Zebo and Conway start in the back three for Munster’s pre season opener

Simon Zebo starts at full-back for the first time since returning to the province in 2021 with Andrew Conway and Calvin Nash on either wing.

The Munster squad has been named for Friday’s opening pre-season game against Leinster at Musgrave Park (6pm).

Jack O’Donoghue captains the 25-man squad with Andrew Conway and Jack Daly both returning to action after missing last season due to injury.

Seven Academy players are involved as Academy trio Kieran Ryan, Evan O’Connell and Shay McCarthy are set for their first senior appearances off the bench.

Ireland U19 international Stephen Kiely, who came up through the ranks at Castletroy College and Old Crescent, is also set for his Munster bow.

Simon Zebo starts at full-back for the first time since returning to the province in 2021 with Conway and Calvin Nash on either wing.

25 March 2022; Simon Zebo of Munster gets past Dewaldt Duvenage of Benetton on his way to scoring his side’s third try during the United Rugby Championship match between Munster and Benetton at Musgrave Park in Cork. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

There is a new-look centre partnership of Rory Scannell and Shane Daly with Daly starting in midfield for the first time since 2018.

Neil Cronin and Tony Butler start together in the half-backs. Academy out-half Butler, who made his competitive debut against Wasps in December 2021, makes his first senior start in the 10 jersey.

Josh Wycherley, Scott Buckley and Stephen Archer pack down in the front row with Gavin Coombes in the second row alongside Fineen Wycherley.

O’Donoghue, John Hodnett and Alex Kendellen start in the back row.

25 September 2021; Jack O’Donoghue of Munster during the United Rugby Championship match between Munster and Cell C Sharks at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Chris Moore, Kieran Ryan and John Ryan provide the front row back-up with John Ryan making his return to the province.

O’Connell, Jack Daly and Ruadhán Quinn complete the forward cover.

Kiely, Ethan Coughlan, Fionn Gibbons and McCarthy are the backline replacements.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Shane Daly, Rory Scannell, Calvin Nash; Tony Butler, Neil Cronin; Josh Wycherley, Scott Buckley, Stephen Archer; Gavin Coombes, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen.

Replacements from: Chris Moore, Kieran Ryan, John Ryan, Evan O’Connell, Jack Daly, Ruadhán Quinn, Ethan Coughlan, Fionn Gibbons, Stephen Kiely, Shay McCarthy.

There will be a live stream on Access Munster – sign up here for €6 for the month or just €42 for a full year.

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