthy, Ryan Foley, Bill Johnston, Diarmaid McCarthy, Conor Oliver, Ned Hodson, Steve McMahon.