Thursday 22 August 2019

Munster aiming to continue impressive run

Murray: returns to Munster team
Murray: returns to Munster team
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Conor Murray and Keith Earls both return to boost Munster but Anthony Foley won't need any reminding of the threat that Edinburgh pose.

The Scots upset Munster (13-14) in Thomond Park last season in what was Foley's first game in charge of his home province.

Edinburgh began the season brightly, winning their opening four games but the wind has been taken out of their sails in recent weeks with consecutive defeats to Connacht and Zebre.

However, Munster's assistant coach Brian Walsh is not taking anything for granted at Murrayfield this evening (5.15).

"You look at all the games that Edinburgh have played and not too many teams have scored a lot of points against them," Walsh warned.

"They have a real miserly defence, they're very good at the breakdown, they're very sticky and physical in the way they defend.

"I think that's the nature of the league, there are very different challenges from teams in line speed from the one you get in Wales to Scotland."

Foley has made eight changes in total to the side that defeated Ulster 32-28 last time out.

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Dave Kilcoyne and Duncan Casey and John Ryan make up an entirely new front-row.

Having appeared off the bench last week, Donnacha Ryan makes his first start of the season as Foley looks to try out different combinations ahead of the start of the Champions Cup next weekend.

Munster supporters will be hoping that Earls and former All Black Francis Saili can strike up a formidable centre partnership as they start for the first time together in midfield.

Simon Zebo is named at full-back in place of Andrew Conway who misses out entirely. Ronan O'Mahony comes on to the wing to make his first start of the campaign.

Uruguayan international Mario Sagario is again in line to make his first appearance for the province after being named amongst the replacements.

Edinburgh's win in Limerick last season is their only victory in seven attempts against Munster and Foley's side will be confident of maintaining their surge up the table.

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons can also recall international stars to his starting XV and he has included the Scottish front-row trio of Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and WP Nel as well as centre Matt Scott.

"We are only too aware of the challenge that we face and know that we need to be at our best," Solomons said.

Munster have lost just one game all season, a disappointing last-gasp defeat in Cardiff two weeks ago, but that slip-up aside, it's been an impressive start to the season. Expect a big performance from a side who are gearing up for the return of European rugby.

Verdict: Munster

Edinburgh - B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, W Helu, M Scott, T Brown; F Tonks, S Hidalgo-Clyne; D Dickinson, R Ford, WP Nel; A Bresler, A Toolis; M Coman (capt), H Watson, C Du Preez. Reps: N Cochrane, R Sutherland, J Andress, R Grant, N Manu, S Kennedy, A Strauss, D Fife.

Munster - S Zebo; G van den Heever, K Earls, F Saili, R O'Mahony; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Casey, J Ryan; D Ryan, D Foley; D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue, CJ Stander (capt). Reps: N Scannell, J Cronin, M Sagario, R Copeland, J Coghlan, T O'Leary, R Scannell, D Hurley.

REF - D Wilkinson (IRFU)

Edinburgh v Munster,

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