The Munster side to take on Zebre at Milan’s Stadio Giovanni Mari on Friday night in the Guinness PRO14 has been named (8.35pm local/7.35pm Irish).
Head Coach Johann van Graan makes six changes to the side that defeated Southern Kings in Cork last week.
Van Graan hands the captaincy to hooker Niall Scannell for the first time.
Scannell joins James Cronin and John Ryan in the unchanged international front row.
Darren O’Shea links up with Fineen Wycherley in the engine room, as Chris Cloete and the Academy’s Jack O’Sullivan join Arno Botha in the back row. Botha makes the positional switch to start at blindside for the first time.
Craig Casey is introduced to partner JJ Hanrahan in the half-backs.
Rory Scannell and Sammy Arnold form the centre partnership this week, as the back three of Mike Haley, Calvin Nash and Shane Daly remain in situ.
Tommy O’Donnell and Darren Sweetnam are in line for a return to action with both named in the replacements after overcoming respective hamstring injuries. O’Donnell last lined out against Leinster in December, while Sweetnam has been sidelined since the Cheetahs in October.
It will be a proud day for the Scannell/O’Sullivan family as Niall gets to lead his brother Rory and cousin Jack out on the field for the first time.
Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Craig Casey; James Cronin, Niall Scannell (c), John Ryan; Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea; Arno Botha, Chris Cloete, Jack O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Gavin Coombes, Tommy O’Donnell, Neil Cronin, Dan Goggin, Darren Sweetnam.