Munster young guns can keep fire burning for Erasmus
Calvin Nash and Peter McCabe come in for their starting debuts against Edinburgh
Calvin Nash scoring a try for Munster A against Doncaster. Nash comes into the Munster backline for the trip to Edinburgh. Photograph: Rachel Holborn/Inpho/Camerasport
Pro12 preview: Edinburgh v Munster,
Venue: Myreside, Friday, 7.35pm
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Munster’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has chosen a side with a youthful appearance for this re-fixed Guinness Pro12 match, giving a debut to Young Munster’s Calvin Nash on the right wing and a first start for loosehead prop Peter McCabe, who has been recalled from a short loan spell at Connacht.
Nash is a member of the Ireland Under-20 squad but gets his chance with the province after a series of impressive displays for his club and the provincial A side. The 19-year-old former pupil of Crescent College Comprehensive can play either outside centre or on the wing, with the former his preference.
Provided Munster don’t require his services, he should see some game time for the Irish Under-20 side. Nash is thoroughly enjoying his time with the Munster senior players – he was added to the Champions Cup roster this month. “Everyone is hitting off each other and pushing each other more,” he said.
“Since they got on that winning run, training has gone through the roof. Every week it’s a different gameplan and everyone buys into it. The system is working really well.”
McCabe is back with Munster because of an injury to James Cronin and gets an opportunity soon after his return. Jaco Taute switches from his familiar position in the midfield to fullback, with another promising Young Munster back, Dan Goggin, coming in to the centre. Goggin and Nash have formed a very effective partnership at club level.
Stephen Archer makes his 100th appearance for Munster, while Dave Foley has recovered from a wrist injury. Dave Kilcoyne, Billy Holland, Tommy O’Donnell and Rory Scannell are all on the bench having been released from the extended Ireland squad.
Erasmus has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench, with just Scannell and scrumhalf Angus Lloyd covering the backs. Edinburgh have a number of familiar faces among their replacements, including a couple of former Ulster-born players in Michael Allen and Rory Scholes.
Despite making 11 changes from the side that beat Racing 92 in the Champions Cup final pool match, Erasmus will be reasonably confident that the team in action at Myreside will be good enough to win and in the process reclaim the top spot in the table.
Edinburgh have a fine backrow but they look a little short in the backline. Munster, by contrast, definitely possess a cutting edge. If the visiting pack provides a decent platform, then Munster have the tools to take the points.
EDINBURGH: B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, T Brown; J Tovey, S Kennedy; J Cosgrave, N Cochrane (capt), M McCallum; F McKenzie, B Toolis; M Bradbury, J Hardie, C Du Preez. Replacements: S McInally, D Appiah, N Beavon, L Carmichael, V Mata, S Hidalgo-Clyne, M Allen, R Scholes.
MUNSTER: J Taute; C Nash, F Saili, D Goggin; R O’Mahony; T Bleyendaal (capt), D Williams; P McCabe, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, D Foley; D O’Callaghan, C Oliver, J O’Donoghue. Replacements: K O’Byrne, D Kilcoyne, B Scott, D O’Shea, B Holland, T O’Donnell, A Lloyd, R Scannell.
Referee: B Whitehouse (Wales)