Dave Foley will captain a strong Munster ‘A’ team as head coach Peter Malone makes wholesale changes for Saturday’s British & Irish Cup round 3 clash with Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane (kick-off 2pm).
Aside from Darren O’Shea, David Johnston and Academy talents Vincent O’Brien and Sean O’Connor, Peter Malone has named a new-look Munster ‘A’ side as they chase their first win of the campaign following an opening round loss to reigning champions London Welsh at Midleton RFC.
Sam Arnold, Te Aihe Toma, Robin Copeland, Cork Constitution’s Evan Mintern and Young Munster’s Dan Walsh are all set to make their British & Irish Cup debuts for Munster ‘A’.
Returning from a pectoral injury sustained in Munster’s win over the Maori All Blacks, James Cronin joins the Academy duo of Vincent O’Brien and Brian Scott in the front row.
Dave Foley will captain the province from the second row where he comes in to partner O’Shea, and with O’Connor retaining his starting place at blindside flanker, Walsh and Copeland complete the back row.
Academy play-maker Bill Johnston, in joining his brother in the starting line-up, makes his first provincial appearance since overcoming the shoulder injury he sustained at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship last June. He forms a brand new half-back partnership with New Zealander Toma.
A new pairing is also seen in midfield where Arnold and David Johnston start together, with a back-three of Academy wingers Greg O’Shea and Calvin Nash and full back Alex Wootton completing the starting line-up.
Meanwhile, Sunday, December 18 gives Munster fans in and around Clare the chance to cheer on Munster ‘A’ when they bring the return Rotherham Titans fixture to Ennis RFC (kick-off 2pm). Tickets can be bought at the ground on matchday, while entry is free for all Munster Rugby Supporters Club members and Ten-Year Ticket holders.
MUNSTER ‘A’ (v Rotherham Titans): Alex Wootton; Calvin Nash, David Johnston, Sam Arnold, Greg O’Shea; Bill Johnston, Te Aihe Toma; James Cronin, Vincent O’Brien, Brian Scott, Dave Foley (capt), Darren O’Shea; Sean O’Connor, Dan Walsh, Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Liam O’Connor, Peter McCabe, John Madigan, Evan Mintern, Steven McMahon, Steve Crosbie, Cian Bohane.