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URC, Round 10 - Teams and Predictions

FRIDAY PREVIEW: Munster head coach Graham Rowntree has unveiled a strong side for Friday’s United Rugby Championship Round 10 clash against the Scarlets in Wales.

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There are seven changes to the side that beat Crusaders two weeks ago with Mike Haley and RG Snyman back from injury to make their first starts of the season.

Snyman suffered a chest/shoulder injury during the World Cup Final in October and underwent surgery in South Africa in early November.

He was originally expected to return to action in March, but his recovery was ahead of schedule.

Meanwhile, Oli Jager, Jeremy Loughman and Conor Murray all come into the starting XV after returning from international duty.

Tom Ahern and Niall Scannell start after missing the Crusaders clash due to injury with Ahern partnering Snyman in the second row.

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Alex Kendellen captains Munster in the URC for the first time after leading the team against Crusaders.

Three Academy players are included in the squad as 20-year-old Ruadhán Quinn keeps his place for his first start in the URC.

Haley makes his 98th start at fullback for Munster with Seán O’Brien and Shane Daly on either wing.

Dan Jones will make his 150th Scarlets appearance in Friday’s match.

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The flyhalf hasn’t played since the Barbarians match in September, having suffered a serious hamstring tear in pre-season training.

New signing Jarrod Taylor, who arrived this week from the Stormers, goes straight into the starting line-up at blindside flank

Wales international Johnny McNicholl is another to return after a spell on the sidelines.

“We know Munster will be physical and their DNA is that they are very competitive at the breakdown, it will be a big challenge,” said Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel.

“We are only halfway through the URC season, we have nine games to go, six at home, so we have plenty to play for.

“For us, it is about performances and chasing up as high in the league as we can.”

Friday’s other match will see Zebre Parma at home against Sean Everitt’s Edinburgh.

For Edinburgh, Scotland halfbacks Ben Healy and Ali Price start as two of seven internationals released for the trip.

Harry Paterson – who enjoyed an impressive international debut against France on Saturday – WP Nel, Glen Young and Jamie Ritchie all start in Parma, with Javan Sebastian selected among the replacements.

Sitting in sixth place in the Championship, Edinburgh return to league action for the first time since defeating Glasgow Warriors in front of a club-record 37,904 crowd at Murrayfield in December.

Ahead of the clash in Parma, Everitt said: “The guys have come back from a break refreshed and ready to go. It’s been good to give our bodies a rest, but the squad are now champing at the bit to get into game time.

“We name a side with plenty of quality and experience to face a Zebre Parma team who are much improved this season. With a number of our internationalists coming back into a settled squad, there is a good balance throughout the 23.

“Players like Jamie [Ritchie], Ali [Price] and WP [Nel] will be eager to impress from the get-go while we’re excited to see younger guys like Paddy [Harrison] and Nathan [Sweeney] get their opportunity from the bench.

“This is an important fixture for the club. We’ve trained well and are ready for the challenge.”

See below for Friday’s teams and predictions!

Friday, February 16

Scarlets v Munster
(Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli – Kick-off: 19.35; 19.35 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Munster by nine points.

Teams:

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tomi Lewis, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Eddie James, 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Archie Hughes, 8 Vaea Fifita, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Jarrod Taylor, 5 Sam Lousi (captain), 4 Alex Craig, 3 Harri O’Connor, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Kemsley Mathias.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thomas, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Jac Price, 20 Teddy Leatherbarrow, 21 Efan Jones, 22 Charlie Titcombe, 23 Steff Evans.

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Seán O’Brien, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Alex Kendellen (captain), 6 Ruadhán Quinn, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Tom Ahern, 3 Oli Jager, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Eoghan Clarke, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 John Ryan, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Jack O’Sullivan, 21 Ethan Coughlan, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Shay McCarthy.

Referee: Ian Kenny (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Tom Spurrier (Wales)
TMO: Mike Adamson (Scotland)

Zebre Parma v Edinburgh
(Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma – Kick-off: 20.35; 19.35 UK & Ireland time; 19.35 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Edinburgh by 12 points.

Teams:

Zebre Parma: 15 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Luca Morisi (captain), 12 Damiano Mazza, 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Giovanni Montemauri, 9 Gonzalo Garcia, 8 Davide Ruggeri, 7 Iacopo Bianchi, 6 Bautista Stavile, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 Matteo Canali, 3 Matteo Nocera, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Muhamed Hasa.
Replacements: 16 Marco Manfredi, 17 Luca Rizzoli, 18 Riccardo Genovese, 19 Dylan de Leeuw, 20 Taina Fox-Matamua, 21 Alessandro Fusco, 22 Scott Gregory, 23 Giovanni Licata.

Edinburgh: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Harry Paterson, 13 Matt Currie, 12 James Lang, 11 Chris Dean, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Ali Price, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Glen Young, 4 Marshall Sykes, 3 WP Nel, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Paddy Harrison, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Tom Dodd, 20 Connor Boyle, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Mark Bennett, 23 Nathan Sweeney.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy), Manuel Bottino (Italy)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

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