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Conway Returns For Munster’s Edinburgh Trip

Conway Returns For Munster’s Edinburgh Trip

Ireland international Andrew Conway is pictured training with the Munster squad ahead of the Edinburgh game ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Munster team to face Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield on Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm) shows nine changes to the side that squeezed past Benetton Rugby last time out.

Captaining the province this weekend, lock Billy Holland joins Ronan O’Gara on 240 Munster appearances and is now joint-second on the all-time list behind Donncha O’Callaghan (268).

Five of the players who signed contract extensions with Munster this week are part of the 23-man squad bound for the Scottish capital.

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Andrew Conway returns for his first appearance since December and is one of four players back from Ireland camp in the starting back-line, along with Craig Casey, Shane Daly and Chris Farrell.

Mike Haley helms the back-three, in between Conway and Daly, and Farrell partners Springbok Damian de Allende in midfield. Casey will have JJ Hanrahan, Munster’s late drop goal hero in Treviso, outside him at half-back.

James Cronin, Niall Scannell and John Ryan form the first line of the scrum, with Jean Kleyn and stand-in skipper Holland in the engine room. The back row is made up of Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete and Gavin Coombes.

Meanwhile, Rory Scannell, who has played 138 times for Munster so far, is in line to make his 100th Guinness PRO14 appearance off the bench.

Speaking about the returning international players, head coach Johann van Graan commented: “It’s always great to welcome international players and that’s exactly what they are – they are Test calibre players. It’s great to have Andrew, Chris, Shane and Craig back.

“I’m sure they will have a big part to play on Saturday. It’s brilliant that with the vibe we have in the squad they fit in seamlessly as they had done in the autumn, so yeah it’s great to have some of our (Ireland) players back.

“Craig was on the bench at the weekend (for the France game) and was straight back in on Monday morning preparing for Munster again. He knows that this is an important block for us.

“All his focus is currently with Munster and once he’s back with the national team his focus will go back there. It’s great to have Craig back and he’s his old self, a ball of energy, and I’m really looking forward to seeing him play.”

MUNSTER (v Edinburgh): Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Craig Casey; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Sullivan, Nick McCarthy, Ben Healy, Rory Scannell.