Friday 19 January 2018

Ireland quartet return to boost Erasmus' hand in Dragons test

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Rassie Erasmus says he expects his depleted Munster squad to front up once again when they clash with Dragons tonight.

The director of rugby said he wants the young guns who are getting their chance during the Six Nations window to make the most of the opportunity. The league leaders welcome back four of their Irish internationals from Six Nations duty for the game at Irish Independent Park in Cork as they look to do the double over Dragons.

Erasmus makes five changes to his team - out-half Tyler Bleyendaal retains captaincy and Cork native Darren Sweetnam returns from injury.

Munster made it 13 wins in 14 games last weekend when they carved out a superb 10-9 victory over Edinburgh at Myreside.

Academy prospect Calvin Nash made his debut in that game, while loosehead prop Pete McCabe started his first game for Munster.


Nash is back with the Ireland U-20 squad but, with McCabe, tighthead prop Brian Scott, and flanker Conor Oliver on the replacements' bench Munster are giving their underage talent a chance once again.

"That is why we are coaching. You must teach the guy how to do it. You learn a lot from a guy under pressure and you learn a lot from a guy when he gets his opportunity," said Erasmus.

Dave Kilcoyne, Tommy O'Donnell, Rory Scannell and Andrew Conway all return from Ireland camp and take their places in the starting 15.

There are just two changes up front, with loosehead prop Kilcoyne slotting in at No 1, alongside hooker Rhys Marshall and tighthead Stephen Archer.

O'Donnell is brought in at openside, with Jack O'Donoghue wearing No 8.

There are three changes in the back-line - Duncan Williams and Bleyendaal form the half-back partnership, while Jaco Taute reverts to outside centre to link with the returning Scannell.

Verdict: Munster

Munster - A Conway; D Sweetnam, J Taute, R Scannell, R O'Mahony; T Bleyendaal, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, D Foley; D O'Callaghan, T O'Donnell, J O'Donoghue. Replacements: K O'Byrne, P McCabe, B Scott, D O'Shea, C Oliver, A Griesel, F Saili, D Goggin.

Dragons -C Meyer; A Hughes, T Morgan, A Warren, P Howard; D Jones, T Knoyle; S Hobbs, R Buckley, B Harris; M Screech, R Landman; O Griffiths, N Cudd, L Evans. Replacements: E Dee, T Davies, L Fairbrother, N Crosswell, H Keddie, S Pretorius, A O'Brien, S Beard.

Ref - Mike Adamson (Scotland).

Munster v Dragons,

Live, TG4 / BBC Wales, 7.35

Irish Independent

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