Jack O’Donoghue becomes 1st Waterford man to captain Munster in the professional era on Saturday

Munster Rugby Head Coach, Johann van Graan has named his side for the Guinness Pro14 game away to Cardiff Blues  on Saturday, with a 5.30pm kick-off.

24-year-old Jack O’Donoghue will make Munster Rugby history when he becomes the first Waterford player to captain Munster in the professional era having previously captained Munster ‘A’ along with Waterpark, and both Munster and Ireland at underage level.

South African Van Graan had made a total of 10 changes from the side that recorded a bonus-point win over Zebre at Thomond Park last Saturday.

Stephen Fitzgerald, who has signed a new contract with the province, will play his first game of the season, having been named at full-back. Ronan O’Mahony, who also makes his seasonal debut, has been named on the left wing, with Cork’s Darren Sweetnam on the right.

Ireland international Rory Scannell will partner Sam Arnold in the centre with Ian Keatley and Duncan Williams chosen as the half back pairing.

In the front row Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall and Stephen Archer all return, while Gerbrandt Grobler will make his first start in the Guinness PRO14, partnering Darren O’Shea in the second row.

Jack O’Donoghue and last weekend’s Man of the Match against Zebre, No.8 Robin Copeland, will be joined in the back row by South African Chris Cloete at openside flanker.

Tyler Bleyendaal, out of action with a neck injury since last October’s European Rugby Champions Cup game against Castres, is named on the bench, alongside hooker Mike Sherry who looks set to make just his third appearance of the season.

Props James Cronin and Stephen Archer also named on the bench by van Graan, with Jean Kleyn providing second row cover.

Flanker Dave O’Callaghan returns from a knee injury, while scrum-half James Hart is set to make his first appearance since December. France-bound Simon Zebo completes the Munster replacements bench.

Munster Team:

15. Stephen Fitzgerald, 14. Darren Sweetnam, 13. Sam 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.

Munster 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.

The game will be live on Sky Sports.

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