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First start for Frisch as Munster name team to play South Africa A

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Graham Rowntree has named his Munster team to take on South Africa A in Cork on Thursday, changing seven of the XV beaten by Ulster last time out in the URC and handing new signing Antoine Frisch his first start.

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Frisch, the Irish-qualified Frenchman, joined Munster on a three-year deal from Bristol during the summer but having debuted off the bench in Cardiff in September, he was injured in South Africa when touring with Simon Easterby’s Emerging Ireland and it is only now that he is poised to wear the No13 Munster shirt for the first time.

A statement read: “The sell-out game will see 41,400 supporters make their way to Pairc Ui Chaoimh for the largest-ever attendance at a rugby game in the province. There are seven changes to the side that faced Ulster at Thomond Park last time out. Jack O’Donoghue captains Munster with three academy players named in the squad.

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“Academy lock Edwin Edogbo keeps his place in the second row with Cian Hurley and Patrick Campbell among the replacements. Antoine Frisch makes his first start for Munster after recovering from a calf injury suffered on the Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa.

“Kiran McDonald partners Edogbo in the second row on his first Munster appearance after joining on a short-term deal last month. Simon Zebo, Ben Healy, Josh Wycherley, Roman Salanoa and Gavin Coombes also come into the starting XV.”

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Former All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa has been named on the bench following last weekend’s international duty with Tonga. Rory Scannell and Niall Scannell are the only two players in the Munster matchday 23 squad who played in the Irish province’s last game against a touring side, the Maori All Blacks, in 2016.

MUNSTER: 15. Mike Haley; 14. Shane Daly, 13. Antoine Frisch, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Simon Zebo; 10. Ben Healy, 9. Paddy Patterson; 1. Josh Wycherley, 2. Diarmuid Barron, 3. Roman Salanoa, 4. Edwin Edogbo, 5. Kiran McDonald, 6. Jack O’Donoghue (capt), 7. John Hodnett, 8. Gavin Coombes. Reps: 16. Niall Scannell, 17. Liam O’Connor, 18. Keynan Knox, 19. Cian Hurley, 20. Alex Kendellen, 21. Neil Cronin, 22. Patrick Campbell, 23. Malakai Fekitoa.

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Jon 7 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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