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Dublin: 11°C Friday 16 April 2021
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Rassie Erasmus names strong Munster XV for visit of Worcester as campaign opener nears

Meanwhile, Charles Piutau starts for Ulster again.

Tyler Bleyendaal will start in Cork tomorrow.
Tyler Bleyendaal will start in Cork tomorrow.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WITH THE NEW season just a week away, Munster’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has selected a strong team to face Worcester in Friday’s pre-season friendly (kick-off 7pm).

Ireland internationals Simon Zebo, Tommy O’Donnell and James Cronin will all make their first appearance of the season while Tyler Bleyendaal returns from injury to start at out-half.

New signing Jean Kleyn will make his debut for the province in Cork as he partners captain Billy Holland in the second row.

After beating Zebre 17-0 last weekend, Erasmus will be hoping for a stiffer test for his players tomorrow evening with the Pro12 campaign opener against Scarlets looming large.

The return of Bleyendaal is a welcome one after the the Kiwi made just five appearances last year before suffering a quad injury. He partners Duncan Williams in the half backs while academy player Dan Goggin gets his first senior start in midfield.

Simon Zebo and Darren O'Shea Simon Zebo is back and raring to go. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A further three academy talents — Brian Scott, Conor Oliver and Stephen Fitzgerald — are included on the bench with recent academy graduate Alex Wootton set to win his first senior cap at Musgrave Park.

There is, however, unfortunate news for the luckless Mike Sherry who faces three to four months on the sideline after undergoing a procedure on his back.

Munster (v Worcester):

15. Simon Zebo
14. Darren Sweetnam
13. Dan Goggin
12. Rory Scannell
11. Ronan O’Mahony
10. Tyler Bleyendaal
9. Duncan Williams

1. James Cronin
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Billy Holland (captain)
6. Dave O’Callaghan
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. Jack O’Donoghue

Replacements:

Duncan Casey
Peter McCabe
John Andress
Brian Scott
Darren O’Shea
Dave Foley
Conor Oliver
Robin Copeland
Tomás O’Leary
Ian Keatley
Alex Wootton
Cian Bohane
Colm O’Shea
Stephen Fitzgerald

________________

Meanwhile, Charles Piutau is at fullback for Ulster again as they welcome Northampton Saints to Kingspan Stadium tomorrow evening (kick-off 7pm).

Academy wing Robert Lyttle, who scored two excellent tries last weekend against Exeter, starts on the wing, while Paul Marshall comes in at scrum-half. Andy Warwick comes into the front row.

Ulster (v Northampton):

15. Charles Piutau
14. Louis Ludik
13. Darren Cave
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Robert Lyttle
10. Brett Herron
9. Paul Marshall

1. Andy Warwick
2. Rob Herring (captain)
3. Rodney Ah You
4. Peter Browne
5. Franco van der Merwe
6. Robbie Diack
7. Clive Ross
8. Roger Wilson

Replacements:

16. John Andrew
17. Callum Black
18. Ross Kane
19. Alan O’Connor
20. Conor Joyce
21. Matthew Rea
22. Dave Shanahan
23. Sam Windsor
24.Jacob Stockdale

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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