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Ireland duo unavailable for Munster as derby challenge approaches

Dublin , Ireland - 13 May 2023; Tadhg Beirne of Munster, second from right, celebrates winning a scrum penalty during the United Rugby Championship Semi-Final match between Leinster and Munster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster have named their team to host Leinster in the sold out URC Interpro derby on St, Stephen’s Day, Tuesday December 26, at Thomond Park.


Munster have lost just once at home since the St. Stephen’s Day fixture last year, while Leinster’s only defeat this season was away to Glasgow on the opening weekend.

They have opted for four personnel changes and one positional switch to the side that faced Exeter Chiefs last week. Three Academy players are also in the 23-man squad.

Tighthead prop Oli Jager makes his first start for Munster, joined by Dave Kilcoyne joins Jager in the front row, while Academy lock Edwin Edogbo returns from injury in the second row for his seventh start of the campaign. He will be partnered by Gavin Coombes, who gets set for his 10th appearance of the campaign, having started all of Munster’s games so far this year.

Simon Zebo comes into the side at full-back for his second appearance of the season with Shane Daly moving to the left wing and Calvin Nash keeping his place on the right wing.

Scrum-half Craig Casey and out-half Jack Crowley start together once again with Alex Nankivell and Antoine Frisch in midfield.


Hooker Diarmuid Barron captains the side and packs down with Kilcoyne and Jager in the front row, while the back row of Tom Ahern, John Hodnett and Jack O’Donoghue is unchanged.

In line with IRFU player management guidelines, Tadhg Beirne and Conor Murray were unavailable for selection having featured in all five games since returning from international duty. The duo also played in all five matches of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup campaign in France.

“It’ll be a great scalp for us to take them at St. Stephen’s Day at Thomond,” said coach Graham Rowntree.


15. Simon Zebo, 14. Calvin Nash, 13. Antoine Frisch, 12. Alex Nankivell, 11. Shane Daly; 10. Jack Crowley, 9. Craig Casey; 1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Diarmuid Barron, 3. Oli Jager; 4. Edwin Edogbo, 5. Gavin Coombes; 6. Tom Ahern, 7. John Hodnett, 8. Jack O’Donoghue.
16. Eoghan Clarke, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Stephen Archer, 19. Brian Gleeson, 20. Alex Kendellen, 21. Paddy Patterson, 22. Tony Butler, 23. Seán O’Brien.


15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Jordan Larmour, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Ciarán Frawley, 11. Rob Russell, 10. Harry Byrne, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park, 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Rónan Kelleher, 3. Michael Ala’alatoa, 4. Ross Molony, 5. Joe McCarthy, 6. Max Deegan, 7. Scott Penny, 8. Jack Conan
16. Dan Sheehan, 17. Ed Byrne, 18. Thomas Clarkson, 19. Jason Jenkins, 20. Ryan Baird, 21. Luke McGrath, 22. Liam Turner, 23. Will Connors



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finn 10 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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