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Double blow for Munster as team named for Exeter Chiefs

By Ian Cameron
Peter O'Mahony and Johaan Van Graan (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Munster have suffered a double blow as they named their team to take on Exeter Chiefs in this weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 fixture.

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The Irish province will be without captain Peter O’Mahony and flyhalf Joey Carbery for the first leg of the doubleheader with Rob Baxter’s Exeter.

“On the injury front, Peter O’Mahony and Joey Carbery were both unavailable for selection,” said Munster in a statement. “A hamstring complaint has ruled out O’Mahony with the Munster captain to be reassessed on Monday ahead of the return fixture at Thomond Park.

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“Carbery presented with a low-grade leg/knee injury following the Leinster clash but is expected to make his return to full training on Monday.”

The Limerick-based side have already lost star No.8 Gavin Coombes for the fixture. Coombes was removed from the action last weekend against Leinster and is unlikely to play again this season.

“Gavin Coombes has undergone surgery on the ankle injury he suffered against Leinster and has been ruled out until May.”

Jack O’Donoghue captains the province in the Champions Cup for the first time. There’s a total of eight changes to the side that were defeated by Leinster in the United Rugby Championship derby.

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The highly-rated Ben Healy starts in place of Carbery at 10.

There is some good news on the injury front however, with Mike Haley, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo and Jean Kleyn all returning to the starting XV after “recent knocks”.

In form Alex Kendellen starts at No.8 in place of Coombes and he is joined by John Hodnett and O’Donoghue in the backrow.

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Simon Zebo; Ben Healy, Conor Murray; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen.

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REPLACEMENTS: Diarmuid Barron, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan, Jason Jenkins, Thomas Ahern, Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Jack O’Sullivan.

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