Sunday 26 May 2019

Murray back in Munster action for Italian test

Conor Murray is back in action for Munster tomorrow. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor Murray is back in action for Munster tomorrow. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Conor Murray and Chris Farrell return for Munster tomorrow as Johann van Graan's side seek a sixth PRO14 win of the season.

As well as the tough expedition to Parma, Munster have to cope with a five-day turnaround after this game with Edinburgh up next in Cork. The southern province are primed for a tough challenge despite never losing to tomorrow's opponents.

Italy play New Zealand in Rome today and as a result there's an understrength Zebre, but six of the squad have been released by Conor O'Shea with Giulio Bisegni and Jimmy Tuivaiti named to start.

Munster, too, have named a very different side although both Murray and Farrell are named on the bench following their lengthy injury lay-offs.

"Over there it is difficult. They are a tough side," said Munster coach JP Ferreira. "They beat Cardiff, they beat Bristol Bears a while back.

"They are the second highest team at keeping the ball in the league, they don't kick it that often, so I am expecting a high-paced fast game.

"They have big ball carriers. Some of their internationals might be out, but I think it's through their squad that is what they will do."

The much changed Munster team sees Ronan O'Mahony named for the first time this season, while flanker Gavin Coombes is handed a first start. Tyler Bleyendaal captains the side from inside centre, where is paired with Rory Scannell.

Michael Bradley's Zebre have handed a first start to former Northampton winger Jamie Elliott, while flanker Maxime Mbandà makes his first start of the season after the knee injury he sustained in the Six Nations.

Zebre - G Di Giulio; P Balekana, G Bisegni, T Boni, J Elliott; F Brummer, R Raffaele; C Ah-Nau, M Ceciliani, D Chistolini; L Krumov, D Sisi (cap); J Tuivaiti, M Mbandà, G Licata. Reps: O Fabiani, D Rimpelli, E Bello, G Biagi, R Giammarioli, J Renton, C Canna, G Venditti.

Munster - M Haley; R O'Mahony; R Scannell, T Bleyendaal (C); A Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, N Cronin; J Loughman, K O'Byrne, S Archer; F Wycherley, D O'Shea; G Coombes, C Cloete, A Botha. Reps: M Sherry, B Scott, C Parker, S O'Connor, C Oliver, C Murray, B Johnston, C Farrell.

  • Zebre v Munster, Live tomorrow 3.30, EirSport

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