Ireland’s Under 20 World Cup captain Niall Scannell could well make his senior Munster debut this evening after being drafted onto the replacements bench in place of Damien Varley.
Varley dislocated a finger in the course of the Clermont game but travelled with the squad to Parma with Scannell traveling as cover.
There’s a decidedly callow look to this Munster squad containing as it does now four Academy players and a first time pairing at this level at half back of Cathal Sheridan and JJ Hanrahan. They have played at A level most recently in the March fixture against Leinster at the Sports Bowl in UL, a game that saw a return to action for Paul O’Connell after a long lay-off through injury.
Zebre make no secret of their intentions. They have yet to win a game in this their inaugural season and believe this evening’s game affords them the ideal opportunity to claim a first victory to leave players and supporters in festive mood for the end of season party planned for the clubhouse afterwards.
Zebre have eight losing bonus points to their credit and welcome back Italian internationals Gonzalo Garcia and Davide Giazzon and their leading try scorer number 8 South African Andries Van Schalkwyk.
Munster: D Hurley; R O’Mahony, C Laulala, I Keatley, J Murphy; JJ Hanrahan, C Sheridan; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, J Ryan; B Holland, P O’Connell capt; Dave O’Callaghan, S Dougall, P Butler. Replacements: N Scannell, J Cronin, BJ Botha, I Nagle, B Holland, D Williams, C Bohane, F Jones.
Zebre: R Trevisan; G Venditti, A Benettin, G Garcia, S Sinoti; D Halangahu, T Tebaldi; Matias Aguero, D Glazzon, D Ryan; J Sole M Bartolami capt, F Ferrarini, M Bergamasco, A Van Schalkwyk. Replacements: A Manici, L Leibson, A De Marchi, E Caffini, F Cristiano, A Chillon, M Pratichetti, S Pace