Simon Zebo named at fullback for Munster

Rob Penney makes eight changes to the side that beat the Ospreys for tomorrow’s tilt at the Scarlets

 Simon Zebo training with Munster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Simon Zebo training with Munster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 13:23

Munster coach Rob Penney has selected Simon Zebo at fullback for the RaboDirect Pro12 table toppers against the Scarlets in Llanelli tomorrow (6.30).

Johne Murphy and Gerhard van den Heever are drafted onto the wings while Denis Hurley joins Casey Laulala in the centre. Ian Keatley remains at outhalf but for this match will be partnered by Duncan Williams, the latter replacing the injured Cathal Sheridan.

Williams has signed a one-year contract extension that will see him stay with the province until June 2015.

Two of the four changes in the forwards involve the front row with Irish international props Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer joining hooker Duncan Casey who maintains his place to make his fifth start for the province.

Donncha O’Callaghan joins Donnacha Ryan in the secondrow while CJ Stander takes the place of Sean Dougall in the backrow. Tommy O’Donnell keeps his place at openside with James Coughlan captaining the side from number eightonce again.

Scarlets coach Simon Easterby has made only once change to the side that secured victory over Edinburgh last Saturday afternoon as the region welcomes the return of co-captain and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies.

Davies will line-up alongside former England international Olly Barkley in a new-look centre partnership for the Scarlets as the homeside look to continue with their winning run.

Easterby said: “Munster are a pretty good outfit at the minute and are pretty settled. They are still able to pick a very strong team despite missing a number of internationals.

“We are under no illusion that they’ll be coming here nothing less than well equipped to mix up their game and we will have to be at our best and far better defensively.

“Having narrowly missed out on a victory late on in injury time against Munster at Musgrave Park before Christmas we’ve had plenty of motivation in training this week. We put ourselves in a really good position to win away from home but gave them a foothold in the dying minutes and managed to stick at it.”

Scarlets: J Williams; K Phillips, J Davies, O Barkley, F Climo; A Thomas, G Davies; P John, E Phillips, S Lee; G Earle, J Snyman; J Turnbull, J Barclay, R McCusker (capt).

Munster: Simon Zebo; Gerhard van den Heever, Casey Laulala, Denis Hurley, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Duncan Casey, Stephen Archer; Donncha O’Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan; CJ Stander, Tommy O’Donnell, James Coughlan(capt). Replacements: Ger Slattery, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Dave Foley, Sean Dougall, Gerry Hurley, JJ Hanrahan, Ronan O’Mahony.

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