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Team News | Munster Side To Face Connacht

December 30, 2023 12:05 pm By The Editor

Tony Butler starts at out-half.

Tony Butler starts at out-half. Inpho

The Munster side has been named for the New Year’s Day URC Interpro derby against Connacht at The Sportsground (3pm).

There are seven personnel changes and one positional switch from the side that faced Leinster four days ago as hooker Eoghan Clarke makes his first start for Munster.

Tadhg Beirne returns to captain the side with Fineen Wycherley back after a shoulder injury as Academy out-half Tony Butler, Conor Murray, Rory Scannell and Jeremy Loughman also slot into the starting XV.

There is a positional switch for Gavin Coombes as he moves into the back row.

Simon Zebo, Calvin Nash and Shane Daly start in an unchanged back three.

Scannell and Antoine Frisch partner up in midfield with Murray and Butler in the half-backs.

Loughman, Clarke and Oli Jager pack down in the front row with Wycherley and Beirne in the engine room.

Tom Ahern, John Hodnett and Coombes complete the side with Hodnett making his 50th Munster appearance.

Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley and John Ryan provide the front row back-up with Jack O’Donoghue and Alex Kendellen completing the forward cover.

Paddy Patterson, Seán O’Brien and Academy winger Shay McCarthy are the backline replacements.

In line with IRFU player management guidelines, Craig Casey and Jack Crowley were unavailable for selection.

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

Munster: Simon Zebo; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Tony Butler, Conor Murray; Jeremy Loughman, Eoghan Clarke, Oli Jager; Fineen Wycherley, Tadhg Beirne (C); Tom Ahern, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan, Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen, Paddy Patterson, Seán O’Brien, Shay McCarthy.

Press Pass

Hear from John Hodnett and Forwards Coach Andi Kyriacou ahead of the game.


Champions Cup Round 4: Saturday, January 20

Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 5.30pm; Buy tickets here

Saturday, February 3

Munster Rugby v Crusaders, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 5pm; SOLD OUT

URC Round 11: Friday, March 1

Munster v Zebre Parma, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 13: Saturday, March 30

Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 16: Saturday, May 11

Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 18: Saturday, June 1

Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

Munster - Match Page - Lineups - Preview

Report | Munster Beaten In Galway

January 1, 2024 6:08 pm By The Editor

John Hodnett made his 50th Munster appearance against Connacht.

John Hodnett made his 50th Munster appearance against Connacht. Inpho

Connacht pulled away from Munster in the final quarter to claim the spoils on a wet and windy afternoon at the Sportsground.

The sides were level going into the final quarter but two more penalties from former Munster player JJ Hanrahan and the only try of the game in the closing stages from prop Jack Aungier ensured Munster left Galway empty-handed.

Munster were forced to make a couple of pre-match changes when hooker Eoghan Clarke and lock Fineen Wycherley joined an already lengthy casualty.

Graham Rowntree’s men were then forced to make two further changes in the opening half when tighthead Oli Jager, with a head injury, and No.8 Jack O’Donoghue, with a knee injury, were stretchered off.

Gavin Coombes, who switched to the second row after Fineen Wycherley’s withdrawal, had a try ruled out after three minutes when he charged down Caolin Blade’s clearance but was adjudged to have a knee over the dead-ball line by the time he touched down after sliding through.

Hanrahan got Connacht off the mark with a penalty after 17 minutes but Tony Butler levelled five minutes later with a penalty.

Munster tried to use the strong wind and Butler executed a superb 50:22 after 26 minutes but they were unable to make the chance count.

Butler edged Munster back in front seven minutes from the break without another penalty and Connacht ended the half down a man when winger Byron Ralston was binned for a tackle on O’Donoghue.

Connacht, with the wind behind them on the restart, levelled when Hanrahan converted a 35-metre penalty Munster hit back and worked their way upfield with a few penalties before Butler edged them back in front after 58 minutes.

Hanrahan levelled three minutes later when Hanrahan converted from 25 metres to tie the game at 9-9. Connacht went ahead 14 minutes from time with another penalty and Hanrahan slotted the penalty from 25 metres to lead 12-9.

They doubled the lead eight minutes from time when Hanrahan landed his fifth penalty from distance, and Munster were denied a bonus point when replacement prop Aungier got over for the only try of the game in the closing minutes.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Tony Butler (Sean O’Brien, 72), Conor Murray (Paddy Patterson, 75); Jeremy Loughman (Josh Wycherley, 78), Scott Buckley, Oli Jager (inj, John Ryan, 11); Gavin Coombes, Tadhg Beirne (C); Tom Ahern, John Hodnett (Brian Gleeson, 78), Jack O’Donoghue (inj, Alex Kendellen, 40).

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