Wednesday 19 December 2018

Sherry back for 'difficult' assignment

Mike Sherry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Mike Sherry. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Hooker Mike Sherry will put his injury nightmare behind him when he makes his first competitive start in almost two years for Munster in Murrayfield this evening.

The inclusion of Sherry is among six changes as coach Johann van Graan prepares for this rescheduled Guinness PRO14 clash which will kick off preparations for their Champions Cup quarter-final showdown with Toulon at the end of the month.

The Reds will face champions Scarlets next before their Irish stars return for a crack at Toulon in Thomond Park.

But Van Graan expects his men to face a big test this evening at the near-empty Scottish headquarters at a time when all the focus is on the Grand Slam bid in Twickenham.

"They've been very difficult to beat at home. They play a very specific type of game which makes it difficult to play against them," he said.

"They have a good set-piece, very good kicking game, they squeeze teams and they seem to win very close games. They're in the hunt for a quarter-final play-off in their pool and they're playing for a spot in Europe as well do we know how difficult it will be."

He has made half a dozen changes to the side which beat Glasgow Warriors 21-10 win at home last time out before their trip to Edinburgh two weeks ago fell victim to the weather.

Lock Billy Holland captains the side on his 150th PRO14 appearance for the province in a pack showing three changes.

Sherry comes into the front-row for his first start since April 2016, Jack O'Donoghue begins at blindside flanker and Conor Oliver starts on the opposite side of the back-row.

There are also a trio of alterations in the back-line where JJ Hanrahan starts at out-half and Darren Sweetnam is on the right wing. Rory Scannell is the only other change; he returns from Ireland camp along with fellow centre Sam Arnold.

Verdict: Edinburgh

Edinburgh - D Fife; J Harries, M Bennett, C Dean, D van der Merwe; J van der Walt, S Hidalgo-Clyne; Jordan Lay, N Cochrane, M McCallum; F McKenzie, B Toolis; M Bradbury, John Hardie, Bill Mata. Reps: C Fenton, R Sutherland, S Berghan, L Carmichael, C du Preez, N Fowles, D Weir, J Rasolea.

Munster - S Zebo; D Sweetnam, S Arnold, R Scannell, A Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, J Hart; J Cronin, M Sherry, S Archer; J Kleyn, B Holland; J O'Donoghue, C Oliver, R Copeland. Reps: K O'Byrne, D Kilcoyne, B Scott, D O'Shea, T O'Donnell, J Stafford, B Johnston, D Goggin.

Ref - B Whitehouse (WRU)

Edinburgh v Munster,

Live, TG4 & BBC2 Scotland, 7.35

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