Garryowen star to make Munster Rugby debut against Edinburgh

Leader Reporter


Leader Reporter


Garryowen star to make Munster Rugby debut against Edinburgh

The Munster team to face Edinburgh at Irish Independent Park on Friday night in the Guinness PRO14 has been named by Head Coach Johann van Graan and shows 15 changes from the side that drew with Racing92 last weekend.

Garryowen outhalf Ben Healy makes his first Guinness PRO14 start. The former Nenagh Ormond and Glenstal Abbey player was a Grand Slam winner with the Ireland U20s last year and plays his All Ireland League rugby with Garryowen. 

In the front row, Stephen Archer starts on his 200th Munster appearance as the prop becomes just the 11th Munster man to reach the landmark. UCC's Jack O’Donoghue captains the side with 11 of the starting XV products of the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

Shane Daly starts at full-back with Calvin Nash and Alex Wootton named on either flank. Dan Goggin and Sammy Arnold partner up in the centres with Nick McCarthy in the half-backs alongside Healy.

Liam O’Connor, Rhys Marshall and Archer pack down in the front row with Fineen Wycherley and Darren O’Shea in the engine room. O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell and Arno Botha complete the side.

Munster: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold, Dan Goggin, Alex Wootton; Ben Healy, Nick McCarthy; Liam O’Connor, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea; Jack O’Donoghue (C) Tommy O’Donnell, Arno Botha.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Keynan Knox, Jed Holloway, Conor Oliver, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Rory Scannell.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Rugby welcome back Scotland stars Stuart McInally and Hamish Watson to their starting line-up for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO14 Conference B.

Club captain McInally starts at hooker and makes his first appearance of the season, while Watson is once again fit following an injury sustained against Ireland in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The returning duo are the only additions to the capital side as Head Coach Richard Cockerill names an otherwise unchanged starting XV for tomorrow night’s match against the Conference B leaders in Cork.

Ahead of the fixture, Cockerill, said: “It’s great to have Hamish and Stuart back representing Edinburgh Rugby. They are both special players who are match winners in their own right. It's a big boost for the club to have them once again available for selection.

“We are looking for a reaction after dropping points at home against Bordeaux last weekend, and the squad will be hungry to put in a quality performance against a very tough opposition in Munster.

“We are certainly under no illusions. Munster are the Conference B leaders who have a great home record. However, we’ve selected a very experienced side that travels to Cork with plenty of confidence.”

An unchanged back-three sees Blair Kinghorn – a try-scorer in last weekend’s draw with Bordeaux-Begles – named at fullback, with wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Eroni Sau continuing on opposite flanks.

Scotland centre duo Matt Scott and Mark Bennett once again link-up in midfield, while stand-off Jaco van der Walt - who passed the 250-point mark for the club in last weekend’s European tie – and skipper Henry Pyrgos are selected at half-back.

McInally returns at hooker and packs down alongside Pierre Schoeman and Pietro Ceccarelli in an otherwise unchanged front-row, with club centurions Ben Toolis and Grant Gilchrist both selected in the second-row.

Fijian No. 8 Viliame Mata anchors a back-row that sees 28-times capped Scotland international Watson make his first appearance for the club since April, as blindside flanker Magnus Bradbury completes the pack.

Edinburgh Rugby team to face Munster at Irish Independent Park in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday 29 November (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports

15. Blair Kinghorn (81)
14. Eroni Sau (5)
13. Mark Bennett (27)
12. Matt Scott (88)
11. Duhan van der Merwe (47)
10. Jaco van der Walt (45)
9. Henry Pyrgos (28) CAPTAIN

1. Pierre Schoeman (30)
2. Stuart McInally (137)
3. Pietro Ceccarelli (17)
4. Ben Toolis (112)
5. Grant Gilchrist (140)
6. Magnus Bradbury (69)
7. Hamish Watson (100)
8. Viliame Mata (62)

Replacements: 16. Michael Willemse (7) 17. Rory Sutherland (77) 18. Simon Berghan (69) 19. Lewis Carmichael (38) 20. Ally Miller (14) 21. Charlie Shiel (12) 22. Simon Hickey (24) 23. George Taylor (11)

Unavailable: David Cherry, Ruan Steenkamp, Jack Stanley, John Barclay, Rory Darge, Damien Hoyland, Nic Groom, Jamie Ritchie, WP Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Chris Dean, Luke Crosbie