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Team Named | Munster Side To Face Benetton

January 29, 2021 11:55 am By The Editor

Fineen Wycherley and Josh Wycherley start together for the first time on Saturday.

Fineen Wycherley and Josh Wycherley start together for the first time on Saturday. Inpho

The Munster side to face Benetton in Treviso has been named by Head Coach Johann van Graan ahead of Saturday evening’s Guinness PRO14 clash in Italy (5pm Irish time).

Gavin Coombes and Mike Haley are the only players to keep their places following last week’s clash against Leinster with 13 changes to the starting XV.

It’s a real family affair with two sets of brothers and a pair of cousins all starting the game.

Academy prop Josh Wycherley and his brother Fineen start together in red for the first time with the Scannell brothers, Niall and Rory, and Coombes cousins Gavin and Liam also named in the starting XV.

Billy Holland captains the side on his 239th appearance for the province.

Three Academy players are included in the squad as out-half Ben Healy and loosehead prop Josh Wycherley both start with lock Thomas Ahern among the replacements.

Roman Salanoa makes his first PRO14 start at tighthead prop.

Haley starts at full-back with Liam Coombes and Darren Sweetnam on either flank.

Nick McCarthy and Healy team up in the half-backs with a centre partnership of Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin.

Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell and Salanoa pack down in the front row with Fineen Wycherley and Holland in the engine room.

Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete and Gavin Coombes complete the side in the back row as Coombes moves to no.8 having started at no.6 last week.

Replacement Jeremy Loughman is set for his first appearance since October after recovering from a shoulder injury with short-term signing Paddy Patterson in line to make his Munster debut as he provides the scrum-half cover.

Find out all you need to know ahead of the game here.

Munster: Mike Haley; Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam; Ben Healy, Nick McCarthy; Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell, Roman Salanoa; Fineen Wycherley, Billy Holland (C); Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Thomas Ahern, Tommy O’Donnell, Paddy Patterson, JJ Hanrahan, Damian de Allende.

Video | Press Pass

Hear from Billy Holland and Forwards Coach Graham Rowntree ahead of the game.

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Report | Hanrahan Drop-Goal Claims Dramatic Victory

January 30, 2021 7:07 pm By The Editor

JJ Hanrahan kicks the winning drop-goal with the clock in the red.

JJ Hanrahan kicks the winning drop-goal with the clock in the red. Inpho

JJ Hanrahan rescued Munster with a last-gasp drop-goal against Benetton in Treviso on Saturday evening.

The hosts looked like they would claim a one-point victory until Hanrahan stepped up in the final second to land a superb drop-goal.

Munster made the perfect start with Darren Sweetnam scoring the first try after just three minutes thanks to an opportunistic finish.

Mike Haley provided the assist as he lobbed a kick over the Benetton defence with the ball bouncing off Jayden Hayward and rebounding off the corner flag with Sweetnam on the spot to touch down.

The lead was extended thanks to a superb second try on 12 minutes from Niall Scannell with three great offloads and excellent support lines in the build-up.

The move began when Liam Coombes intercepted a loose Benetton pass in midfield and there were offloads from Coombes, Dan Goggin and Nick McCarthy with Scannell finishing off a fine move.

It seemed that Munster would push on when Marco Riccioni was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle on Niall Scannell after 23 minutes but it was the hosts who struck next.

Having gained the upper hand at the breakdown, Benetton were growing into the game and Angelo Esposito finished well in the right corner after a good period of pressure.

Tommaso Allan was narrowly off target with the touchline conversion but kicked two penalties in the final seven minutes of the half to reduce the Munster lead to one point.

Munster had to weather a storm at the start of the second half with Benetton in the ascendancy but fought back well with Healy kicking his first penalty on 54 minutes after a promising attack.

Benetton were back on the front foot after a Federico Ruzza break but strong Munster defence repelled the attack yards from our line.

Mike Haley saved a certain try on 70 minutes as he did brilliantly to tackle Tommaso Benvenuti and hold up the ball over the line.

From the resulting scrum, Benetton took the lead for the first time as Leonardo Sarto finished in the right corner after a well-worked backline move.

Allan was unable to convert but the hosts led 16-15 after 73 minutes.

Munster had barely a sniff of a chance for the final seven minutes but kept their composure as Chris Cloete won a breakdown penalty deep in our own half.

Hanrahan kicked the penalty clear and after going through the phases, Nick McCarthy whipped a pass back for Hanrahan to nail a 38-metre drop-goal with the clock in the red.

Guinness PRO14 Round 5 Round-Up

Roman Salanoa (back) was a late withdrawal from the starting XV.

Three Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players featured – starters Ben Healy and Josh Wycherley and replacement Thomas Ahern.

Munster now lead Guinness PRO14 Conference B by 15 points.

Munster: Mike Haley; Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam (Damian de Allende, 59); Ben Healy (JJ Hanrahan, 58), Nick McCarthy; Josh Wycherley (Jeremy Loughman, 52), Niall Scannell (Kevin O’Byrne, 58), Stephen Archer (John Ryan, 58); Fineen Wycherley (Thomas Ahern, 69), Billy Holland (C); Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, Gavin Coombes (Tommy O’Donnell, 46).

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