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Reds need Zebre stripes

Zebre v MUNSTER, Stadio XXV Aprile, Today (KO 3.0)

COACH Anthony Foley welcomes with open arms the return of Keith Earls and James Cronin, both on the bench, from injury.

It will be an important moment for Earls when he enters the combat zone for the first time this season from a knee injury suffered in pre-season. Loose-head Cronin could be an even more significant piece of the Munster puzzle as they are not exactly stacked with options in the front row.

JJ Hanrahan will start at inside centre where his skills can be put to proper attacking use outside the man who forced his hand Ian Keatley with Conor Murray at nine.

Foley appears to have stumbled onto his best centre combination with impressive South African Pat Howard making a positive impact.

The Italians must still be hurt from their back-to-back defeats to Treviso. A setback here could really send their season into a tailspin.

A win over Munster would rejuvenate weary bodies and minds.

Zebre: D Odiete; G Venditti, T Iannone, K Haimona, L Sarto; E Padovani, B Leonard; A de Marchi, A Manici, L Redolfini, Q Geldenhuys, M Bortolami (capt), F Cristiano, M Bergamasvo, D van Schalkwyk.

Munster: F Jones; R O'Mahony, P Howard, JJ Hanrahan, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; E Guinazu, K O'Byrne, S Archer, D Foley, B Holland, D O'Callaghan, P O'Mahony, (capt), CJ Stander.

VERDICT: Munster