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He's back! Conor Murray set for first appearance of the season against Zebre

The Munster scrum-half hasn’t featured since Ireland’s tour of Australia during the summer.

Conor Murray is set to make his long-awaited return this weekend.
Conor Murray is set to make his long-awaited return this weekend.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

CONOR MURRAY IS set to make his long-awaited return after being named on the bench for Munster’s trip to Zebre this Sunday [KO 3.30pm, eir Sport].

The Ireland scrum-half hasn’t featured at all for province or country since the tour of Australia this summer, citing a neck injury for keeping him on the sidelines.

The 29-year-old had been expected to play some part in this weekend’s trip to the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi after taking part in full training this week.

Chris Farrell will also be a welcome return for Johann van Graan’s side as he puts his 10-month injury nightmare behind him. Farrell sustained a knee injury whilst on Ireland duty during their Grand Slam winning Six Nations campaign.

He is named on the bench alongside Murray and Conor Oliver.

Conor Murray Conor Murray took part in full training this week and looks set to get some game time against Zebre. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Tyler Bleyendaal will retain the captaincy at inside centre this weekend as van Graan makes a number of changes to the side which beat the Cheetahs 30-26 in South Africa at the start of the month.

Mike Haley retains his spot at full-back, while Ronan O’Mahony makes his first appearance of the season on the right wing, with Alex Wootton lining out on the opposite flank.

Rory Scannell joins Bleyendaal to complete the centre pairing, while Neil Cronin and JJ Hanrahan line up as the half-backs.

In the pack, Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Archer make up the front row as Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea partner in the second row.

Gavin Coombes makes his first start in the Guinness Pro14 alongside Chris Cloete and Arno Botha in the back row.

Munster go in search of a fourth win in their last five league outings against the Italians this weekend. Zebre, meanwhile, have only lost one of their last seven home games in all tournaments.

Munster

15. Mike Haley
14. Ronan O’Mahony
13. Rory Scannell
12. Tyler Bleyendaal
11. Alex Wootton
10. JJ Hanrahan
9. Neil Cronin

1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Kevin O’Byrne
3. Stephen Archer
4. Fineen Wycherley
5. Darren O’Shea
6. Gavin Coombes
7. Chris Cloete
8. Arno Botha

Replacements:

16. Mike Sherry
17. Brian Scott
18. Ciaran Parker
19. Sean O’Connor
20. Conor Oliver
21. Conor Murray
22. Bill Johnston
23. Chris Farrell

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