Munster welcome back Peter O’Mahony for Pro12 clash

Simon Zebo and Tommy O’Donnell also return as Zebre look to secure first win

Munster v Zebre. Thomond Park, 5pm.

Clashing with the All-Ireland football final replay and without live TV coverage, Peter O’Mahony returns to action after almost five months on the sidelines strictly through the tradesman’s entrance.

The return of their talismanic captain is a timely boost for Munster, as is the return from injury of Simon Zebo and Tommy O’Donnell, while their newly acquired Springbok Jaco Taute is named in the centre for his debut after his work permit was eventually granted.

Competitive start

Having returned to his native province after a two-year stint in Worcester, 23-year-old lock Darren O’Shea makes his first competitive start, as does 21-year-old former Irish Under-20 winger Alex Wootton.


Hooker Duncan Casey and Stephen Archer also make their first starts of the season. O’Shea is joined in the secondrow by Donnacha Ryan, a late withdrawal from last weekend’s bonus point win over Edinburgh, to win his 150th Munster cap. Billy Holland switches to the backrow.

In contract news, Munster confirmed that former Leinster Academy player Steve Crosbie signed a three-month development contract.

Although Zebre have lost all eight previous meetings with Munster, since their thrashing on the opening weekend by the Ospreys, they have lost narrowly to the Dragons and to Cardiff either side of their postponed game against Connacht when leading 22-10.

MUNSTER: S Zebo; D Sweetnam, K Earls, J Taute, A Wootton; T Bleyendaal, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D C, S Archer, D Ryan, D O'Shea, B Holland (capt), T O'Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: N Scannell, J Cronin, J Ryan, P O'Mahony, C Oliver, D Williams, I Keatley, C Bohane.

ZEBRE: E Padovani; G Di Giulio, G Bisegni, T Castello, G Venditti, C Canna, G Palazzani; A Lovotti, T D'Apice, D Chistolini, Q Geldenhuys (capt), G Koegelenberg, J Sarto, J Meyer, F Ruzza. Replacements: C Festuccia, B Postiglioni, G Roan, J Furno, D Minnie, C Engelbrecht, T Boni, Greeff

Referee: Dan Jones (WRU).

Forecast: Munster to win.

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times