Munster roll out big guns for Southern Kings clash
Irish PRO14 team boosted by inclusion of five Six Nations players
Munster have been boosted by the return of five members of Ireland’s Six Nations squad for their Guinness PRO14 clash against the Isuzu Southern Kings at Musgrave Park in Cork on Friday.
The Conference A leaders will welcome back hooker Niall Scannell, prop John Ryan, second-row Billy Holland, winger Andrew Conway and centre Chris Farrell.
Munster head coach Johann van Graan welcomed the return of the players as his team look to entrench their position at the top of Conference A.
Centre Farrell started for Ireland in Saturday’s Six Nations victory over Scotland at Murrayfield and will give the team added bite in midfield.
Conway has been hampered with a calf injury, but was training with the Munster squad this week as they prepared for the visit of the Kings.
Van Graan said that No 8 CJ Stander and second-row Tadhg Beirne are still a few weeks away from a return to action due to injury.
The Munster coach insisted that Conor Murray’s form at present was not a cause for concern. “I don’t think anybody should worry about that.
"Conor is a world class player and everybody just expecting that he kicks every kick perfectly,” Van Graan said.
“I thought he put in a really big shift over the weekend for Ireland in terms of his D (defence) and his reading and his passing.
“He scored a fantastic try. He won’t deliver the perfect performance every week but that’s a world class player. I don’t think he every plays below 80 per cent.
“No, he’ll find his way back into top form. I think it’s more the things that people don’t look at, he is so good in his support play and his communication.
“He makes teammates around him feel so good. So I think Conor is playing about 80 per cent every single week and hopefully he’ll be back to 98, 99 soon.”
Kings coach Deon Davids says his team have prepared well for a tough start to their European tour.
“We have had a good week of preparation leading up to our departure on Monday evening for this tour of Ireland and Wales,” Davids said. “It is set to be a tough tour starting against Conference A leaders Munster on Friday.
“Then we face the defending champions Leinster, before ending off against Cardiff. We have shown some gradual progress over the weeks, and we hope to continue on that upward curve."
Davids has selected a 27-man squad for the three matches, which includes 16 forwards and 11 backline players.
Forwards: Schalk Ferreira, Alulutho Tshakweni, Pieter Scholtz, De-Jay Terblanche, Lupumlo Mguca, Michael Willemse, Alandre van Rooyen, Tango Balekile, Stephan Greeff, John-Charles Astle (c), Andries van Schalkwyk, Martinus Burger, Andisa Ntsila, Bakkies Brown, Stephan de Wit, Ruaan Lerm.
Backs: Stefan Ungerer, Sarel Pretorius, Rudi van Rooyen, Bader Pretorius, Berton Klaasen, Tertius Kruger, Meli Rokoua, Bjorn Basson, Yaw Penxe, Masixole Banda, Ulrich Beyers..