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Bleyendaal And McCarthy Pair Up At Half-Back For Munster

Bleyendaal And McCarthy Pair Up At Half-Back For Munster

Scrum half Nick McCarthy is pictured in possession during Munster's first round bonus point victory over the Dragons at Thomond Park ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

The Munster starting XV has been announced for Friday evening’s GUINNESS PRO14 encounter with the Toyota Cheetahs at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein (kick-off 6.15pm local time/5.15pm Irish time).

Captain Billy Holland returns to the team as one of five changes to the side that beat the Isuzu Southern Kings 31-20 in Port Elizabeth last week, with Tyler Bleyendaal, Nick McCarthy, Jeremy Loughman and Rhys Marshall also included.

Mike Haley, a try scorer last time out, starts at full-back with Darren Sweetnam and Shane Daly, the man-of-the-match in both of the province’s opening PRO14 games, on either flank.

Bleyendaal and McCarthy are paired together at half-back for the first time, swapping in for JJ Hanrahan and Alby Mathewson respectively, with the centre pairing of Dan Goggin and Rory Scannell unchanged.

Loughman, Marshall and Stephen Archer pack down together in the front row with Fineen Wycherley and Holland in the engine room. There is no change to the back row trio of Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell and Arno Botha, who has started the PRO14 campaign with a try per game.

Academy prop Keynan Knox is in line to make his second PRO14 appearance off the bench, with head coach Johann van Graan saying in the build-up: “This week is going to be even more difficult with the conditions and temperatures, playing at altitude against the Cheetahs.

“They are a team on form, and have been excellent in the Currie Cup. In the PRO14 so far they have dispatched Glasgow Warriors and Ulster comfortably at home, and hopefully we can learn from those games.

“From our point of view we have to focus on ourselves, and we have enough to work on following last Saturday’s game against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.”

MUNSTER (v Toyota Cheetahs): Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Tyler Bleyendaal, Nick McCarthy; Jeremy Loughman, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Billy Holland (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, Arno Botha.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Keynan Knox, Darren O’Shea, Gavin Coombes, Alby Mathewson, JJ Hanrahan, Calvin Nash.