The Munster team has been announced for Sunday’s GUINNESS PRO14 encounter with Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma (kick-off 4.30pm local time/3.30pm Irish time).
Conor Murray, Chris Farrell and Conor Oliver are back in a Munster matchday 23 for the first time this season, proving their fitness for places on the bench. Another timely boost will see returning winger Ronan O’Mahony make his first provincial appearance of the 2018/19 campaign.
Tyler Bleyendaal continues in the captaincy role from inside centre and Academy player Gavin Coombes makes his first start in the GUINNESS PRO14. In all, there are six personnel changes and one positional switch to the side that claimed a 30-26 bonus point win over the Toyota Cheetahs three weeks ago.
Mike Haley, a try scorer in that game, continues at full-back as O’Mahony returns on the right wing with Alex Wootton retained on the left. Rory Scannell starts in the number 13 shirt, alongside skipper Bleyendaal, and JJ Hanrahan and Neil Cronin come in as the starting half-backs.
Jeremy Loughman, who had an impressive cameo performance in South Africa, joins Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Archer in the front row with Fineen Wycherley, who switches from blindside flanker to the second row, packing down alongside Darren O’Shea.
The 20-year-old Coombes links up with South African duo Chris Cloete and Arno Botha in the back row, and another Academy forward, Sean O’Connor, is part of a strong replacements line-up which is bolstered by the returning Oliver, Murray and Farrell.
MUNSTER (v Zebre): Mike Haley; Ronan O’Mahony, Rory Scannell, Tyler Bleyendaal (capt), Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea, Gavin Coombes, Chris Cloete, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Brian Scott, Ciaran Parker, Sean O’Connor, Conor Oliver, Conor Murray, Bill Johnston, Chris Farrell.