Saturday 20 January 2018

Munster aim to torpedo Musgrave jinx for Bradley homecoming

Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Michael Bradley makes his homecoming to Cork and Musgrave Park tonight, but whether he will get some much-needed respite from Edinburgh's forgettable season is another matter.

Four wins from 19 games across European and domestic competitions tells the story of a dismal campaign which started with so much hope after a surprise appearance in the last four of the Heineken Cup in 2011-12.

Throw in Munster's three from three record against the Scots this season, and Bradley's hopes of arresting the slide look slim.

The Edinburgh coach is boosted by the availability of Wales prop John Yapp, lock Izak van der Westhuizen and Scotland winger Tom Brown, as well as Munster's shaky record in Cork.

The province have won their last nine fixtures at Thomond Park, but lost on their last two appearances at Musgrave Park.

"The international window is a challenging time for all of the squads, so we're delighted to welcome back three quality players for such a big match," Bradley said.


"There's a good and dangerous balance to our side. There's a lot of size, power and mobility in our pack and there's a good bit of pace and guile in the backs.

"The challenge for us is to combine these elements and put in an aggressive and well-managed performance for the full 80 minutes.

"Munster are three from three against us this season so will be full of confidence going into another home game for them; however, we're very happy with the strength of this squad and will be going all out with a score to settle."

There's a return to the Munster side of project player CJ Stander.

Deemed too small in his native South Africa, Stander starts at blindside, having recovered from a broken hand sustained in British & Irish Cup action.

He lines out alongside No 8 and captain James Coughlan and Sean Dougall in the back-row.

Just three of the side that started the Reds' last Pro12 game in January are retained for this game.

JJ Hanrahan starts at inside-centre as Munster look to move into the play-off places.

Verdict: Munster

Munster – D Hurley; J Murphy, I Dineen, JJ Hanrahan, D Barnes; I Keatley, D Williams; M Horan, D Varley, BJ Botha; I Nagle, B Holland; CJ Stander, S Dougall, J Coughlan. Reps: M Sherry, W du Preez, J Ryan, D Foley, T O'Donnell, P Butler, C Sheridan, S Deasy.

Edinburgh – G Tonks; D Fife, B Cairns, B Atiga, T Brown; P Francis, R Rees; J Yapp, A Titterrell, W Nel; P Parker, I van der Westhuizen; S Cox (capt), S McInally, N Talei. Reps: S Lawrie, A Jacobsen, A Allan, G Gilchrist, H Watson, C Leck, G Hunter, L Jones.

Ref – I Davies (Wales)

Munster v Edinburgh

Live, TG4, 7.15

Irish Independent

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