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Five Internationals Return for Munster

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Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Five Ireland players are back in the Munster team that is set to face the Southern Kings at Irish Independent Park on Friday night.

The team sees a total of seven changes to the one that defeated the Dragons last time out.

Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Niall Scannell, John Ryan and Billy Holland are all in the starting XV after their time away on international duty.

In the front-row Jeremy Loughman is joined by the returning duo of Scannell and Ryan, while Holland partners Jean Kleyn in the second-row.

The back-row has another change as Chris Cloete has recovered from a neck injury to make his first appearance since December. He will have Fineen Wycherley and Arno Botha alongside him to make up the pack.

Neil Cronin starts at scrum-half, with captain Tyler Bleyendaal at 10.

Last weekend’s stand-in centre for Ireland, Chris Farrell comes back to the team at 13 with Rory Scannell at 12.

There is a fierce looking back three on display with Darren Sweetnam and Andrew Conway on the wings, with Mike Healey at full-back.

JJ Hanrahan is back among the subs after time out with a hip injury sustained last month and is joined by academy player Gavin Coombes.

Munster coach Felix Jones has warned his team of the threat that the Kings can pose even if they are bottom of Conference B.

“They have a huge amount of speed in their back three in particular. They are one of the highest scoring teams from turnovers, so if you kick loosely or you don’t look after the ball well enough, they can punish you,” he said.

On the other side Kings captain JC Astle is expecting a tough challenge against the Conference A leaders.

“Munster is a very clinical side and are on top of Conference A, so we are expecting a hard match with clinical, good players who know how to do their job,” he said.

In the only previous meeting of the two the Irish province ran out 39-22 winners.

Munster will be looking to continue their fine form and stay top of Conference A with another win but will have to be aware as the high scoring Kings make their first trip to the Irish province.

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Ulster make changes for Ospreys clash

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Craig Gilroy is set to become the eighth Ulster man to make 200 appearances for the province if called upon on Saturday, as he is named among the replacements in the match-day squad to face Ospreys on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Mike Lowry has been selected at full-back, with Ethan McIlroy on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune on the right. Stuart McCloskey and Angus Curtis will form the midfield pairing. John Cooney and Billy Burns have been named scrum-half and out-half respectively.

Brad Roberts will come in to start at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole either side of him in the front row. Alan O’Connor will captain the team and is named in the second row with Kieran Treadwell. Sean Reidy comes in to start at blindside, with Nick Timoney at openside and David McCann completing the base of the pack.

Jack McGrath makes his return to the Ulster side after recovering from injury and is named among the replacements. Although named on the bench last week versus Leinster, Tom Stewart wasn’t called upon, so could make his senior debut on Saturday as he is selected again in the replacements with fellow forwards, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney and Marcus Rea. Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore and potential double-centurion, Craig Gilroy will provide the back line cover.

Ulster team to play Ospreys, United Rugby Championship Round 7, Saturday 4 December at Swansea.com Stadium, 3pm kick-off, live Premier Sports and URC TV:

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, Angus Curtis, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Brad Roberts, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

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Du Preez to join Glasgow Warriors

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

South African second-rower JP du Preez has become the first new signing announced by Glasgow Warriors ahead of the 2022/23 season, after agreeing to make the move north from Sale Sharks at the end of the current campaign subject to visa.

Standing at 6’10”, the du Preez became the tallest player to have ever played a Super Rugby match when he made his competitive debut for the Emirates Lions back in 2015.

The man from Roodeport joined Sale Sharks in November 2020, making 18 appearances for the English Premiership side to date.

A physical presence with ball in hand, he has also proven a menace for Premiership lineouts; currently the second-rower sits joint-fourth in the table for lineout steals, as well as providing Sale with a platform from which to launch their attack.

Prior to his switch to Sale, du Preez made 31 appearances for the Cheetahs in the Guinness PRO14 between 2018 and 2020.

Indeed, the newest Warrior has previous experience of playing in front of the Scotstoun faithful, having come off the bench for the final five minutes of Glasgow’s 35-17 victory over the Cheetahs in 2019.

Source – Glasgow Rugby

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Munster Rugby Travel Update

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Munster - Pixabay

In a hugely positive development the wider Munster touring party departed Cape Town tonight after a group of 34 players and staff received negative results on completing a fourth round of PCR testing in six days.

Team management worked tirelessly on securing scheduled flights at short notice and the group are expected to land in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

Another four positive cases were identified in Tuesday’s round of PCR testing and a total group of 14 will see out their respective isolation periods at the designated quarantine hotel in Cape Town.

This is a difficult time for all players and staff involved and we are very mindful of their wellbeing and the understandable concern from family and friends at home. The group will be well looked after with team liaisons Warren Morris and Kubaan Lorens remaining on site with medical support provided daily.

As outlined by the government earlier this week, on arrival from South Africa the returning players and staff will follow mandatory self-isolation at their own locations.

Munster Rugby would like to say a huge thank you to the management and staff at Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel for all their help and efforts over the last few days, especially at a time when last-minute support and requirements were needed for a large group.  The contribution Warren and Kubaan made during this time cannot be overstated and we are indebted to the duo for their professionalism and support.

Again, we wish to take this opportunity to thank the Irish government, the IRFU, South Africa Rugby, URC, and the health authorities for their assistance in particular with regards to facilitating the safe return of our staff and players.

Source – Munster Rugby

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