Munster name three debutants for Anthony Foley's first competitive game

Andrew Smith, Kevin O’Byrne and Shane Buckley all start in the Donncha O’Callaghan-captained XV.

Australian centre Andrew Smith joined from the Brumbies over the summer.
Australian centre Andrew Smith joined from the Brumbies over the summer.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Anthony Foley has named three debutants for tomorrow evening’s season-opening Guinness Pro12 clash with Edinburgh at Thomond Park [KO 19.35].

New Australian centre Andrew Smith will wear the 12 shirt for Foley’s first competitive game in charge of the province, while UL Bohemians hooker Kevin O’Byrne starts, as does No. 8 Shane Buckley – who was voted Academy Player of the Year in May.

Ian Keatley gets his season underway by starting at out-half, partnering Duncan Williams in the halfbacks.

Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway and Ronan O’Mahony make up an exciting back three, while Johne Murphy has been selected at outside centre.

John Ryan and BJ Botha join O’Byrne – who is currently on a three-month training contract with Munster – in the front row, as captain Donncha O’Callaghan and Billy Holland form the lock pairing.

In the back row, Buckley is flanked by Sean Dougall and powerful South African CJ Stander. Among the replacements are Ireland international Tommy O’Donnell and 23-year-old out-half Johnny Holland.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh have named Irish prop John Andress in their starting side to face Munster, with the 30-year-old having joined from Worcester during the off season.

Munster: Ronan O’Mahony; Andrew Conway, Johne Murphy, Andrew Smith, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; John Ryan, Kevin O’Byrne, BJ Botha; Donncha O’Callaghan (capt.), Billy Holland; CJ Stander, Sean Dougall, Shane Buckley.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, Alan Cotter, Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Tommy O’Donnell, Cathal Sheridan, Johnny Holland, Ivan Dineen.

Edinburgh: Jack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife, Sam Beard, Andries Strauss, Tim Visser; Greig Tonks, Sean Kennedy; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford (capt.), John Andress; Fraser McKenzie, Ollie Atkins; Tomas Leonardi, Hamish Watson, Cornell Du Preez.

Replacements: James Hilterbrand, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Mike Coman, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Nick McLennan, Phil Burleigh.

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Murray Kinsella

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