Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sherry back in Munster side after two-year injury misery

Munster's Mike Sherry is back after 2 years of being injured
Munster's Mike Sherry is back after 2 years of being injured

Sam Wheeler

Mike Sherry will end almost two years of injury hell when he lines out for Munster in tonight's pre-season clash with Connacht at Thomond Park (7.45).

The hooker has not started a match since November 2013 as he battled with a knee injury and recurring shoulder issues that he feared could be career-threatening.

It will be an emotional return for the 27-year-old Limerick man, who might well have been challenging for a World Cup berth had not injury set him back - he won his only Ireland cap against the USA in summer 2013.

There are no World Cup contenders in the Munster squad, but two Connacht hopefuls are given an opportunity to impress Joe Schmidt: scrum-half Kieran Marmion is in the starting line-up, with tighthead Nathan White on the bench.

Munster coach Anthony Foley has shuffled his deck, making 10 changes from the side that lost 38-29 to Grenoble at Thomond last week.

Dublin-born Shane Monahan, a summer recruit from Gloucester, makes his debut on the wing, with star signing Francis Saili ready to make his bow from the bench.

No 8 CJ Stander captains the team for the first time.

Included on a 12-man bench is 18-year-old out-half Bill Johnston, who came on to make his senior debut last week.

Visiting coach Pat Lam makes eight changes following the 19-5 defeat in Castres last week, with captain John Muldoon, out-half Jacky Carty and wing Matt Healy among those returning.

Munster - D Johnston; S Monahan, C Bohane, M D'Arcy, G van den Heever; I Keatley, D Williams; J Cronin, M Sherry, S Archer; S McCarthy, D Foley; D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue, CJ Stander (capt). Reps: K O'Byrne, J Ryan, BJ Botha, D O'Callaghan, S Buckley, C Sheridan, B Johnston, F Saili, N Scannell, J Madigan, J Coghlan, S Fitzgerald.

Connacht - D Leader; T O'Halloran, R Parata, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; JP Cooney, T McCartney, R Ah You; U Dillane, A Browne; J Muldoon (capt), N Fox-Matamua, E Masterson. Reps: F Bealham, D Heffernan, N White, Q Roux, B Marshall, E McKeon, G Naoupu, J Cooney, C Ronaldson, D Poolman, D McSharry.

Irish Independent

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