As the competitive season gets underway, Munster head coach Anthony Foley has named his team to face Benetton Treviso in round 1 of the GUINNESS PRO12 at Irish Independent on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).
Following impressive performances across the past ten weeks, both on the training field and in Munster’s pre-season friendlies, John Madigan, David Johnston and Shane Monahan will make their competitive debuts for the province, with New Zealander Tyler Bleyendaal another in line to do so after being named among the replacements.
Suffering no ill-effects from recent outings against Connacht and London Irish, hooker Mike Sherry makes a welcome return to PRO12 action for the first time since November 2013. He is joined in the front row by James Cronin and BJ Botha.
A contrast in milestones in the second row sees Academy member Madigan win his first Munster cap, partnering Dave Foley who wins his 50th cap since making his league debut against Connacht in April 2010.
CJ Stander will again captain the side from the back of the scrum at number 8, with Dave O’Callaghan and Jack O’Donoghue completing the pack at blindside and openside flanker respectively.
Duncan Williams and Ian Keatley form the half-back partnership while Rory Scannell is paired with his Academy colleague and debutant Johnston (pictured above) in the centre. Felix Jones makes his first provincial appearance of the season at full-back with new cap Monahan and Andrew Conway taking charge of the flanks.
Successful rehabilitation of a groin strain sustained against Grenoble in recent weeks allows Bleyendaal to take his place on the bench, while Cian Bohane is also included after rehabbing a knee injury that kept him sidelined for the past season.
Match tickets start from €;15 for adults with great value family packs for €;30 (2 adults & 2 kids). Tickets can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 0818 719 300.
MUNSTER (v Benetton Treviso): Felix Jones; Andrew Conway, David Johnston, Rory Scannell, Shane Monahan; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Mike Sherry, BJ Botha, John Madigan, Dave Foley, Dave O’Callaghan, Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander (capt).
Replacements: Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Stephen Archer, Robin Copeland, Shane Buckley, Cathal Sheridan, Tyler Bleyendaal, Cian Bohane.