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Waterford man O'Donoghue captains Munster as Grobler gets first start

Out-half Tyler Bleyendaal is back on the Munster bench after recovering from injury.

MUNSTER BOSS JOHANN van Graan has named Jack O’Donoghue captain for the first time at senior level for tomorrow’s Guinness Pro14 clash with the Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park [KO 5.30pm, Sky Sports].

O’Donoghue, a product of Waterpark RFC, will become the first Waterford man to captain Munster in the professional era, having previously led the province’s ‘A’ team.

Jack O’Donoghue O'Donoghue will lead Munster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Van Graan’s XV for tomorrow night shows 10 changes to the side that beat Zebre last weekend, with Ronan O’Mahony and Stephen Fitzgerald – fresh from signing a new contract – making their first starts of the season in the back three.

South African lock Gerbrandt Grobler gets his first Pro14 start, having made his debut off the bench against Zebre, while out-half Tyler Bleyendaal has recovered from a long-term neck injury to take a place among the replacements.

There is a brand-new front row in the shape of Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall and John Ryan, while Darren O’Shea partners Grobler in the engine room and O’Donoghue, Copeland and Chris Cloete form the back row.

Ian Keatley returns at out-half to make up the halfback pairing with Duncan Williams, while Rory Scannell and Sammy Arnold are the centres. James Hart features on the Munster bench for the first time since December.

Munster are currently second in Conference A of the Pro14, 12 points behind leaders Glasgow, while the Blues are in fourth.

South African referee Stuart Berry will be in charge of tomorrow night’s tie in Cardiff.

Munster:

15. Stephen Fitzgerald
14. Darren Sweetnam
13. Sammy Arnold
12. Rory Scannell
11. Ronan O’Mahony
10. Ian Keatley
9. Duncan Williams

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Rhys Marshall
3. John Ryan
4. Gerbrandt Grobler
5. Darren O’Shea
6. Jack O’Donoghue (captain)
7. Chris Cloete
8. Robin Copeland

Replacements:

16. Mike Sherry
17. James Cronin
18. Stephen Archer
19. Jean Kleyn
20. Dave O’Callaghan
21. James Hart
22. Tyler Bleyendaal
23. Simon Zebo

Cardiff Blues:

15. Rhun Williams
14. Aled Summerhill
13. Garyn Smith
12. Rey Lee-Lo
11. Owen Lane
10. Jarrod Evans
9. Lloyd Williams

1. Gethin Jenkins (captain)
2. Matthew Rees
3. Taufa’ao Filise
4. George Earle
5. Seb Davies
6. Macauley Cook
7. Ellis Jenkins
8. Nick Williams

Replacements:

16. Kirby Myhill
17. Rhys Gill
18. Dillon Lewis
19. Josh Turnbull
20. Olly Robinson
21. Tomos Williams
22. Steven Shingler
23. Ryan Edwards

Referee: Stuart Berry [SARU].

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Murray Kinsella

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