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Leinster and Munster name sides for Irish Christmas derby

By Kim Ekin
Jonathan Sexton of Leinster is tackled by Jeremy Loughman and Keynan Knox of Munster during the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Munster at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Irish heavyweights Munster and Leinster have revealed their starting lineups for the upcoming URC interprovincial derby at Thomond Park on St Stephen’s Day.


When the sides played in October in Dublin, Leinster ran out comfortable 27-13 winners.

There are two changes to the Munster team that defeated Northampton Saints last week. Shane Daly will start at fullback, with Calvin Nash and Keith Earls retaining their positions on the wings. Jack Crowley and Antoine Frisch will continue to play together in the midfield, with Conor Murray and Joey Carbery occupying the halfback positions.

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In the front row, Dave Kilcoyne makes his first start since October and will join Niall Scannell and John Ryan, while Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne will play in the second row. The starting lineup is rounded out by Jack O’Donoghue, captain Peter O’Mahony, and Gavin Coombes.

Josh Wycherley, Kiran McDonald, and Patrick Campbell of the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy will be among the replacements. McDonald will make his first appearance since the team’s win over South Africa A at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Unfortunately, several players are unavailable for selection due to injuries. Jeremy Loughman, who sustained a knock in training, and Mike Haley and John Hodnett, who did not fully recover from last week’s physical match against Northampton, will all be sitting out.

Leo Cullen has named a Leinster side that is particularly powerful in the backs, while a little lighter in terms of first-team players in the forwards.


Ten players who played in Leinster’s win over Gloucester in the Heineken Champions Cup last week have been named in the starting lineup for the Thomond Park clash. Hugo Keenan will start at fullback, with Jordan Larmour and James Lowe on the wings.

Larmour, who returned from injury last week, will make his first start since early October. Captain Garry Ringrose will start at centre, partnered by Jamie Osborne for the second time this season. Ross Byrne will start at fly-half, with Nick McCarthy making his first start of the season at scrum-half.

In the front row, Porter will be joined by Dan Sheehan and Cian Healy.

Ryan Baird and Joe McCarthy will form the second-row partnership for the first time together. The back row will consist of Rhys Ruddock, Scott Penny, and Max Deegan, with Ross Molony, Jack Conan, and Luke McGrath named as replacements.


15. Hugo Keenan
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose CAPTAIN
12. Jamie Osborne
11. James Lowe
10. Ross Byrne
9. Nick McCarthy
1. Andrew Porter
2. Dan Sheehan
3. Cian Healy
4. Ryan Baird
5. Joe McCarthy
6. Rhys Ruddock
7. Scott Penny
8. Max Deegan

16. John McKee
17. Michael Milne
18. Vakhtang Abdaladze
19. Ross Molony
20. Jack Conan
21. Luke McGrath
22. Harry Byrne
23. Liam Turner

15. Shane Daly
14. Calvin Nash
13. Antoine Frisch
12. Jack Crowley
11. Keith Earls
10. Joey Carbery
9. Conor Murray
1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Tadhg Beirne
6. Jack O’Donoghue
7. Peter O’Mahony (C)
8. Gavin Coombes.

16. Diarmuid Barron
17. Josh Wycherley
18. Roman Salanoa
19. Kiran McDonald
20. Alex Kendellen
21. Craig Casey
22. Rory Scannell
23. Patrick Campbell


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