Published: 14:37 | 10/6/21

Big changes for Munster

Munster have made seven changes to their starting line-up for their Rainbow Cup clash with Zebre in Parma on Friday evening (LIVE on eir sport 1 from 5.30pm).

Skipper Peter O’Mahony returns to the starting XV alongside Matt Gallagher, Chris Farrell, Dave Kilcoyne and John Ryan, while cousins Liam and Gavin Coombes start together for just the third time.

Munster have no chance of making the final next weekend following the cancellation of the Ospreys v Benetton game which was enough to see the Italian outfit through, but they will be keen to end the season on a high with a bonus point victory.

Gallagher starts at full-back alongside Andrew Conway and Liam Coombes in the back three, with Rory Scannell and Farrell named in the centre.

Craig Casey and Joey Carbery continue their partnership at half-back.

Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and Ryan are named in the front row, with Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley retained in the engine room from the Cardiff encounter.

O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue and Gavin Coombes complete the line-up.

Billy Holland and Nick McCarthy are set to make their final Munster appearances off the bench, with the former set to earn his 247th cap.

Roman Salanoa is also named on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.

"We’re looking forward to our final game of the season," head coach Johann van Graan said.

"Ideally, we would love to still be in with a chance to play for a final but it’s not to be and while guys were disappointed, we still have a competitive game to play.

"No different to any opportunity we get, the lads will want to play for each other and put in a performance and finish the season out on a high.

"We’ve again mixed the side with a good balance of experienced and younger players so it’s another 80 minutes of rugby, and with some players competing for Irish selection also there are plenty of motivating factors.

"For CJ and Mike it was just a case of running out of time and it’s important they and their injuries take the time to heal following last weekend’s accident."

Munster: Matt Gallagher, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Liam Coombes, Joey Carbery, Craig Casey, Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Peter O’Mahony (c), Jack O’Donoghue, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Liam O’Connor, Roman Salanoa, Thomas Ahern, Billy Holland, Nick McCarthy, Jake Flannery, Chris Cloete.

Image: Sportsfile

***See FIVE LIVE Rainbow Cup games this weekend on eir sport.

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