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Earls Takes Centre Stage For Munster

Earls Takes Centre Stage For Munster

Ireland international Keith Earls is set to make his seasonal bow for Munster when they host DHL Stormers ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Munster team to face DHL Stormers at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm) shows four changes in personnel – three in the back-line.

Tickets are only available online here. Tickets will be available to purchase online right up to kick-off but will not be available to purchase at the stadium on matchday.

With Chris Farrell still nursing an an abdominal injury, Munster are managing their options in midfield and the returning Keith Earls will line out at outside centre.

It is his first start in the position since January 2018, as he pairs up with Rory Scannell. Calvin Nash and Shane Daly are added to a back-three anchored again by Mike Haley.

Joey Carbery and Craig Casey, the player-of-the-match last week against Cell C Sharks, while South African youngster Keynan Knox is the final change at tighthead prop.

Dave Kilcoyne and Niall Scannell combine with the powerful 22-year-old in the front row, with Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley continuing as the province’s preferred lock pairing.

Speaking about what a prospect Knox is, Kilcoyne said: “The sky is the limit for him. When you have a forwards coach like Graham Rowntree you are getting that world-class coaching at such a young age.

“He has probably been working with Keynan now for two or three years and to have that hands-on as young tighthead, he’s always doing extras with him.

“Keynan is always very diligent in his own training, he’s a freak in the gym which is always good for your tighthead to be that strong.

“I thought he did very well last week when he came on (against the Sharks). But this weekend will be a big step up again, so the sky is the limit for him. He’s a big South African tighthead.”

Captain Peter O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue and Gavin Coombes complete the starting XV, with the latter already at the top of the try-scoring charts following his brace in round one.

Stephen Archer and Jack O’Sullivan are in line to make their first appearances of the season off the bench.

RG Snyman, who had a successful return from long-term injury last week, and Simon Zebo are also among the replacements. The Corkman is poised to make his 100th league appearance for Munster.

MUNSTER (v DHL Stormers): Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Keith Earls, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Keynan Knox, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, RG Snyman, Jack O’Sullivan, Rowan Osborne, Ben Healy, Simon Zebo.