Wednesday 23 October 2019

Legend Larkham not blind to what Bleyendaal can bring

Munster senior coach Stephen Larkham. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster senior coach Stephen Larkham. Photo: Sportsfile

Des Berry

The influence of new backs coach Stephen Larkham, the legendary Wallabies out-half, can already be seen from the positioning of Tyler Bleyendaal at inside centre, just outside JJ Hanrahan at No 10, as Munster kick off their PRO14 campaign against Dragons at Thomond Park this afternoon (KO 3.0).

The twin distributor system is designed to give Munster more options on either side of the attack.

For that to happen, the forward pack will have to have the front foot and new signing Nick McCarthy will need to provide a silver service.

Captain Billy Holland starts out on his 13th season in a lock partnership with the energetic Fineen Wycherely.

There is enough know-how in the Munster ranks, especially from Arno Botha, Tommy O'Donnell and Jack O'Donoghue in the back-row, to wear down the Dragons.

However, from the Dragons' perspective, the dangerous Sam Davies and Jordan Williams will have to be denied a platform or they can do damage - otherwise Munster can get their campaign off to a winning start on home soil.

Verdict: Munster

MUNSTER - M Haley; D Sweetnam, R Scannell, T Bleyendaal, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, N McCarthy; J Loughman, K O'Byrne, S Archer, F Wycherley, B Holland (c); J O'Donoghue, T O'Donnell, A Botha. Reps: D Barron, J Cronin, K Knox, D O'Shea, C Cloete; A Mathewson, L Coombes, J O'Sullivan.

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DRAGONS - J Williams, A Hewitt, A Warren, J Dixon, O Jenkins, S Davies, R Williams (c); B Harris, R Hibbard, L Brown, J Davies, M Screech, H Taylor, O Griffiths, L Evans. Reps: E Shipp, R Bevington, L Fairbrother, M Williams, T Basham; T Knoyle, J Botica, T Morgan.

Munster v Dragons, Live, TG4 / eir sport 1, 3.0

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