Munster head coach Johann van Graan has named an extended 30-man squad for Friday night’s encounter with London Irish at Irish Independent Park in the Kearys Renault Series (kick-off 7.30pm).
Ireland international Tommy O’Donnell, who is back to full fitness following his shoulder injury in the spring, will captain Munster for the first time since leading the province to a famous win over the Maori All Blacks in November 2016.
Stephen Fitzgerald starts at full-back with Calvin Nash and Darren Sweetnam on the wings, Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin team up in the centre, and JJ Hanrahan and James Hart get a chance to impress as the starting half-backs.
Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne and Brian Scott make up the front row with Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea in the engine room. Dave O’Callaghan, skipper O’Donnell and Greencore Munster Rugby Academy player Gavin Coombes form the back row.
Tipperary native and Old Wesley and Ireland Club International prop Cronan Gleeson, who has trained with the Munster squad during pre-season, is among the front row replacements alongside Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry and Ciaran Parker.
Billy Holland, Jean Kleyn and Academy players Sean O’Connor and Jack Daly complete the forward cover, and new signings Neil Cronin and Mike Haley are among the back-line replacements along with Ian Keatley and Academy trio Jack Stafford, Alex McHenry and Liam Coombes.
Notably, Gleeson, Daly, McHenry, Liam Coombes and Haley are all set to make their first senior appearances for Munster in what will be the province’s first game on the new modified 3G pitch at Irish Independent Park. The surface was installed by Tralee-based company PST Sport over the summer.
Buy tickets for Munster v London Irish online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 061 421103. Prices: adult €;15, junior €;5 and family (two adults and two juniors) €;30. Two-match packs (for the pre-season matches against London Irish and Exeter Chiefs) are also available.
MUNSTER (v London Irish): Stephen Fitzgerald; Calvin Nash, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam; JJ Hanrahan, James Hart; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea, Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell (capt), Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Cronan Gleeson, Dave Kilcoyne, Ciaran Parker, Billy Holland, Jean Kleyn, Sean O’Connor, Jack Daly, Neil Cronin, Jack Stafford, Ian Keatley, Shane Daly, Alex McHenry, Liam Coombes, Mike Haley.