Munster’s Possible Starting XV For Next Season Looks Pretty Formidable
Munster completed the somewhat unexpected signing of Leinster playmaker Joey Carbery yesterday on a reported two-year deal, in a move that has the entire province hugely excited ahead of next season.
The southern province have struggled to replace the legendary Ronan O’Gara ever since he retired from the game back in 2013, with the likes of Ian Keatley, JJ Hanrahan and Tyler Bleyendaal not quite living up to expectations.
Carbery is Munster’s fifth new addition ahead of next season, with AIL star Neil Cronin, Scarlets and Ireland lock Tadhg Beirne, Sale fullback Mike Haley and South Africa flanker Arno Botha all set to wear red next season.
While they have lost the services of Simon Zebo, Robin Copeland and Gerbrandt Grobler, Munster fans will feel they’ve done pretty well to replace them. Carbery’s addition in particular will feel like the southern province finally have that ‘missing piece’ of the puzzle in place, allowing them to finally push on and get back to the top.
But what is Munster’s strongest side now for next season? Is there still room for the likes of JJ Hanrahan at fullback maybe? Who will start in the centre? Chris Farrell and Jaco Taute missed much of last season, but Rory Scannell and Sam Arnold did a hell of job in their place.
You’ve also got Chris Cloete coming back in after his bad arm break, leaving Munster with some real options.
15. Mike Haley/JJ Hanrahan/Andrew Conway
14. Keith Earls/Darren Sweetnam
13. Chris Farrell/Sam Arnold/Dan Goggin
12. Jaco Taute/Rory Scannell/Bleyendaal
11. Andrew Conway/Alex Wootton
10. Joey Carbery/Bleyendaal/Hanrahan/Keatley
9. Conor Murray/Neil Cronin/James Hart
1. Dave Kilcoyne/James Cronin
2. Rhys Marshall/Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan/Stephen Archer
4. Tadhg Beirne/Fineen Wycherly
5. Jean Kleyn/Billy Holland
6. Peter O’Mahony/Arno Botha/Jack O’Donoghue
7. Chris Cloete/Tommy O’Donnell/Conor Oliver
8. CJ Stander/Arno Botha/Jack O’Donoghue
Based on that, here’s what we think is Munster’s strongest XV when everyone is fit. The two big battles will likely be Rory Scannell and Jaco Taute along with his brother Niall battling Rhys Marshall for a starting spot.