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PRO14 team news: Casey gets nod for Munster while Andy Friend names strong Connacht side for opener

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Munster's Craig Casey. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster's Craig Casey. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster's Craig Casey. Photo: Sportsfile

Youngster Craig Casey will start for Munster in their PRO14 opener against Scarlets on Saturday (3pm, live on eir Sport).

Casey, 21, lines up in the half backs alongside JJ Hanrahan while Damian de Allende and Chris Farrell form the centre partnership.

In the back three, full-back Mike Haley and Darren Sweetnam make their first PRO14 appearances since February with Andrew Conway starting on the right wing.

James Cronin, Rhys Marshall and John Ryan pack down in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne, who faces his former side for the first time, in the second row.

Captain Peter O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue and CJ Stander complete the starting XV.

Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Darren Sweetnam; JJ Hanrahan, Craig Casey; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Gavin Coombes, Neil Cronin, Ben Healy, Rory Scannell.

Meanwhile, Andy Friend has named a strong team for Connacht's clash with Glasgow Warriors.

Peter Sullivan, promoted from the Academy, will make his second appearance while Jarrad Butler will lead out the side from blindside flanker. Paul Boyle completes the back row at number 8.

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There’s an experienced look to the front row with Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham all named, while Gavin Thornbury and Quinn make up the rest of the pack in the second row.

Friend has named the same backline that put in a brilliant attacking display against Ulster at the Aviva Stadium, with Irish international trio Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty and Bundee Aki forming the 9-10-12 axis.

Tom Farrell partners Aki in the centre, while John Porch continues at full-back with Alex Wootton and Peter Sullivan on the wings.

Connacht:

15. John Porch (18)

14. Peter Sullivan (1)

13. Tom Farrell (58)

12. Bundee Aki (101)

11. Alex Wootton (1)

10. Jack Carty (140)

9. Kieran Marmion (167)

1. Denis Buckley (179)

2. Dave Heffernan (130)

3. Finlay Bealham (142)

4. Gavin Thornbury (39)

5. Quinn Roux (101)

6. Jarrad Butler (56) CAPTAIN

7. Conor Oliver (2)

8. Paul Boyle (40)


Replacements:

16. Jonny Murphy (7)

17. Jordan Duggan (1)

18. Jack Aungier (1)

19. Niall Murray (7)

20. Seán Masterson (3)

21. Caolin Blade (112)

22. Conor Fitzgerald (24)

23. Sammy Arnold (1)


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