Thursday 22 August 2019

James Hart handed first start as Munster name team to face Zebre

James Hart of Munster during Munster Rugby squad training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
James Hart of Munster during Munster Rugby squad training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Scrum-half James Hart has been handed his first start for Munster in the province's trip to Parma to play Zebre on Sunday.

With first-choice scrum-half Conor Murray unavailable through international duty, and backup Duncan Williams out with a shoulder injury, Hart has been afforded a rare start in the halves.

The 26-year-old joined Munster from Racing 92 during the summer but has only played four games so far this season.

Meanwhile Ireland international Darren Sweetnam returns to the side in a back three featuring Simon Zebo and Alex Wootton, while Jack O'Donoghue makes his return from a minor ankle injury sustained against the Dragons earlier this month.

The forward pack remains unchanged from the 49-6 trouncing of Newport Gwent at Irish Independent Park three weeks ago with Billy Holland set to captain the side from the second-row.

On the bench scrum-half Jack Stafford could be in line to make his Munster debut should he receive some time off the pine with fellow academy teammates Calvin Nash and out-half Bill Johnston also among the replacements.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, James Hart; Liam O’Connor, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (C); Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, Robin Copeland.      

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, Ciaran Parker, Darren O’Shea, Sean O’Connor, Jack Stafford, Bill Johnston, Calvin Nash.

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