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Williams Set For 150th Munster Match As Goggin Returns From Injury

Williams Set For 150th Munster Match As Goggin Returns From Injury

The Munster team to face Zebre at Thomond Park in Friday’s GUINNESS PRO14 fixture (kick-off 7.35pm) has been named by head coach Johann van Graan.

There are 12 changes to the Munster side that overcame Castres Olympique 48-3 in the Champions Cup last time out, with captain Billy Holland retained in the second row along with Simon Zebo and Jean Kleyn.

Scrum half Duncan Williams makes his 150th Munster appearance and is partnered at half-back by JJ Hanrahan. Seventeen of the 23-man squad are products of the Munster system with all but two of the squad Irish-qualified.

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The back three is made up of Zebo, Darren Sweetnam and Alex Wootton, the province’s top try scorer so far this season with seven tries. Dan Goggin comes in for his first start of the season after recovering from a knee injury, and Sam Arnold is also back for his first appearance since New Year’s Day.

James Cronin returns from international duty to start at loosehead prop with Niall Scannell at hooker and Brian Scott the starting tighthead. Skipper Holland is named in the second row alongside Kleyn, while Jack O’Donoghue, who has been training with the Ireland squad this week, Conor Oliver and Robin Copeland make up the back row.

John Ryan is named among the replacements having helped Ireland to a dramatic win over France last Saturday, and Ian Keatley and Rory Scannell, who were also part of the extended Ireland squad for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations, are also back on provincial duty.

Gerbrandt Grobler and John Poland are both in line to make their GUINNESS PRO14 debuts off the bench with Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman and Dave O’Callaghan completing the bench options. O’Callaghan features in a Munster matchday squad for the first time this season having recovered from a knee injury sustained last April.

MUNSTER (v Zebre): Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Sam Arnold, Dan Goggin, Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, Brian Scott, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, Conor Oliver, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, John Ryan, Gerbrandt Grobler, Dave O’Callaghan, John Poland, Ian Keatley, Rory Scannell.