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Debutant Holland eyeing No 10 shirt for Zebre tussle

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Johnny Holland in action for Munster against London Irish pre-season. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Johnny Holland in action for Munster against London Irish pre-season. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Johnny Holland in action for Munster against London Irish pre-season. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

After getting two starts in pre-season Johnny Holland will make his first competitive start for Munster in tonight's Guinness Pro12 tussle with Zebre at Thomond Park.

Holland is competing with Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan for the coveted No 10 shirt. A year older than Hanrahan - Holland turned 23 last month - the young Cork Con kicker has been buoyed by his rival's progress in the last 12 months.

But he says he is determined to do everything to challenge the more experienced duo for the starting shirt this season.

"JJ made a phenomenal breakthrough. He got a very good opportunity and he deserved it," said Holland, who kicked three from three against London Irish in pre-season.

"But I'm trying to take my own opportunity like he did last year and really start banging on the door. If there's three of us going for the one position it's going to be even more competitive than it was last year. And that was very competitive between the two lads," said Holland, who has two brief appearances as a replacement to his name from last season.

The battle for time in the starter's shirt will be ferocious for the season and according to Holland there is no need for Anthony Foley to any of the coaches to tell him he needs to fight hard to start.

"I don't think he really needs to emphasise that. If you're not in the mindset that, you need to do everything to get that position.

"The more senior lads here and the coaches will always say 'give the jersey back in a better condition it was than when you put it on' and that's only better for yourself. If you can fill that jersey every week you put it on, it's harder the for the other lads to take it off you," added Holland.

Irish Independent