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Team News | Munster Side To Face Bayonne

December 8, 2023 11:59 am By The Editor

Shay McCarthy starts on his Champions Cup debut.

Shay McCarthy starts on his Champions Cup debut. Inpho

The Munster team has been named for Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup opener against Bayonne at Thomond Park (5.30pm).

Match tickets are available here.

Tadhg Beirne captains the side with six changes to the starting XV from last week’s win over Glasgow Warriors at Musgrave Park.

There are three Academy players in the squad with first year winger Shay McCarthy starting on his Champions Cup debut.

Rory Scannell, Conor Murray, Scott Buckley, John Ryan and Fineen Wycherley also come into the side.

Calvin Nash starts at full-back for Munster for the first time, Tom Ahern makes his first Champions Cup start and Alex Nankivell makes his Champions Cup debut.

Full-back Nash is joined in the back three by wingers McCarthy and Seán O’Brien, who makes his first Champions Cup appearance for Munster.

Scannell and Nankivell start together in midfield with Murray and Jack Crowley in the half-backs.

Jeremy Loughman, Buckley and John Ryan pack down in the front row with Wycherley and captain Beirne in the engine room.

Ahern, John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes start together in the back row for the third game in succession.

Former Academy hooker Eoghan Clarke, who recently rejoined the province on a short-term contract, is among the replacements and is in line to make his Munster debut.

Academy out-half Tony Butler and full-back/winger Ben O’Connor are also included with O’Connor set to make his Champions Cup debut.

Jack O’Donoghue returns from an ankle injury to take his place among the replacements.

On the injury front, Academy lock Edwin Edogbo, Diarmuid Barron, Shane Daly and Oli Jager were unavailable for selection due to minor injuries.

Patrick Campbell (ankle) and Simon Zebo (knee) also miss out.

Keith Earls and Andrew Conway will take to the pitch at half-time with Munster supporters getting the opportunity to show their appreciation for the fantastic contribution they made to Munster Rugby. See full details here.

Munster: Calvin Nash; Shay McCarthy, Alex Nankivell, Rory Scannell, Seán O’Brien; Jack Crowley, Conor Murray; Jeremy Loughman, Scott Buckley, John Ryan; Fineen Wycherley, Tadhg Beirne (C); Tom Ahern, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Eoghan Clarke, Josh Wycherley, Stephen Archer, Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen, Craig Casey, Tony Butler, Ben O’Connor.

Press Pass

Hear from Attack Coach Mike Prendergast and Diarmuid Barron ahead of the game.

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Report | Bayonne Snatch Draw At Thomond

December 9, 2023 8:32 pm By The Editor

Shay McCarthy on his way to scoring his first Munster try.

Shay McCarthy on his way to scoring his first Munster try. Inpho

Munster had to settle for a draw in their opening Investec Champions Cup as Bayonne, making their debut in the competition, came with a late surge to score a converted try three minutes from the end.

Munster led 14-3 at the break in front of a crowd of 18,908 at Thomond Park, having crossed for two good tries.

Bayonne showed from the outset that they were determined to make a mark in their first ever game in the competition and former French scrum-half Maxime Machenaud got them off the mark with a penalty after five minutes.

Munster got on top after that and Limerick native Shay McCarthy, making his Champions Cup debut, crowned the occasion with an excellent try after a good build-up.

Jack Crowley added the conversion to make it 7-5 after ten minutes.

Munster lost winger Seán O’Brien to injury, with Ben O’Connor coming on for his Champions Cup debut at full-back and Calvin Nash moving to the wing.

Munster increased their lead at the end of the opening quarter when a patient build-up through several phases ended with No.8 Gavin Coombes squeezing through under the posts. Crowley’s conversion made it 14-3.

Bayonne created several good chances and they reduced the margin seven minutes after the restart when Fijian Luke Tagi scored, with Machenaud converting to make it 14-10.

Both sides began emptying their benches and Munster extended their lead when Crowley added a penalty after 54 minutes to make it 17-10.

It remained that way until the closing minutes before Bayonne got in for their second try after 77 minutes from winger Rémy Baget and out-half Thomas Dolhagaray landed the difficult conversion from the left to tie the game at 17-17.

Munster piled on the pressure in the closing moments in search of a winning score but Bayonne defended well and the game ended in a draw when a drop-goal from 37 metres from Crowley was off target.

Champions Cup Round 1 Round-Up

Three Academy players featured with Shay McCarthy and Ben O’Connor making their Champions Cup debuts as McCarthy scored his first Champions Cup try.

Seán O’Brien departed for a HIA and will be assessed by the medical department.

Munster: Calvin Nash; Shay McCarthy, Alex Nankivell, Rory Scannell (Tony Butler, 68), Seán O’Brien (Ben O’Connor, 18); Jack Crowley, Conor Murray (Craig Casey, 51); Jeremy Loughman (J Wycherley, 60), Scott Buckley (Eoghan Clarke, 73), John Ryan (Stephen Archer, 51); Fineen Wycherley, Tadhg Beirne (C); Tom Ahern, John Hodnett (Jack O’Donoghue, 73), Gavin Coombes (Alex Kendellen, 55).

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