Jump to main content


GUINNESS PRO12 Preview: Munster v Edinburgh

GUINNESS PRO12 Preview: Munster v Edinburgh

Semi-finalists last season, Munster begin a fresh, new challenge for GUINNESS PRO12 honours when they host Edinburgh at Thomond Park in the opening round of the 2014/15 campaign.

GUINNESS PRO12: Friday, September 5

MUNSTER v EDINBURGH, Thomond Park, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

Team News: Munster head coach Anthony Foley has named his team for the opening round of the GUINNESS PRO12 against Edinburgh at Thomond Park on Friday.

Ireland’s Simon Zebo will make his return to provincial action and he is joined by Emerging Ireland duo Andrew Conway and Ian Keatley in the starting line-up, while their touring colleagues, David Foley and Tommy O’Donnell, are named among the replacements.

Hooker Kevin O’Byrne, back rower Shane Buckley and centre Andrew Smith all start as they make their competitive debuts for Munster.

Foley has made six changes to the side that lined out against London Irish in Waterford last Friday, with BJ Botha returning to the front row and Buckley taking the place of Robin Copeland at number 8.

Johne Murphy, Smith and Ronan O’Mahony retain their places in the back-line but make positional switches with Smith and Murphy linking up in the centre and O’Mahony moving to full-back.

After sustaining a knee injury against London Irish, Cian Bohane underwent a scan during the week and has been ruled out of action for the immediate future. He will now meet with the specialist for further assessment.

Tickets are available for the Munster v Edinburgh game online here and from the Munster Rugby ticket offices in Musgrave Park and Thomond Park.

Tickets will be on sale on Friday from the Mobile Ticket Office in the new Fan Zone Plaza from 9am. Please note that the North and South Terraces will remain closed for the game.

Meanwhile, the value of Edinburgh’s two pre-season warm-ups is evident in the team selection for their opening fixture in the GUINNESS PRO12 against Munster.
Some of the standout performers in the matches against Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons have been recognised with a place in the starting line-up, which covers a range of age and experience.
Booking the openside berth for the Thomond Park fixture is Hamish Watson, who gave a man-of-the-match performance against Leicester at the Greenyards a fortnight ago.
Watson, a Scotland underage international, is a graduate of Edinburgh’s Elite Development Programme (EDP) and will be making his seventh start in 17 appearances to date for the club.
Despite stiff competition, the starting scrum half spot has been secured by Stirling-born 23-year-old Sean Kennedy, who is also a product of Scotland age-grade international squads.

MUNSTER: Ronan O’Mahony; Andrew Conway, Johne Murphy, Andrew Smith, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; John Ryan, Kevin O’Byrne, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan (capt), Billy Holland, CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, Shane Buckley.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, Alan Cotter, Stephen Archer, David Foley, Tommy O’Donnell, Cathal Sheridan, Johnny Holland, Ivan Dineen.

EDINBURGH: Jack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife, Sam Beard, Andries Strauss, Tim Visser; Greig Tonks, Sean Kennedy; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford (capt), John Andress, Fraser McKenzie, Ollie Atkins, Tomas Leonardi, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez.

Replacements: James Hilterbrand, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Mike Coman, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Nick McLennan, Phil Burleigh.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Correll, John Carvill (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Jude Quinn (Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Munster to win: 1/7; Draw: 25/1; Edinburgh to win: 7/2

Pre-Match Quotes: Anthony Foley (Munster) – “With a tough pre-season behind us now, we all feel that we are in a pretty good place. I think we have strengthened in a number of positions, and we now have good competition right across the board.

“Every Munster supporter knows how difficult it can be against Edinburgh, so we are forewarned and forearmed. I’m really looking forward to this first game and coming up against Alan Solomons, he is an excellent coach. I know him from his time with Ulster, he is a very astute man, he is a good man to have a conversation with about the game.

“He has assembled a strong-looking squad – from watching their pre-season games – and any side that can beat Newcastle and narrowly lose to the Leicester Tigers in their first pre-season game deserves huge respect.

“I’m lucky, I have a good coaching staff around me, I have a good manager to bounce stuff off and it is all about just making the right decision then.

“We will only know on reflection whether we are right or not, but I guarantee we are not going to leave any stone unturned. We believe we are well prepared for this game. And we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Sean Kennedy (Edinburgh) – “I’ve been training away hard all summer with Grayson (Hart), Sammy (Hidalgo-Clyne) and the two young boys, Alex Glashan and Hugh Fraser.

“I wouldn’t say I was first choice but maybe the coaches saw I could bring something to this game. Having that competition brings out the best in all of us which is a good thing for everyone.

“I expect them (Munster) to be massively physical, hard at the breakdown and strong up front – a typical Munster team. They’ve got a new coaching staff this year, so maybe their style will have changed slightly.
“I grew up in Limerick for the first ten years of my life, supported Munster and rugby was everything – so I have plenty of family and friends coming to support on Friday.”

Top Scorers – 2013/14 RaboDirect PRO12: Munster – Points: JJ Hanrahan 152; Tries: Simon Zebo, CJ Stander, Andrew Conway 4 each; Edinburgh – Points: Greig Laidlaw 86; Tries: WP Nel 6


Friday, September 30, 2011 – Edinburgh 29 Munster 14, Murrayfield
Saturday, November 26, 2011 – Munster 34 Edinburgh 17, Thomond Park
Saturday, September 1, 2012 – Edinburgh 18 Munster 23, Murrayfield
Saturday, February 9, 2013 – Munster 30 Edinburgh 3, Musgrave Park
Saturday, September 7, 2013 – Munster 34 Edinburgh 23, Musgrave Park
Saturday, May 3, 2014 – Edinburgh 12 Munster 55, Meggetland


– Munster’s only defeat in round 1 of the PRO12 since 2006 came on a trip to Glasgow in 2009

– The Munstermen have been defeated in their last two matches at Thomond Park but have never lost three in succession at the venue in the professional era

– Edinburgh’s only victory on the opening weekend of the PRO12 since 2005 came when they visited
Cardiff Blues at Cardiff City Stadium in 2009 and won 22-21

– Edinburgh have lost their last five matches in the league since beating the Dragons at Rodney Parade on April 3

– The Scotish side’s only victory in Ireland in their last 23 visits in all competitions since 2009 was 24-
23 at Connacht in the PRO12 in December 2012

– This is the third successive season that the two sides have met in round 1, while Edinburgh have not beaten the Munstermen in the league since their encounter at Murrayfield in September 2011