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Team Named | Munster Side To Face Zebre

February 20, 2020 12:04 pm By The Editor

Team Named | Munster Side To Face Zebre

Niall Scannell captains the side against Zebre. Niall Scannell captains the side

The Munster side to take on Zebre at Milan’s Stadio Giovanni Mari on Friday night in the Guinness PRO14 has been named (8.35pm local/7.35pm Irish).

Head Coach Johann van Graan makes six changes to the side that defeated Southern Kings in Cork last week.

Van Graan hands the captaincy to hooker Niall Scannell for the first time.

James Cronin, Scannell and John Ryan make up the unchanged international front row.

Darren O’Shea links up with Fineen Wycherley in the engine room, as Chris Cloete and the Academy’s Jack O’Sullivan join Arno Botha in the back row.  Botha makes the positional switch to start at blindside for the first time.

Craig Casey is introduced to partner JJ Hanrahan in the half-backs.

Rory Scannell and Sammy Arnold form the centre partnership this week, as the back three of Mike Haley, Calvin Nash and Shane Daly remain in situ.

Tommy O’Donnell and Darren Sweetnam are in line for a return to action with both named in the replacements after overcoming respective hamstring injuries.  O’Donnell last lined out against Leinster in December, while Sweetnam has been sidelined since the Cheetahs in October.

It will be a proud day for the Scannell/O’Sullivan family as Niall gets to lead his brother Rory and cousin Jack out on the field for the first time.

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Craig Casey; James Cronin, Niall Scannell (c), John Ryan; Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea; Arno Botha, Chris Cloete, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Gavin Coombes, Tommy O’Donnell, Neil Cronin, Dan Goggin, Darren Sweetnam.

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Report | Bonus-Point Win For Munster Over Zebre

February 21, 2020 10:01 pm By The Editor

Tommy O’Donnell on the charge against Zebre.

Tommy O’Donnell on the charge against Zebre. Inpho

A Man of the Match performance from JJ Hanrahan led Munster to another bonus-point win in the Guinness PRO14 away to 14-man Zebre in Milan on Friday night.

The out-half continued his brilliant form with the boot that has now seen him kick 20 successive kicks at goal in the PRO14.

The out-half also scored a try of his own as Calvin Nash, Rory Scannell and the returning Darren Sweetnam touched down in a hard-fought win.

Munster are back in action at Thomond Park against Conference B rivals Scarlets on Saturday at 5pm. Buy tickets here.

Academy out-half Jake Flannery made his Munster debut as a replacement with the Tipperary man included on the bench after Shane Daly (glute) pulled up in the warm-up and Sweetnam moved into the starting XV.

Both sides stood for a minute’s silence before kick-off to honour the memory of former Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald after his passing last Friday.

Pierre Bruno missed a long-range penalty for Zebre early on and the winger was sent off on 10 minutes for leading with an elbow as he carried into contact with Chris Cloete.

Munster hit the front on 11 minutes after their first real attack of note. A good lineout maul trundled into the Zebre half and Calvin Nash chased superbly to just about get downward pressure on Craig Casey’s clever kick in behind the defence,

It was Nash’s second try in two weeks and JJ Hanrahan added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Munster needed strong maul defence to keep out Zebre after 20 minutes and Niall Scannell, who captained Munster for the first time, departed after 20 minutes with an ankle injury picked up in the defensive effort. Kevin O’Byrne replaced him with Rory Scannell taking over the captaincy.

Despite being down a man, Zebre took the game to the visitors for the remainder of the half with Munster glad to lead by seven points at the interval.

Munster were in for their second try on 52 minutes after a decent spell of pressure with Hanrahan crossing in the corner and converting for a 14-0 lead.

Hanrahan then assisted Munster’s third try on 57 minutes with Rory Scannell crossing to put the game beyond Zebre and the conversion have Munster a 21-0 lead.

The chase was on for the bonus point and despite having to soak up more Zebre pressure, the crucial fourth try arrived on 73 minutes with Hanrahan again on target to cap off an important win.

Guinness PRO14 Round 12 Round-Up

Academy player Jack O’Sullivan started the game and fellow Academy man Jake Flannery made his debut as a replacement.

Niall Scannell captained Munster for the first time but departed with an ankle knock in the first half with Craig Casey (wrist) replaced in the second half.

Man of the Match JJ Hanrahan has now kicked 20 successive place kicks in the PRO14.

Tommy O’Donnell and Darren Sweetnam both returned from injury in the clash.

The win sees Munster stay second in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14.

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold (Dan Goggin, 63), Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam (Jake Flannery, 75); JJ Hanrahan, Craig Casey (Neil Cronin, 44); James Cronin (Jeremy Loughman, 48), Niall Scannell (C) (Kevin O’Byrne, 20), John Ryan (Stephen Archer, 48); Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea (Gavin Coombes, 64); Arno Botha (Tommy O’Donnell, 64), Chris Cloete, Jack O’Sullivan.

Final 5 Home Games

Saturday, February 29

Munster v Scarlets, Thomond Park, 5pm; Buy tickets here

Friday, March 27

Munster v Benetton Rugby, Irish Independent Park, 7.35pm; Buy Early Bird tickets here (Early bird closes on February 26)

Saturday, April 11

Munster v Cardiff Blues, Thomond Park, 3pm; Buy Early Bird tickets here (Early bird closes on March 2)

Saturday, April 25

Munster v Glasgow Warriors, Thomond Park, 5pm; Buy Early Bird tickets here (Early bird closes on March 2)

Weekend of May 29/30

Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park; Buy Early Bird tickets here (Early bird closes on March 2)

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