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Ulster ring changes for Zebre Clash

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Rob Herring will return from international duty to captain Ulster when they play Zebre at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 7.35pm).

Head Coach, Dan McFarland, has made six changes to the starting XV that defeated the Cardiff Blues last Friday.

Four of the changes have been made to the back line. In the back three, Will Addison will assume the full back position while Rob Lyttle returns to join Louis Ludik on the wings. In the midfield, Matt Faddes comes in to partner Luke Marshall. There are also changes at half back, with Bill Johnston and David Shanahan partnering together for the first time.

Herring is the only change in the front row, joining Jack McGrath and Tom O’Toole who will start his fifth consecutive game at tighthead. The second row pairing remains the same as last week with Alan O’Connor and Kieran Treadwell starting. Matthew Rea – also starting his fifth game in a row – will line out on the blindside flank, with Nick Timoney returning to start at openside. Marcell Coetzee completes the back row at number eight.

In the replacements, Adam McBurney, Kyle McCall, Ross Kane, Sam Carter and Sean Reidy provide forward cover. John Cooney is set to make his 50 appearances milestone off the bench, and is joined by Angus Curtis and Craig Gilroy for the back line reinforcements.

Ulster team to play Zebre Rugby Club, Guinness PRO14 Round 5, Friday 1 November at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm):

(15-9) Will Addison, Louis Ludik, Matt Faddes, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle, Bill Johnston, David Shanahan.

(1-8) Jack McGrath, Rob Herring (Capt.), Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Kyle McCall, Ross Kane, Sam Carter, Sean Reidy, John Cooney, Angus Curtis, Craig Gilroy.

International

SA matches postponed due to COVID variant risk

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

In a statement, organisers said that due to the sudden developments that had placed South Africa on the UK and EU travel red list the matches would be rescheduled for later this season.

“The safety and well-being of our participating clubs’ players, coaches, support staff and match officials is the foremost priority and the URC is currently working with the four visiting clubs – Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma – to facilitate their return as soon as possible,” the statement advised.

“This decision is based upon the latest guidance against non-essential travel to and from South Africa, the ban on direct flights to the UK and other home destinations and the potential hotel quarantines enforced upon those returning from South Africa.

“As has been the operating practice throughout the pandemic, the URC will continue engaging with our Medical Advisory Group, our union shareholders and respective governments to plan according to the latest health guidelines.

“A period of assessment will now be required to better understand the impact of these new travel restrictions and how to reschedule these games within the current season. Given the nature and speed of these developments URC will provide further updates at the appropriate time through official channels only.”

Source – South Africa Rugby

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Champions Cup

Stephen Larkham Set For Return Home To Australia

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Munster - Pixabay

Stephen Larkham will depart Munster Rugby at the end of the 2021/22 season.

Larkham, who joined Munster as senior coach two years ago, is contracted to the province until the end of the season and was offered the opportunity to extend his time in Limerick.

After careful consideration Larkham eventually declined the extended contract offer citing personal reasons in seeking a return to Australia with his family and the additional incentive of a coaching opportunity closer to home.

Stephen Larkham said, “I only recently spoke about my desire to remain with Munster and continue working with my fellow coaches and playing group.

“That hopefully gives some indication as to how difficult a decision this has been for me. The staff, players, fans, and facilities are world class here and I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

“My family made a number of sacrifices in joining me on this move to Ireland and my girls’ adjustment over here, particularly with covid, has been difficult. I have to put them first now, and with a coaching opportunity closer to home this is the right thing for my family at this time.

“For now, my focus is very much with Munster Rugby and with a long season ahead I will savour every moment of working within this great environment as we continue to build in the right direction.”

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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URC

Munster Squad Named For South Africa Tour

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Munster squad that will be based in South Africa for our upcoming double-header of United Rugby Championship fixtures against the Vodacom Bulls and the Emirates Lions has been named.

A 33-man squad travelled in the end on Saturday with Simon Zebo, Gavin Coombes, Jason Jenkins and Cian Hurley adding to the initially named 29-man squad.

Jack O’Donoghue captains the squad on the tour with a Greencore Munster Rugby Academy trio of Alex Kendellen, Paddy Patterson and Hurley included.

The province have been preparing to play in the high temperatures of South Africa’s summer over the past two weeks.

Munster face the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, November 27 (5.45pm Irish time), and the Lions at 3.30pm Irish time on Saturday, December 4, in Johannesburg.

The squad will return to Ireland ahead of the Champions Cup opener away to Wasps in Coventry on Sunday, December 12.

Scroll down to watch how the squad have been preparing for the conditions.

Jason Jenkins (thigh) completed his rehabilitation last week, successfully coming through training on Thursday.

Munster Squad For South Africa Tour

Backs

Neil Cronin, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, Jake Flannery, Ben Healy, Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly, Seán French, Simon Zebo, Matt Gallagher, Mike Haley.

Forwards

Jeremy Loughman, Liam O’Connor, Josh Wycherley, Diarmuid Barron, Kevin O’Byrne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Keynan Knox, John Ryan, Thomas Ahern, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Cian Hurley, Jason Jenkins, Chris Cloete, Jack Daly, Alex Kendellen, Jack O’Donoghue (C), Jack O’Sullivan, Gavin Coombes.

Video | Munster Prepare For South Africa Tour

Upcoming Home Games

Saturday, December 18

Champions Cup: Munster v Castres Olympique, Thomond Park, 8pm; Buy tickets here

Sunday, December 26

URC: Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here – Limited Availability

Saturday, January 8

URC: Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here – Family packs available for just €40

Sunday, January 23

Champions Cup: Munster v Wasps, Thomond Park, 3.15pm; Buy tickets here

Video | Thomond Park Lights

Source – Munster Rugby

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