Keith Earls returns for Munster’s trip to Zebre

Anthony Foley names Ireland back on the bench after he recovers from knee injury

Keith Earls has been named in the Munster squad for tomorrow's trip to Italy to play Zebre, with James Cronin also coming back into the fold.

Earls injured his knee during an Ireland training camp in August but has completed his rehabilitation and is in line for his first involvement of the season after Anthony Foley named him on the bench for the Pro 12 fixture in Parma.

Cronin damaged his shoulder in December’s Champions Cup defeat to Clermont Auvergne but has also been named amongst the replacements.

Foley has made seven changes in total to the side which were pummelled by Connacht at a sodden Galway Sportsground on New Year’s Day.


Eusebio Guinazu is set to make his debut for the province, and will start in the frontrow alongside the returning Kevin O'Byrne and Stehen Archer.

Dave Foley returns in the secondrow to partner Billy Holland, while Dave O'Callaghan is back from injury and is joined in the backrow by Dave O'Callaghan and Peter O'Mahony, who starts at openside for the first time this season.

Conor Murray and Ian Keatley, who recently signed a new deal to keep him at Thomond Park until 2017, start at halfbacks, while Northampton-bound JJ Hanrahan and Pat Howard start in midfield.

Felix Jones returns to start at fullback with Simon Zebo and Ronan O'Mahony on the wings.

Munster: Felix Jones; Ronan O'Mahony, Pat Howard, JJ Hanrahan, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Eusebio Guinazu, Kevin O'Byrne, Stephen Archer; Dave Foley, Billy Holland; Dave O'Callaghan, Peter O'Mahony, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, James Cronin, John Ryan, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paddy Butler, Duncan Williams, Keith Earls, Johne Murphy.

Patrick Madden

Patrick Madden

Patrick Madden is a former sports journalist with The Irish Times