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Two late changes for Munster, including the absence of Simon Zebo

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Irish hopes that Munster can ambush Exeter in their round of 16 Heineken Champions Cup clash in England on Saturday evening have been dented by two late withdrawals from their matchday 23, with Simon Zebo among the casualties. 


The 32-year-old had come through unscathed after completing his recent return to play protocols for a head knock and was named on Friday in the Munster team to start at Sandy Park. However, his province have now confirmed that he will miss the match along with replacement Diarmuid Barron as both have taken ill.

A tweet from Munster read: “Team changes for #EXEvMUN. Shane Daly will start in place of Simon Zebo and academy hooker Scott Buckley takes the place of Diarmuid Barron in the replacements. Both Zebo and Barron are ruled out with acute gastro.”

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The loss of Zebo is the latest big blow for Munster heading into the first leg of the two-legged tie against the 2020 Gallagher Premiership and Champions Cup double champions. 

It was Friday when they confirmed they would be without skipper Peter O’Mahony and out-half Joey Carbery for the difficult assignment in Devon. Both will be reassessed on Monday to check their availability for next Saturday’s second leg in Limerick.  


“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,” read the Munster team announcement. “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.”


All these absences have come on top of the loss of Gavin Coombes, the No8 whose ankle injury in last weekend’s URC loss to Leinster required surgery that will sideline him until next month.

MUNSTER (revised, vs Exeter): Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; Ben Healy, Conor Murray; Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue (capt), John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen. Reps: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan, Jason Jenkins, Thomas Ahern, Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Jack O’Sullivan.


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