Five academy players in Munster squad to take on Zebre
Michael Bradley has seen his options decimated for Monday’s trip to Thomond Park
Josh Wycherley starts in the Munster frontrow on Monday night. Photograph: Inpho
Munster v Zebre, Thomond Park, Monday, 8.15 – Live on Eir Sport 1
Munster coach Johann van Graan has included five academy players in the matchday 23, two of whom - Jack Daly and Seán French - are in line for senior debuts.
The 22-year-old Currow born flanker Daly, who plays his club rugby with Garryowen, is a former Ireland under-20 and Sevens international. While French, 21, who can play across the three-quarter line and fullback, also represented his country at underage level and has been a key try-scoring presence for Cork Constitution in the All-Ireland League.
They are joined on the bench by secondrow Thomas Ahern and outhalf Ben Healy, while the fifth academy member, prop Josh Wycherley, makes his second start of the season. There are eight changes to the team that demonstrated character and quality in beating Glasgow last time out.
Matt Gallagher switches to fullback, Dan Goggin and Darren Sweetnam come into the backline while JJ Hanrahan and Nick McCarthy (making his first start this season at scrumhalf) are the other changes to the backline.
Josh Wycherley and Rhys Marshall are named in the frontrow, Fineen Wycherley moves to the secondrow to partner Billy Holland, while Jack O’Donoghue and Chris Cloete are named at six and seven. The latter is back after a neck injury and they join Gavin Coombes, man of the match in the last two games, in the backrow.
Liam O’Connor is named among the replacements and set for his first Munster appearance in 11 months.
Zebre coach Michael Bradley has seen his options decimated by international call-ups and injury. He includes seven players from the Italian Championship, five of whom are on debut.
MUNSTER: M Gallagher; C Nash, D Goggin, D de Allende, D Sweetnam; JJ Hanrahan, N McCarthy; J Wycherley, R Marshall, S Archer; F Wycherley, B Holland (capt); J O’Donoghue, C Cloete, G Coombes.
Replacements: D Barron, L O’Connor, K Knox, T Ahern, J Daly, C Casey, B Healy, SFrench.
ZEBRE: J Laloifi; G D’Onorfrio, G Bisegni, E Lucchin, P Bruno; P Pescetto, A Fusco; R Brugnara, M Manfredi, A Tarus; G Venditti, L Krumov; M Kearney, A Mordacci, L Masselli.
Replacements: M Ceciliani, A Lovotti, M Nocera, A Chianucci, O Fabiani, S Marinaro, A Forcucci, J Elliot.
Referee: B Whitehouse (Wales).