Munster and Ulster name three new signings each in PRO14 openers

Munster and Ulster name three new signings each in PRO14 openers

Munster and Ulster have named their teams for their opening games in the PRO14.

Munster Head Coach Johann van Graan has named three new signings in his side to face Cheetahs on Saturday in Thomond Park (5.15pm).

Arno Botha, Mike Haley and Neil Cronin will make their PRO14 starting debuts, while Joey Carbery is set to make his debut in red if sprung off the bench.

Academy and Ireland 7s player Shane Daly is another making his debut as he joins Haley and Darren Sweetnam in the back three.

The pre-season centre combination of Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin remain unchanged for the tournament opener.

Neil Cronin, who last featured in the competition as a replacement in March 2015, partners up with JJ Hanrahan in the half backs.

In the front row returning international prop John Ryan makes his first appearance of the season as he scrums down next to Mike Sherry and Dave Kilcoyne.

Captain Billy Holland and Jean Kleyn continue their partnership in the second row with Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell and Botha forming the back row.

Included in the replacements are Rhys Marshall and Stephen Archer who are in line to make first appearances of the season, with Archer overcoming the pec injury he sustained against Edinburgh in May.

After impressing in the pre-season campaign Academy back row Gavin Coombes is included in his first Guinness PRO14 squad.

Connacht centre Kyle Godwin will play in his first competitive match when they take on Glasgow at the Sportsground.

Jarrad Butler skippers the westerners from openside flanker.

Ulster will also start with three new signings in their opening PRO14 against Scarlets at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday (5.15pm).

Will Addison, Billy Burns and Henry Speight will all make their PRO14 debuts after being named in the starting backline.

Ireland internationals John Cooney and Iain Henderson will also start after missing the two pre-season fixtures.

Cooney and Burns are paired in the half back positions for the first time, while Stuart McCloskey and Darren Cave will provide a familiar look to the midfield.

Addison and Speight are joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy, who scored 10 tries in as many PRO14 matches last season.

Abbey Insurance Academy graduate Tom O’Toole, who signed his first senior contract earlier this week, will start at tighthead prop, earning his sixth cap. He will be joined in the front row by Ballymena RFC clubmen Andy Warwick and John Andrew.

Alan O’Connor will captain the side from the second row, where he will be partnered by Henderson. Marcell Coetzee, who made a welcome return to action last weekend in the game against Wasps, will combine in the back row with Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney.

Academy player Eric O’Sullivan could make his competitive debut for the Province if called upon from the bench. The loosehead prop is joined among the replacements by fellow forwards Adam McBurney, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell and Chris Henry.

Dave Shanahan, Angus Curtis and Angus Kernohan, the sub-Academy winger who has impressed in both pre-season fixtures and is also in line for a PRO14 debut, are the backline options.

Marty Moore (calf) and Kyle McCall (elbow) picked up injuries in training and are unavailable for selection this weekend.

Munster: Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Neil Cronin; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland (C); Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Arno Botha.

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Brian Scott, Stephen Archer, Darren O’Shea, Gavin Coombes, James Hart, Joey Carbery, Sammy Arnold.

Toyota Cheetahs

15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 William Small-Smith, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Shaun Venter, 1 Ox Nche, 2 Jacques du Toit, 3 Luan de Bruin, 4 Justin Basson, 5 JP du Preez, 6 Junior Pokomela, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 8 Jasper Wiese


16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Aranos Coetzee, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Ernst Stapelberg, 23 Ryno Eksteen

Ulster team to play Scarlets:

W Addison; C Gilroy, D Cave, S McCloskey, H Speight; B Burns, J Cooney; A Warwick, J Andrew, T O’Toole, A O’Connor (captain), I Henderson, M Coetzee, S Reidy, N Timoney

Replacements: A McBurney, E O’Sullivan, R Kane, K Treadwell, C Henry, D Shanahan, A Curtis, A Kernohan.

Scarlets: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens ©, 3 Werner Kruger, 4 David Bulbring, 5 Steve Cummins, 6 Blade Thomson, 7 James Davies, 8 Josh Macleod

Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Ed Kennedy, 20 Dan Davis, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Ioan Nicholas

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Kyle Godwin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Paul Boyle, Jarrad Butler, Eoin McKeon.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, Cillian Gallagher, James Mitchell, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun.

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