Sunday 21 January 2018

Hanrahan aims to stake Reds claim with 'A' team

Munster's JJ Hanrahan. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster's JJ Hanrahan. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

When JJ Hanrahan agreed to return to Munster earlier this year, it's fair to say that he wouldn't have been expecting to be lining out for the 'A' team in Swansea on the same weekend that Europe returns.

The Kerry native was left out of Munster's match-day squad for tomorrow's trip to Castres as Rassie Erasmus wants him to get more time at out-half.

Erasmus' decision will no doubt come as a big blow to Hanrahan but it is still early days and he has time to force his way into the reckoning.

Munster 'A' won the British and Irish Cup last season and begin their defence against Ospreys Premiership Select.

James Hart is another new signing who will be disappointed not to have featured more since arriving but, like his half-back partner, he has a chance to stake his claim.

Welcome Having featured for Garryowen in recent weeks, Sam Arnold makes a welcome return in red and starts in the centre.

Leinster 'A' open their campaign away to Doncaster Knights and new head coach Noel McNamara has chosen plenty of the province's next crop of exciting young talents.

Jordan Larmour and Max Deegan have already impressed with the senior side this season but watch out for scrum-half Hugh O'Sullivan who was a Senior Cup winner with Belvedere College this year and centre Jimmy O'Brien who is a fine prospect.

Connacht Eagles haven't had much joy in the B&I Cup in recent years but their chances of starting with a positive result in Rotherham are boosted by being able to include Ireland international Niyi Adeolokun and Fiji international Naulia Dawai, who both make their first appearance of the season.

Peter Claffey impressed with the Ireland U-20s before injury curtailed his progress and he will add plenty of power to the engine room.

Meanwhile, Ulster 'A' are the only one of the four Irish sides to play at home today as they welcome Scarlets Premiership Select to Rifle Park. Ballynahinch club-mates Aaron Cairns and Johnny McPhillips are paired together at half-back with Ross Kane skippering from the front-row.

Irish Independent

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