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PREVIEW: Munster Switch Things Up for Blues Clash

Munster have made six changes to their team from last weekend’s win over Edinburgh



Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Munster have named six changes of personnel to their team that defeated Edinburgh in the Champions Cup as they prepare to host the Cardiff Blues in Independent Park on Friday at 19 35 in the Pro14.

Mike Haley, Tyler Bleyendaal, Kevin O’Byrne, Billy Holland, Chris Cloete and Arno Botha all take a place in the starting XV while the rest of the team stays the same.

That means that Dave Kilcoyne, O’Byrne and John Ryan start in the front-row, with Jean Kleyn and Holland slotting into the second-row.

Peter O’Mahony captains the side from the left of the scrum, with Cloete on the right and Botha finishing the pack at eight.

Conor Murray and Bleyendaal continue their half-back partnership following Joey Carbery’s injury last weekend. While Rory Scannell and Chris Farrell remain in the centre.

Last weekend’s hero, Keith Earls continues on the left-wing, with Andrew Conway shifting from full-back to the right-wing as Haley returns to 15.

There is plenty of experience to call on from the bench if needed with the likes of Niall Scannell, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander and JJ Hanrahan to call upon.

Speaking before the game reds head coach Johann van Graan has talked up his team’s opponents as he hopes his side can push on for a home semi-final spot.

“They’ve got some fantastic players up front and in the backs. Give them the respect they deserve, they won the Challenge Cup last year, that people forget, and they’ve had some very good performances over the year,” he said.

For the visitors, Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey and Dillon Lewis start in the front-three, while Seb Davies and Rory Thorn are in the engine room.

Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson and Josh Turnbull are in the back-row and make up the pack.

Tomos Williams starts at scrum-half alongside Jarrod Evans at fly-half, with Willis Halaholo and Rey Lee-Lo outside them in the centre.

Aled Summerhill and Owen Lee are at 11 and 14 respectively, with Wales Six Nations star Gareth Anscombe at full-back.

Munster need a win to keep up the pressure on Glasgow Warriors at the top of Conference A with three-points separating the sides. While Cardiff are sitting in forth place, level on points with Connacht and a win away to in Ireland could be crucial if they are to make the play-offs.


All You Need To Know | Barbarians Double-Header



The Munster Men’s and Women’s team will be in action this weekend in a historic double-header against the Barbarians.

Find out all you need to know ahead of the games below.

There will be a minute’s applause for Greig Oliver ahead of the men’s game following his tragic passing in July. Hawick RFC posted a lovely piece on a commemorative event that was recently held at the club here. Read our tribute to Greig here.


Thomond Park


The women’s game kicks off at 2pm and the men’s game starts at 4.30pm.


Tickets are available to purchase here from €20 for adults and €10 for juniors right up until kick off.

The best value tickets are the Family Packs of four tickets for just €40 which include 2 Adults & 2 Juniors tickets.


Live on Access Munster, brought to you by Pinergy – see full details here.

Did you know?

The URC trophy will be on display for photos behind the North Terrace.

The first-ever Barbarians Women’s game was played against Munster at Thomond Park in 2017.

The Munster men’s team have never faced the Barbarians.

Munster News

Ticket & Matchday Info

Access Munster Live Stream

Munster Men’s training gallery

Munster Women’s training gallery

Graham Rowntree Signs New Contract


All four sides will be named before lunchtime on Friday.

Press Pass

Hear from Munster Women’s Head Coach Niamh Briggs and Men’s Head Coach Graham Rowntree ahead of the games.

URC Tickets

Tickets for all Munster men’s home game for the 2023/24 campaign are available here.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Cardiff announce signing of new fly-half



Cardiff Rugby have added further depth to their fly-half resources with the signing of former Wales Under-20s star Arwel Robson. 

The 26-year-old arrives from Cornish Pirates where he has spent the last two seasons after leaving Dragons RFC in 2021. 

Robson has already linked up with the first-team squad and is relishing the opportunity that lies ahead at Cardiff Arms Park. 

He said: “I’m incredibly excited to make the move to Cardiff. It’s an honour to be able to play at the Arms Park and I can’t wait to get the chance to run out here for the first time.

“I grew up on the terraces of the Arms Park, in a family of Cardiff season ticket holders and I was a ball boy for years so it is a club that means a huge amount to me and my family. 

“After speaking to Matt about the style of play he wants to utilise, I’m confident it will really suit me and also continue to bring my game on.

“I’m very grateful to everyone at Cornish Pirates for the opportunity and support they gave me in the past few years. 

“I’ve played a lot of rugby down there and feel I am returning to Wales a better player and I am looking forward to continuing my development at the Arms Park.

“Cardiff also have a reputation for developing talent and the progression of players from the academy right through to the senior national team is testament to that. 

“Now I am just looking forward to getting on the training pitch and competing for game-time.”

Robson will fight for a place at fly-half alongside fellow new signing Tinus de Beer, Ben Thomas and academy duo Harrison James and Harri Wilde.

He is the fourth signing this summer, following de Beer, Ciaran Parker and Rhys Litterick, and head coach Matt Sherratt is pleased to add to his fly-half resources. 

Sherratt said: “We are delighted have have signed Arwel for this season.  He has a good skill set, will challenge the line and having regular game time has improved his in game management.  

“He has played a significant amount with Cornish Pirates over the past two seasons which is a sign of a player who was willing to take himself out of his comfort zone to go to a new club and get regular game time.  It shows he is driven.  

“Added to that he has a connection with the region and a point to prove in the Welsh professional game. He gives us a bit more depth at 10 and has slotted in well to training.” 

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby

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Spingbok loosehead joins DHL Stormers ranks



Loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka has joined the DHL Stormers squad ahead of the 2023/24 season.

The 33-year-old Springbok front row forward has made the move to Cape Town and brings considerable experience with him.

Gqoboka only took up the game at the age of 19 and within two years had already secured his first professional contract. He has accumulated over 150 senior caps since then and made his Springbok debut in 2019.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that Gqoboka’s proven track record means he will be ready to hit the ground running when the season gets underway.

“Lizo is an experienced player who would be a valuable asset for any squad in what is an important position.

“He has already settled in well here in the pre-season and we are all looking forward to seeing what he can do when the season gets underway,” he said.

Gqoboka said that having played against the DHL Stormers many times in his career, he is excited about feeling the support of the Faithful.

“This is a great team with some incredible supporters and I can’t wait to run out in the blue and white jersey and give my all.

“My family and I have felt at home right away here, my teammates and the coaches have been so welcoming and I want to repay that when I get the chance to take the field as a DHL Stormer,” he said.

Content & Images from – Stormers Rugby

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