Jack O’Donoghue to lead Munster against Ospreys

Date published: November 14 2020

There are five changes to the Munster side that beat the Dragons at Rodney Parade in Round Four, with the Irish outfit missing out on last week’s Round Five action due to the game against Benetton being postponed.

Props James Cronin and Stephen Archer start this week, joining Kevin O’Byrne in the front-row.

Fineen Wycherley takes his place alongside Jean Kleyn in the second-row with Tommy O’Donnell coming in at openside as Jack O’Donoghue and Gavin Coombes complete the back-row.

O’Donoghue captains the side on his fifth successive start.

The only personnel change to the backline sees Mike Haley start at full-back. With Haley’s return, Matt Gallagher makes the positional switch to the wing with Darren Sweetnam covering the opposite flank.

It’s as you were for the half-back pairing of Craig Casey and JJ Hanrahan with Damian de Allende and Rory Scannell continuing their centre partnership.

Returning from international camp is John Ryan, who is named among the replacements, and Dan Goggin is also in line to feature after returning from shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Dan Lydiate will captain the Ospreys side alongside an unchanged back-row of Will Griffiths and Gareth Evans.

Adam Beard and Bradley Davies retain the second-row partnership with Olly Cracknell and Rhys Davies named on the bench after making his Ospreys debut last weekend.

A change in the front-row sees Gareth Thomas, Ifan Phillips and Tom Botha come into the starting line-up and Rhodri Jones, Dewi Lake and Ma’afu Fia providing the cover.

In the backs, Stephen Myler lines up alongside Shaun Venter as the half-back pairing with Keiran Williams and Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler forming the centres. Mat Protheroe shifts to full-back with Hanno Dirksen coming onto the wing alongside Luke Morgan.

Matthew Aubrey, Josh Thomas and Scott Williams complete the matchday 23.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Rory Scannell, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Matt Gallagher, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Jack O’Donoghue (c), 5 Fineen Wycherley, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Kevin O’Byrne, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 John Ryan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Jack O’Sullivan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Dan Goggin

Ospreys: 15 Mat Protheroe, 14 Luke Morgan, 13 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Dan Lydiate (c), 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Gareth Thomas
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 Josh Thomas, 23 Scott Williams

Date: Sunday, November 15
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Robert O’Sullivan (Ireland)
TMO: Brian McNeice (Ireland)