Ospreys v Munster: Conor Murray returns to the bench as van Graan rings changes

Jack Crowley makes his first start for the province in trip to Wales

Munster’s Craig Casey will start against Ospreys. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster’s Craig Casey will start against Ospreys. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

United Rugby Championship: Ospreys v Munster

Kick-off: 7.35pm, Saturday. Venue: Swansea Stadium. On TV: Live on RTÉ 2 and Premier Sport.

The 21-year-old outhalf Jack Crowley will finally make his first start for Munster in Saturday’s URC round five clash against Ospreys at the Swansea.com Stadium, while Conor Murray is in line for his seasonal return off the bench.

The career of the gifted Cork Constitution and Irish under-20 left-footer was effectively put on hold for a year and a half, but having been promoted to the senior squad this season Crowley makes his first Munster start after four cameos off the bench amounting to 63 minutes.

Crowley is one of eight changes to the side that defeated Connacht at Thomond Park last Saturday by head coach Johann van Graan, as Matt Gallagher, Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin and Shane Daly also come into the backline. The three changes in the pack see Jeremy Loughman, Fineen Wycherley and Jack O’Donoghue all named in the starting team, while Tadhg Beirne switches from lock to the back row.

In addition to Murray, another highly promising young player whose career had been put on hold, John Hodnett, is named on a strong bench which also features Munster’s returning Springbok Damian de Allende and Gavin Coombes.

Hodnett has been lining out for UCC in recent weeks after recovering from a long-term Achilles injury and could make his first Munster appearance since November 1st, 2020.

The Ospreys make five changes with Toby Booth with Mat Protheroe, Nicky Smith, Tom Botha, Rhys Davies and Jac Morgan returning to the starting line-up after a hard-earned win over Benetton.

Jack Regan will make his Ospreys debut off the bench having joined from the Highlanders in New Zealand.

Ospreys: Max Nagy; Alex Cuthbert, Owen Watkin, Keiran Williams, Mat Protheroe,#; Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb (C); Nicky Smith, Elvis Taione, Tom Botha; Bradley Davies, Rhys Davies; Sam Cross, Jac Morgan, Ethan Roots.

Replacements: Ifan Phillips, Gareth Thomas, Rhys Henry, Jack Regan, Morgan Morris, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Joe Hawkins, Dan Evans.

Munster: Matt Gallagher; Andrew Conway, Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin, Shane Daly; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Josh Wycherley, Keynan Knox, Gavin Coombes, John Hodnett, Conor Murray, Ben Healy, Damian de Allende.

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