Kelly to captain Munster for Magners opener

John Kelly will captain Munster on the occasion of his 138th cap in their opening Magners League tie at the Cardiff Blues on Friday evening.

John Kelly will captain Munster on the occasion of his 138th cap in their opening Magners League tie at the Cardiff Blues on Friday evening.

Ross Noonan and James Coughlan will start as novices in a weakened back row and, unusually, Munster may look to a strong backline, which includes newcomer James Downey and All Black legend Christian Cullen, to engineer victory.

MUNSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Christian Cullen; Shaun Payne, John Kelly (capt), James Downey, Ian Dowling; Jeremy Manning, Tomas O’Leary; Darragh Hurley, Frank Sheahan, Federico Pucciariello, Donnacha Ryan, Chris Wyatt, Ross Noonan, John O’Sullivan, James Coughlan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Tim Ryan, Shane O’Connor, Brendan Cuttriss, Gerry Hurley, Eoghan Hickey, Mossy Lawlor.

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