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Hanrahan starts ahead of Carbery





It wasn't that long ago that JJ Hanrahan was hailed as the solution to Munster's succession planning.

Ronan O'Gara left a void at out-half at the province that has yet to be filled to the supporters' satisfaction.

For all the hype around Joey Carbery's move from Leinster, the Athy man will begin the season on the bench behind the man with similarly mercurial instincts.

The problem for Hanrahan is that he has never been able to receive the complete trust of a head coach in his time at Munster and at Northampton Saints. Quite simply, the Currow man has never been first-choice.

Full-back Mike Haley, scrum-half Neil Cronin and loose forward Arno Botha will all start for the first time at home to the South Africans.

The selection of Cronin is the most interesting in that he has skipped the queue past James Hart presumably based on the day-to-day grind of pre-season.

Irish Sevens exponent Shane Daly and Darren Sweetnam provide plenty of speed on the outside in behind a competitive pack of forwards.

Captain Billy Holland will have the formidable Jean Kleyn for company in the engine room with Botha supported by Dave O'Callaghan and Tommy O'Donnell.

There is a fear of the unknown about The Cheetahs as they look to bring their away form closer to that of their home performances.

Munster: M Haley; D Sweetnam, D Goggin, R Scannell, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, N Cronin; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, J Ryan, J Kleyn, B Holland (capt), D O'Callaghan, T O'Donnell, A Botha.

Replacements: R Marshall, B Scott, S Archer, D O'Shea, G Coombes; J Hart, J Carbery, S Arnold.

Cheetahs: M Jaer; R Maxwane, B van Rensburg, N Lee, W Small-Smith; T Schoeman, S Venter; O Nche, J du Toit, L de Bruin, J Basson, JP du Preez, J Pokomela, O Mohoje (capt), J Wiese.

Replacements: J Dweba, C Marais, A Coetzee, W Steenkamp, A Davis; T Meyer, E Stapelberg, R Eksteen.

Verdict: Munster

  • MUNSTER v CHEETAHS, Today (KO 5.15), Live eirsport