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Zebo To Make 150th Appearance For Munster In Glasgow

Zebo To Make 150th Appearance For Munster In Glasgow

Munster star Simon Zebo celebrates after their Heineken Champions Cup win at home to Wasps last month ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Munster team has been selected for Friday night’s United Rugby Championship clash with Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm).

Simon Zebo starts on the left wing for his 150th Munster appearance as fellow Corkman Gavin Coombes returns from training with the Ireland squad to start at number 8.

There are eight personnel changes to the side that secured a 34-17 bonus point win away to Zebre last time out.

Zebo, Mike Haley, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell and Tipperary youngster Ben Healy come into the back-line, with Coombes, Stephen Archer and Chris Cloete rejoining the pack.

Jack O’Donoghue, an EPCR European Player of the Year nominee, captains the province and is joined in the back row by Coombes and Cloete, who has scored three tries in as many games this season.

Haley, Shane Daly and Zebo form the back-three, and moving infield there is a centre partnership of Scannell and Farrell.

Neil Cronin keeps his place at scrum half after a player-of-the-match performance against Zebre. Healy combines with him in an all-Garryowen half-back pairing.

Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron and Archer pack down together in the front row, supported by the unchanged second row combination of Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley.

O’Donoghue, Cloete, who will make his first appearance since October, and Coombes complete the side. Replacement hooker Kevin O’Byrne is in line for his first appearance since September.

The Greencore Academy trio of Cian Hurley, Alex Kendellen and Paddy Patterson are also part of the matchday squad.

21-year-old forward Hurley is set for his first appearance of the campaign and could become the 59th player to line out for the province so far this season.

The Munstermen are currently fifth in the United Rugby Championship table, with Glasgow just two points ahead in third place after winning six of their nine games.

Munster defence coach JP Ferreira commented: “It always is (a season-defining period). Six Nations coming in adds that factor of it being the massive block of games for us.

“We’ve just come out of a massive block as well, and what we achieved in that has been brilliant. Going into this block now you have the guys who haven’t played in the last four weeks and this is how your squad is so important.

“Coming into Zebre (at the end of January), having a break, then Glasgow and then going to South Africa, these guys have the opportunity to put the team in a better position again.

“It’s make or break, you lose a couple of games and the pressure starts coming. And vice versa, you win a couple of games and the confidence keeps on building.

“For this group we have at the moment, it’s a great opportunity to put us in a good opportunity for play-offs.”

MUNSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Mike Haley; Shane Daly, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Simon Zebo; Ben Healy, Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue (capt), Chris Cloete, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan, Cian Hurley, Alex Kendellen, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, John Hodnett.