Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has named the Munster team that will face Dragons at Irish Independent Park on Friday in what may be his final game in charge (kick-off 7.35pm).
Billy Holland captains the side and is set to make his 170th appearance for the province having started all nine of Munster’s matches so far this season, across the GUINNESS PRO14 and the Champions Cup.
Simon Zebo is named at full-back with new signing Chris Cloete making his debut in the back row, while Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell and Ian Keatley are all in the matchday 23 having been released from Ireland camp.
In all, there are 10 changes to the team that lost to Connacht last week. JJ Hanrahan and Duncan Williams make up the half-back pairing with Sweetnam and Alex Wootton, Munster’s top try scorer this term with five tries, on the wings. Rory Scannell and Farrell continue as the starting centres.
Rhys Marshall keeps his place at hooker with Greencore Academy player Liam O’Connor and tighthead Stephen Archer on either side of the New Zealander. Jean Kleyn comes in to partner Holland in the engine room as Rassie Erasmus names an exciting back row trio of Jack O’Donoghue, Cloete and number 8 Robin Copeland.
Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin and Brian Scott provide the front row cover with Cronin and Scott set for their second appearances of the season. Darren O’Shea is in line for his first senior appearance of the campaign with on-loan Mark Flanagan completing the forward cover.
James Hart, Keatley and Sam Arnold, who is also poised for his first senior appearance of the season in Munster red, are the back-line replacements for the round 8 date with the Welshmen.
Please note that there are only a small number of seats available in the West Stand for the Munster v Dragons match. Tickets are available to buy online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket office (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday), and the mobile Ticket unit (Dolphin end) from 4pm on match day.
Ticket prices are as follows: adult stand – €;30 (unreserved seating), junior stand – €;10 (unreserved seating), adult terrace – €;20, junior terrace – €;7, family pack terrace – €;40 (two adults & two juniors).
MUNSTER (v Dragons): Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Duncan Williams; Liam O’Connor, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Brian Scott, Darren O’Shea, Mark Flanagan, James Hart, Ian Keatley, Sam Arnold.