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Ulster ring the changes for Munster

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Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad has been named to face Munster in Round 2 of the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup on Friday (Thomond Park, 8.15pm kick-off).

There are nine changes to the side that travelled to Leicester last Friday. In the back three, Jacob Stockdale and Ethan McIlroy are retained at full-back and left-wing respectively, with Rob Lyttle coming in to start on the right. Will Addison will make his first start this season at outside centre, partnering up with Stuart McCloskey. Michael Lowry and Alby Mathewson will form the starting half-back partnership.

It’s all-change in the front row, with Andrew Warwick and Tom O’Toole getting the nod at loosehead and tighthead prop, and John Andrew named at hooker. Last week’s second row pairing of Alan O’Connor and Iain Henderson has been retained, and Henderson will lead the side. In the back row, Marcus Rea is named to start at openside flanker with Jordi Murphy making the switch to blindside, and David McCann is selected at Number Eight.

Angus Curtis makes a long-awaited return to the Ulster match-day squad for the first time since he sustained a serious knee injury in December 2019, and is named among the replacements. He is joined by David Shanahan and James Hume in providing back line cover. Wallaby lock Sam Carter is also set for his return to action, and he joins Rob Herring, Callum Reid, Marty Moore and Nick Timoney as the forward options on the bench.

Ulster team to play Munster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup Round 2, Friday 7 May at Thomond Park (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports):

(15-9) Jacob Stockdale, Rob Lyttle, Will Addison, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Michael Lowry, Alby Mathewson;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Jordi Murphy, Marcus Rea, David McCann.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Reid, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Angus Curtis, James Hume.

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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