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Munster Bring In O’Mahony, Beirne And Murray For Stormers Rematch

Munster Bring In O’Mahony, Beirne And Murray For Stormers Rematch

Peter O'Mahony speaks to his team-mates following Munster's URC final win over the Stormers in Cape Town last May ©INPHO/James Crombie

Ireland stars Peter O’Mahony, Tadhg Beirne and Conor Murray are back to bolster the Munster squad for Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship match against the DHL Stormers at Thomond Park (kick-off 5.15pm). Tickets are available here.

Captain O’Mahony and Beirne both start as two of four changes to the team that lost 21-14 to Ulster last week. Murray has been added to the bench, backing up Craig Casey who scored two tries from scrum half in Belfast.

Another notable starter is 23-year-old hooker Scott Buckley, who dons Munster’s number 2 jersey for the first time since his debut in 2021. He replaces Diarmuid Barron, who suffered a head injury when captaining the province against Ulster.

In the only change to the back-line, Academy winger Shay McCarthy makes his third appearance. Shane Daly and Calvin Nash complete the back-line, and centres Antoine Frisch and Alex Nankivell, and half-backs Jack Crowley and Casey, are all retained.

Back in red for the first time since last May’s URC final victory over the Stormers, O’Mahony joins John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes in the loose forwards, while the tight five is made up of Jeremy Loughman, Buckley, John Ryan, Beirne and Academy lock Edwin Edogbo.

Meanwhile, veteran prop Stephen Archer is part of a strong bench line-up and is in line to play his 268th game for Munster, equalling Donncha O’Callaghan’s record as the province’s most-capped player of all-time.

At the other end of the scale, replacement hooker Chris Moore could make his senior debut for Munster after joining from Exeter University in 2022.

Josh Wycherley, Tom Ahern and Alex Kendellen complete the forward options for Graham Rowntree’s men, with Murray and Rory Scannell the reserve backs in a 6-2 bench split.

Looking forward to renewing rivalries with the Stormers, Munster defence coach Denis Leamy said: “I would say they are one of the best teams in the league, regardless of them missing their ‘Boks and they’ve got a number of them to come back.

“These guys have been in two (URC) finals over the last two years, they won one of them and came very close to winning the other.

“We’ve come up against the Stormers a lot, we’ve analysed them a lot, they’re incredibly talented. As individuals they are scary fast, they have unbelievable passing ability in terms of moving at speed.

“So they present difficulties around defending fractured play. Then you look at their power game, their scrum, their maul, their ability to pound you through big, big forward carries, it presents so many challenges.”

The Stormers travel to Limerick on the back of losing to Glasgow Warriors (20-9) and Benetton (20-17) in the last two rounds. While disappointed to lose their opening interpro clash, Munster are unbeaten in their last six URC encounters with South African opposition.

MUNSTER (v DHL Stormers): Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Alex Nankivell, Shay McCarthy; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Scott Buckley, John Ryan, Edwin Edogbo, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony (capt), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Chris Moore, Josh Wycherley, Stephen Archer, Tom Ahern, Jack O’Donoghue, Conor Murray, Rory Scannell, Alex Kendellen.