The Munster team to play the Isuzu Southern Kings at Irish Independent Park on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm) in the GUINNESS PRO14 has been finalised. Tickets are available to buy online here.
Head coach Johann van Graan hands a first start to John Hodnett, a first-year member of the Munster Rugby Academy, as the Cork-born back rower steps up for his PRO14 debut at openside flanker.
Rosscarbery native Hodnett is a product of Clonakilty RFC, was a Grand Slam winner with the Ireland Under-20s last season, and has featured regularly for UCC this season in the Energia All-Ireland League.
Billy Holland captains the side on his 226th Munster appearance, packing down alongside Fineen Wycherley at lock. The province will field an all-Ireland international front row of James Cronin, Niall Scannell and John Ryan.
Jack O’Donoghue, Hodnett and Arno Botha complete the loose forwards, while JJ Hanrahan, who has kicked 67 points during the current PRO14 campaign, and former Garryowen captain Neil Cronin make up the half-back pairing.
Chris Farrell and Dan Goggin combine in the centre with a pacy back-three comprised of Mike Haley, Calvin Nash and Corkman Shane Daly. There are two Academy players on the bench in prop Keynan Knox and out-half Ben Healy.
The Valentine’s night clash is one of three Munster games during the Six Nations period. Van Graan is set to utilise the majority of his squad and spread game-time over the three matches.
MUNSTER (v Isuzu Southern Kings): Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Chris Farrell, Dan Goggin, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Neil Cronin; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Fineen Wycherley, Billy Holland (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, John Hodnett, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Keynan Knox, Gavin Coombes, Chris Cloete, Nick McCarthy, Ben Healy, Rory Scannell.