Dublin: 15°C Friday 18 June 2021

U20 Grand Slam-winner Hodnett earns start in Munster's pre-season clash with Exiles

Tyler Bleyendaal will captain the southern province, while Tommy O’Donnell, Rory Scannelll and Mike Haley could feature off the bench.

Hodnett makes a break in the Six Nations win over England in Cork.
Hodnett makes a break in the Six Nations win over England in Cork.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

CORKMAN JOHN HODNETT will be on familiar turf when he runs out with Munster for their pre-season clash with London Irish at Musgrave Park on Friday (kick-off 19.30).

The powerful back row was a mainstay of the Ireland U20 pack as they claimed the Grand Slam earlier this year, counting high-scoring home wins over England and France on their way to the title.

Having shined at number eight at age grade, Hodnett is deployed on the openside for Munster this week, with Gavin Coombes wearing eight and Jack O’Donoghue on the blindside.

Tyler Bleyendaal captains the side and is partnered at half-back by Neil Cronin. Dan Goggin and Alex McHenry form the midfield while Darren Sweetnam will get a first start at fullback with Calvin Nash and Liam Coombes on the wings.

Along with Hodnett and McHenry, prop Keynan Knox is poised to make his first start for the senior side. Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea will pack down in the second row.

Four men could make their debut off the Munster bench, among them ex-Leinster 9 Nick McCarthy and two more of this year’s U20 crop Ben Healy and Thomas Ahern.

Munster (v London Irish): Darren Sweetnam; Calvin Nash, Alex McHenry, Dan Goggin, Liam Coombes; Tyler Bleyendaal (Capt), Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Keynan Knox; Darren O’Shea, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, James Cronin, Peter McCabe, Stephen Archer, Thomas Ahern, Seán O’Connor, Arno Botha, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Sullivan, Craig Casey, Nick McCarthy, JJ Hanrahan, Ben Healy, Shane Daly, Rory Scannell, Mike Haley.

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With the warm-up games out of the way, Murray, Bernard and Gavan discuss the renewed cause for optimism, impressive individual player form, and a potential quarter-final versus either South Africa or New Zealand.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Sean Farrell

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