Ireland internationals James Cronin, Tommy O’Donnell and Simon Zebo will line out for Munster in Cork this Friday with injury returnee Tyler Bleyendaal and new signing Jean Kleyn also included in Rassie Erasmus’ team to face Worcester Warriors at Irish Independent Park (kick-off 7pm).
As with the opening encounter of Kearys Renault Series in Waterford, Rassie Erasmus again names an extended squad of 29 with four emerging Academy talents in line to see some game-time. Friday’s match at 7pm marks the province’s final action before the commencement of the competitive season.
Off the back of last weekend’s 17-0 win over Zebre, James Cronin comes in to join Niall Scannell and John Ryan in the front row while, on the day he turns 23, South African Jean Kleyn makes his first Munster appearance in partnering captain Billy Holland in the second row.
Tommy O’Donnell joins the back row at openside flanker with Dave O’Callaghan and Jack O’Donoghue remaining in place at blindside and number 8 respectively.
Overcoming a quad injury that saw him make just five competitive appearances last season, Tyler Bleyendaal returns to partner Duncan Williams at half-back, while, in midfield, a new pairing sees Rory Scannell team up with Academy player Dan Goggin, the latter making his first senior start.
Last weekend’s try scorers, Darren Sweetnam and Ronan O’Mahony, remain on the wings with Simon Zebo taking charge at full-back.
A further three Academy talents – Brian Scott, Conor Oliver and Stephen Fitzgerald – are included on the bench with recent Academy graduate Alex Wootton set to win his first senior cap on Friday night.
Colm O’Shea, who started the game against Zebre, is also named on the bench and Munster can today confirm the former Leinster centre has signed a short-term three month contract with the province.
Meanwhile, on the injury front, hooker Mike Sherry has undergone a procedure on his back and will be sidelined for approximately three to four months.
Ticket prices: adults €;15, juniors €;7, family of two (1 adult and 1 junior) €;18 and family of four (2 adults and 2 juniors) €;30.
Tickets can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, by calling 061 421103, or at the ground on matchday.
MUNSTER (v Worcester Warriors): Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Ronan O’Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (capt), Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue.
Replacements: Duncan Casey, Peter McCabe, John Andress, Brian Scott, Darren O’Shea, Dave Foley, Conor Oliver, Robin Copeland, Tomas O’Leary, Ian Keatley, Alex Wootton, Cian Bohane, Colm O’Shea, Stephen Fitzgerald.