Munster Rugby Head Coach Johann van Graan and London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney have both named extended squads of 30 and 29 players respectively for their Kearys Renault Series 2018 pre-season clash at Irish Independent Park, Cork, on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
Tommy O’Donnell will captain Munster for the first time since leading the province to a win over the Maori All Blacks in November 2016 for the clash with former Munster Rugby Head Coach Kidney’s Exiles side on the modified 3G pitch in Cork.
Van Graan names Stephen Fitzgerald at full-back with Calvin Nash and Darren Sweetnam on either wing.
Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin will start the game as the centres with James Hart and JJ Hanrahan chosen as the half-backs.
Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne and Brian Scott make up the front row with Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea in the second row.
Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell and Greencore Munster Rugby Academy player Gavin Coombes form the back row.
Tipperary prop Cronan Gleeson, who has trained with the squad during pre-season, is among the front row replacements alongside Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry and Ciaran Parker.
Billy Holland, Jean Kleyn and Academy players Seán O’Connor and Jack Daly complete the forward cover.
Munster Rugby’s new signings Neil Cronin and Mike Haley are named on the replacements bench alongside Ian Keatley and Academy players Jack Stafford, Alex McHenry and Liam Coombes, with Gleeson, Daly, McHenry, Coombes and Haley all set to make their first senior appearances for Munster Rugby on Friday night.
Munster Rugby Team
15. Stephen Fitzgerald, 14. Calvin Nash, 13. Dan Goggin, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Darren Sweetnam, 10. JJ Hanrahan, 9. James Hart.
- Jeremy Loughman, 2. Kevin O’Byrne, 3. Brian Scott, 4. Fineen Wycherley, 5. Darren O’Shea, 6. Dave O’Callaghan, 7. Tommy O’Donnell (captain), 8. Gavin Coombes.
Munster Rugby Replacements:
- Mike Sherry, 17. Cronan Gleeson, 18. Dave Kilcoyne, 19. Ciaran Parker, 20. Billy Holland, 21. Jean Kleyn, 22. Seán O’Connor, 23. Jack Daly, 24. Neil Cronin, 25. Jack Stafford, 26. Ian Keatley, 27. Shane Daly, 28. Alex McHenry, 29. Liam Coombes, 30. Mike Haley.
Declan Kidney, who won two European Rugby Champions Cup titles during his tenure with Munster before leading Ireland to a Grand Slam, has named five of London Irish’s nine summer signings in the squad with No. 8 Matt Rogerson getting the nod from the start.
Stephen Myler, Sam Twomey, Barney Maddison and USA international centre Bryce Campbell are amongst the replacements, while Jack O’Sullivan and Seán O’Hagan will be looking to impress off the bench.
Scotland international Gordon Reid packs down at loose-head alongside hooker Dave Porecki and tight-head Ollie Hoskins, with Teofilo Paulo and Sebastian De Chaves providing the physical battle in the engine room.
Josh McNally and Max Northcote-Green start at blindside and openside flanker respectively, the duo supported by Rogerson in the back-row.
The starting backline sees a mixture of youth and experience, with Scotland capped Greig Tonks orchestrating affairs from full-back and club-record try-scorer Topsy Ojo occupying the wing. Ollie Hassell-Collins starts on the left wing, while centres Matt Williams and Fergus Mulchrone combine at the heart of Irish’s back division.
London Irish Team:
15. Greig Tonks, 14. Topsy Ojo, 13. Matt Williams, 12. Fergus Mulchrone, 11. Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10. Theo Brophy Clews, 9. Ben Meehan.
- Gordon Reid, 2. Dave Porecki, 3. Ollie Hoskins, 4. Teofilo Paulo, 5. Sebastian de Chaves, 6. Josh McNally, 7. Max Northcote-Green, 8. Matt Rogerson.
London Irish Replacements:
16. Saia Fainga’a, 17. Harry Elrington, 18. Petrus du Plessis, 19. Barney Maddison, 20. Sam Twomey, 21. Brendan McKibbin, 22. Stephen Myler, 23. Jack O’Sullivan, 24. Isaac Curtis-Harris, 25. Jake Schatz, 26. Bryce Campbell, 27. Reuben Knight, 28. Scott Steele, 29. Seán O’Hagan.