Munster Rugby Name Their Team For Final Game Of The Season As Stander Is Denied Farewell
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The Munster side has been named for Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash against Zebre in Parma (6pm Irish time). There are seven changes to the team that secured a bonus-point win over Cardiff Blues last time out.
Skibbereen cousins Liam and Gavin Coombes start together for the third time with Matt Gallagher, Chris Farrell, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan and captain Peter O’Mahony also returning to the side.
Gallagher starts at full-back with Andrew Conway and Coombes lining out on either flank. Rory Scannell and Farrell form the centre partnership with Craig Casey and Joey Carbery continuing at half-back.
Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and Ryan pack down in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley continuing their lock partnership. O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue and Gavin Coombes complete the starting XV.
Academy duo Thomas Ahern and Jake Flannery are among the replacements alongside Billy Holland and Nick McCarthy, who are set to make their final Munster appearances. Holland will play in his 247th and final game for Munster if sprung from the bench. Roman Salanoa is also included among the replacements as he returns from an ankle injury.
CJ Stander meanwhile has been denied a farewell appearance due to injuries sustained from the fire pit accident over the weekend and the fact that Benetton have automatically progressed to the final due to their match with Ospreys being cancelled.
“We’re looking forward to our final game of the season,” Head coach Johann van Graan said.
“Ideally, we would love to still be in with a chance to play for a final but it’s not to be and while guys were disappointed, we still have a competitive game to play.
“No different to any opportunity we get, the lads will want to play for each other and put in a performance and finish the season out on a high.
“We’ve again mixed the side with a good balance of experienced and younger players so it’s another 80 minutes of rugby, and with some players competing for Irish selection also there are plenty of motivating factors.
“For CJ and Mike it was just a case of running out of time and it’s important they and their injuries take the time to heal following last weekend’s accident.”
Munster: Matt Gallagher; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Liam Coombes; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Liam O’Connor, Roman Salanoa, Thomas Ahern, Billy Holland, Nick McCarthy, Jake Flannery, Chris Cloete.