Craig Casey and Jack Crowley get the nod to start for Munster in crucial Champions Cup clash with the Sharks
Munster head coach Graham Rowntree has made some big selection calls ahead of tomorrow’s Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 clash with the Sharks in Durban (12.30).
Craig Casey and Jack Crowley have been given the nod at half-back ahead of the more experienced duo Conor Murray and Joey Carbery.
In what is a major boost to Munster, RG Snyman has been deemed fit enough to start only his second game since joining the province, while fresh from helping Ireland win the Grand Slam, Peter O’Mahony returns to captain the side.
Snyman has made a successful comeback from back-to-back ACL injuries in recent weeks, and his inclusion against his compatriots could prove decisive, as Rowntree looks to add more ballast to his pack.
Antoine Frisch returns from injury, having missed last weekend’s disappointing home defeat to Glasgow, to partner Malakai Fekitoa in midfield. Mike Haley, Calvin Nash and Shane Daly continue in the back-three, with Casey and Crowley hoping to justify what is a big show of faith in them.
Up front, Niall Scannell is fit-again to start at a hooker in a front-row alongside Dave Kilcoyne and Roman Salanoa.
Snyman partners his fellow South African Jean Kleyn in the second-row, while O’Mahony makes up the back-row with John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes.
Rowntree has opted for a 6/2 split on the bench, with Carbery and Murray the two backs, along with forwards Diarmuid Barron, Josh Wycherley, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue and Alex Kendellen.
Meanwhile, the Sharks will be led by Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, while former Munster lock Gerbrandt Grobler partners South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth in the engine room.
Another ex-Munster man Thomas du Toit is at tighthead, with Bok stars Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am also included in the back-line.
Sharks – B Chamberlin; W Kok, L Am, R Janse van Rensburg, M Mapimpi; C Bosch, J Hendrikse; O Nché, B Mbonambi, T du Toit; E Etzebeth, G Grobler; S Kolisi (capt), V Tshituka, S Notshe. Reps: E van Vuuren, M Mchunu, C Sadie, E van Heerden, P Buthelezi, G Williams, T Tapuai, T Abrahams.
Munster – M Haley; C Nash, A Frisch, M Fekitoa, S Daly; J Carbery, C Casey; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, R Salanoa; J Kleyn, RG Snyman; P O’Mahony (capt), J Hodnett, G Coombes. Reps: D Barron, J Wycherley, S Archer, F Wycherley, J O’Donoghue, C Murray, J Carbery, A Kendellen.
Ref: W Barnes (England)
Sharks v Munster, Kings Park, 12.30 (Irish time), BT Sport 3