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Dublin: 13°C Monday 14 June 2021
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Carbery and co. bid to finish Munster's season with attacking show in Italy

Johann van Graan has selected a strong matchday 23 for the province’s final game of the campaign.

Joey Carbery is at 10 for Munster today.
Joey Carbery is at 10 for Munster today.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

THIS ISN’T THE season finale Munster hoped for but there are worse places than Parma to wrap up a campaign, with the temperature set to get close to 30°C today.

Johann van Graan’s aim of his side reaching the Rainbow Cup final were quashed earlier this week as Benetton advanced, meaning this meeting with Zebre [KO 6pm Irish time, eir Sport] is a dead rubber in competitive terms.

There should still be a fair degree of entertainment given the lack of pressure on both teams and the weather conditions. Van Graan might have gone for a 6/2 split of forwards and backs on the bench but it would be a surprise if Munster don’t play with lots of attacking intent and ambition.

While Stephen Larkham stressed earlier this week that Conor Murray and Tadhg Beirne wouldn’t be rested, that Lions duo are indeed missing from the matchday 23 as their focus turns towards a training camp in Jersey with Warren Gatland’s squad.

There is, however, plenty of proven quality in Munster’s side as several players look to make a final point and get more minutes in the legs ahead of Ireland boss Andy Farrell settling on his selection for the July Tests against Japan and the US.

Captain Peter O’Mahony will be determined to feature in those international fixtures, as will the halfback pairing of Craig Casey and Joey Carbery. Gavin Coombes and Fineen Wycherley have enjoyed strong seasons that they would love to top off with Ireland debuts and there are several others in this 23 with Test ambitions for next month.

Replacement tighthead prop Roman Salanoa will hope for a good run off the bench having had a few frustrating injury niggles this season, while Jake Flannery and Thomas Ahern will look to impress as they head into their first senior contracts this summer.

There will be farewells this evening too, although CJ Stander won’t get a chance for one last game due to the injuries he sustained in last weekend’s fire pit incident along with Mike Haley, Damian de Allende, and RG Snyman.

billy-holland Billy Holland bows out of professional rugby this evening. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Billy Holland is set for his 247th and final Munster appearance off the bench, with retirement from rugby waiting on the other side. Replacement scrum-half Nick McCarthy is also leaving this summer as he heads back to his native Leinster.

Michael Bradley’s Zebre, for their part, have included Italian internationals like Carlo Canna, exciting fullback Jacopa Trulla, Andrea Lovotti, and the experienced Luca Bigi as they bid to conclude their campaign with an upset.

But it’s hard to see past Munster heading into the summer after a bit of fun in the sun.  

Zebre:

15. Jacopo Trulla
14. Giovanni D’Onofrio
13. Federico Mori
12. Enrico Lucchin
11. Pierre Bruno
10. Carlo Canna
9. Marcello Violi

1. Andrea Lovotti
2. Luca Bigi
3. Matteo Nocera
4. David Sisi
5. Leonard Krumov
6. Iacopo Bianchi
7. Potu Junior Leavasa
8. Renato Giammarioli

Replacements:

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16. Marco Manfredi
17. Daniele Rimpelli
18. Nicolò D’Amico
19. Samuele Ortis
20. Giovanni Licata
21. Nicolò Casilio
22. Filippo Di Marco
23. Michelangelo Biondelli

Munster:

15. Matt Gallagher
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Rory Scannell
11. Liam Coombes
10. Joey Carbery
9. Craig Casey

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Fineen Wycherley
6. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
7. Jack O’Donoghue
8. Gavin Coombes

Replacements:

16. Kevin O’Byrne
17. Liam O’Connor
18. Roman Salanoa
19. Thomas Ahern
20. Billy Holland
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Jake Flannery
23. Chris Cloete

Referee: Andrea Piardi [FIR].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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