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O’Byrne Hits Half-Century Mark For Munster

O’Byrne Hits Half-Century Mark For Munster

Kevin O'Byrne is pictured during one of Munster's training sessions at the University of Limerick earlier this week ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The Munster team has been announced for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 opener against the Dragons in a cross-Conference clash at Thomond Park (kick-off 3pm).

Billy Holland captains the side as the 34-year-old second row begins his 13th season as a senior player at Munster, while four Academy players are included in the matchday squad.

There are a couple of notable starts at hooker and scrum half respectively, as Kevin O’Byrne makes his 50th Munster appearance up front and former Leinster player Nick McCarthy makes his competitive debut for Johann van Graan’s charges, partnering JJ Hanrahan at half-back.

Rory Scannell and Tyler Bleyendaal team up in the centre with Mike Haley, who made his Ireland debut against Italy last month, stationed at full-back. Wingers Darren Sweetnam and Shane Daly complete a potent back-three.

Jeremy Loughman, O’Byrne and Stephen Archer pack down together in the front row, supported by Fineen Wycherley and skipper Holland in the engine room. The starting loose forwards are Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell and South African recruit Arno Botha.

Head coach van Graan has opted to name six forwards on the bench with Academy players Diarmuid Barron, Keynan Knox, Jack O’Sullivan and Liam Coombes among the replacements. Knox and O’Sullivan, who are both 20 and promising forwards, are in line to make their competitive Munster debuts.

Tickets for the game are available to buy online here and also from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park. You can buy tickets at the stadium from 9am on Saturday. Please note the North and South Terrace are not open for this game.

MUNSTER (v Dragons): Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Rory Scannell, Tyler Bleyendaal, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Nick McCarthy; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Billy Holland (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, Arno Botha.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, James Cronin, Keynan Knox, Darren O’Shea, Chris Cloete, Alby Mathewson, Liam Coombes, Jack O’Sullivan.