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Zebo Can’t Wait ‘To Get Stuck In’ As Munster Confirm Challenge Match XVs

Zebo Can’t Wait ‘To Get Stuck In’ As Munster Confirm Challenge Match XVs

Simon Zebo, pictured with Ireland Under-20 captain Alex Kendellen, trained with the Munster squad in Limerick earlier this week ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The teams have been named for Saturday’s 60-minute Munster Challenge Match at Thomond Park (kick-off 3pm).

The pre-season clash will see one Munster selection wear the province’s new adidas home jersey, available exclusively at Life Style Sports, with their opponents wearing the alternate kit. Shop the full range here.

Jack O’Donoghue and Rory Scannell captain the sides with 10 Greencore Munster Rugby Academy members involved.

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Simon Zebo makes his return to Thomond Park with fellow new addition, former Leinster scrum half Rowan Osborne, set for his first appearance in red.

In an interview for MunsterRugby.ie ahead of the game, Zebo said: “Great to be back. I haven’t stopped smiling since I’ve been back, for about six weeks now.

“Enjoying every minute of it, it’s been fantastic. Great group of guys, some familiar faces thrown in the mix as well. Very happy to be home.

“There’s some unbelievable young athletes, some really skillful guys, your Jake Flannerys, your Jack Crowleys, Daniel Okekes. These guys have been pushing it on really far.

“There’s a great buzz around the camp, a great buzz around the team. A great blend of youth and experience and (I’m) really looking forward to the new season.”

He added: “Just to get the run-out at Thomond Park, put the boots on and run around with your friends again is what it’s all about. I’m very excited to do that.

“Yeah, we’re building really nicely into the season, to be able to play back here with fans again is going to be special. Last time I was here, in a different jersey (with Racing 92), there was a full house.

“We’re building towards it – not a full house yet – but I can’t wait for the day I put on a red jersey in front of a full house. This Saturday will be really exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Eight of the nine Academy members who moved up to the senior squad this summer will line out – Thomas Ahern, Crowley, Jack Daly, Flannery, James French, Sean French, Ben Healy and Josh Wycherley.

New Academy recruits Ethan Coughlan, Mark Donnelly and Okeke will also feature along with Alex Kendellen, this year’s Ireland Under-20 captain.

Players may line out for both teams on the day as the Munster coaches rotate the selections to manage game-time.

For supporters attending the game, signage will be in place throughout the stadium as a reminder of the safety measures, with thanks to Laya Healthcare, one of Munster’s partners. See full event information here.

MUNSTER RED: Matt Gallagher; Sean French, Calvin Nash, Alex McHenry, Conor Phillips; Jack Crowley, Rowan Osborne; Liam O’Connor, Scott Buckley, Keynan Knox, Jean Kleyn, Thomas Ahern, Jack O’Donoghue (capt), Jack Daly, Daniel Okeke.

Replacements: James French, Mark Donnelly, Roman Salanoa, Neil Cronin, Ben Healy.

MUNSTER GREY: Simon Zebo; Jonathan Wren, Liam Coombes, Rory Scannell (capt), Ethan Coughlan; Jake Flannery, Paddy Patterson; Josh Wycherley, Diarmuid Barron, Stephen Archer, Cian Hurley, Paddy Kelly, TBC, Chris Cloete, Alex Kendellen.

Replacements: TBC.