Munster’s record scorer Simon Zebo makes a lavish return to Thomond Park in a first competitive game with his home province since the Pro 14 final in May 2018, when they host the Sharks in their home game. opening of the United Rugby Championship on Saturday evening (kick off 7:35 p.m., live on RTÉ 2 and Premier Sports 1).
Zebo, who has scored 60 tries in his previous 144 games with Munster, has been selected on the left wing by Johann van Graan after his three-year return with Racing 92, and will be in a third alongside Mike Haley and Andrew Conway.
Munster was further boosted by the return of Springboks World Cup winner RG Snyman, who is set to make his Thomond Park debut on the bench in his second appearance for the province after missing last season due to a wound.
Eight of the Irish internationals from Munster who took part in the summer tests start the match, including captain Peter O’Mahony.
Craig Casey and Joey Carbery start together in the running backs while Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin form the central partnership.
Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan come in first row with Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley in second row. O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue and last season’s Player of the Year Gavin Coombes complete the starting XV.
Along with his replacement colleague Snyman, new addition Rowan Osborne is also set to play his first game for Munster at Thomond Park on his competitive debut for the province.
The Sharks make three changes from the starting XV who lost the Currie Cup final to the Bulls a fortnight ago, with center Louw Marius restored and a new pair of backs from Henry ‘Boeta’ Chamberlain and another former Ulster icon on Irish soil this weekend, Ruan Pienaar. The Sharks include former Munster second row Gerbrandt Grobler.
Tickets are only available online at Ticketmaster.ie and will be available for purchase online until kick off, but will not be available for purchase at the stadium on match day.
MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Simon Zebo; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Peter O’Mahony (captain), Jack O’Donoghue, Gavin Coombes.
Substitutes: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Keynan Knox, RG Snyman, Thomas Ahern, Rowan Osborne, Ben Healy, Chris Cloete.
CELL C SHARKS: Bosch Curwin; Penxe Yaw, Kok Werner, Louw Marius, Abrahams Thaakir; Chamberlain Henry (Boeta), Pienaar Ruan; Mona Khwezi, Van Vuuren Kerron, Du Toit Thomas; Roets Le Roux, Grobler Gerbrandt; Richardson Dylan, Venter Henco, Buthelezi Phepsi (captain).
Substitutes: Mbatha Fez, Mchunu Ntuthuko, Mchunu Khutha, Gumede Mpilo, Van Heerden Ruben, Andrews Hyron, Nohamba Sanele, Ward Jeremy.