Munster side named for Blues clash

Munster side named for Blues clash

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Rassie Erasmus Munster 2

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has made just two changes from the side that defeated Scarlets for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO12 encounter with Cardiff Blues in Irish Independent Park, Cork.

In an unchanged pack, James Cronin, Niall Scannell and John Ryan form the front row with Dave Foley and captain Billy Holland again completing the tight five.

Dave O’Callaghan remains at blindside with last weekend’s man-of-the-match Tommy O’Donnell and Jack O’Donoghue continuing at openside and number 8 respectively.

The first change is seen in the half-backs with Ian Keatley coming in to partner Duncan Williams.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016
Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

Rory Scannell and academy centre Dan Goggin continue in midfield with the final change seen at full back where Andrew Conway makes his first appearance of the season in joining Ronan O’Mahony and Darren Sweetnam in the back three.

Named amongst the replacements, returning international CJ Stander, hooker Duncan Casey and academy full back Stephen Fitzgerald are all in line to make their first PRO12 appearances of the season. Casey spent much of last season rehabbing a pectoral tear and if sprung from the bench will make his first competitive appearance since November of last year.

Tyler Bleyendaal was not available for selection after reporting a mild calf strain.

Kick-off at Irish Independent Park in Cork on Friday night will be 7.35pm.

Munster XV: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Ronan O’Mahony; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Dave Foley, Billy Holland – capt.; Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, Dave Kilcoyne, Brian Scott, Donnacha Ryan, CJ Stander, Tomás O’Leary, Cian Bohane, Stephen Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile, injuries to Simon Zebo and Kevin O’Byrne rule them out of action for the immediate future, while South African international Jaco Taute will join the province on a short-term loan.

It has been confirmed that Simon Zebo sustained a fractured rib in Munster’s opening round victory at Parc y Scarlets last weekend. The international winger and fullback is expected to be side-lined for five weeks.

Simon Zebo sidelined with rib injury - Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016
Simon Zebo sidelined with rib injury – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

A further injury update confirmed Kevin O’Byrne will be unavailable for three months. The hooker who was a late replacement against Scarlets last Saturday sustained an elbow injury in the final minutes of the game.

In other news, Stormers and Western Province centre/fullback Jaco Taute joins the province on a four month loan basis, subject to being granted a valid work permit.

The 25-year-old played for the Springboks on three occasions in 2012 and has made 50 Super Rugby appearances, having also represented the Lions.

Due to injuries to Francis Saili and Sammy Arnold, Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has called on the services of Taute to bolster the options available in midfield.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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