Jump to main content


Frisch Returns For Munster’s Quarter-Final Clash With Ospreys

Frisch Returns For Munster’s Quarter-Final Clash With Ospreys

Antoine Frisch makes a break during Munster's 27-27 bonus point win away to the Ospreys back in March ©INPHO/Ashley Crowden

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree has made three personnel changes – one of them enforced – for Friday’s BKT United Rugby Championship quarter-final against the Ospreys at Thomond Park (kick-off 7.30pm). Tickets are available to buy here.

Centre Antoine Frisch returns from a leg injury for his 40th Munster appearance, and John Hodnett, who is back to full fitness for his first start since early April, and Gavin Coombes both come into the back row.

Last week’s hard-fought 29-24 defeat of Ulster was Munster’s ninth straight URC win, and the last time they won ten in-a-row in the same season was when they were crowned league champions back in 2010/11.

The Munstermen have not lost to Welsh opposition since going down to the Dragons at Rodney Parade in September 2022. They have played the Ospreys in four previous URC play-off fixtures, with Munster having the edge by three wins to one.

Frisch and Seán O’Brien form the province’s centre partnership as O’Brien moves to inside centre. Rory Scannell is the player to make way, with his ankle surgery set to take place next week.

Calvin Nash and Shane Daly, two of the try scorers from last Saturday’s interprovincial derby, continue in the back-three alongside Simon Zebo, while the half-back berths are filled again by Jack Crowley, who is just three points away from 100 points in this season’s URC, and Craig Casey.

An unchanged tight five features Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, RG Snyman, and captain Tadhg Beirne, with the aforementioned Hodnett and Coombes joining Peter O’Mahony in the loose forwards.

On the replacements bench, Diarmuid Barron is included after recovering from a foot injury sustained in December. With Joey Carbery ruled out with a thumb injury, Academy out-half Tony Butler is in line for his seventh appearance of the campaign.

Barron, John Ryan, and Oli Jager provide the front row back-up, and Jack O’Donoghue and Alex Kendellen, who made his 50th URC appearance against Ulster, complete the forward cover. Conor Murray, Butler and Mike Haley are the replacement backs.

Speaking ahead of Munster’s first URC quarter-final in Limerick since 2019, defence coach Denis Leamy said: “I think with knockout rugby there’s almost a turn of the page. You’ve got to understand it’s almost a different mentality, it’s a new challenge.

“The Ospreys are probably the most underrated team in the league. I think the expectation would be that we are favourites but these guys are a very, very strong team, and we’ve got to understand what we control is really important in terms of what we deliver.

“We’ve got to fire punches, we’ve got to be brave. We’ve got to go out and try and impose our game.

“We just can’t wait and see what the Ospreys are going to bring because they’re going to bring all of their quality and they have loads of it.”

MUNSTER (v Ospreys): Simon Zebo; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Seán O’Brien, Shane Daly; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, RG Snyman, Tadhg Beirne (capt), Peter O’Mahony, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, John Ryan, Oli Jager, Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen, Conor Murray, Tony Butler, Mike Haley.