Billy Holland to captain Munster away to Zebre

Anthony Foley has made eight changes to the side that defeated Treviso last weekend

BY Newstalk 14:52 Friday 29 January 2016, 14:52 29 Jan 2016

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

Munster Head Coach Anthony Foley has made eight changes to the side that defeated Treviso last weekend with Darren Sweetnam set to make his first competitive start for the province

Five of those changes are seen in the pack. Following his inclusion in the Ireland Six Nations squad, James Cronin has been made available to the province this weekend and returns to the starting line-up at loosehead, as does Niall Scannell at hooker, with John Ryan remaining at tighthead.

Mark Chisholm resumes his partnership with Dave Foley in the second row, while in the back row Jack O'Donoghue and Robin Copeland come in to join Billy Holland who makes his third consecutive start at blindside. Having just signed a new two-year deal with the province, Holland will also captain the side this weekend.

The first of three changes across the backline comes at scrum-half with Tomás O'Leary partnering Ian Keatley in the half-backs. Elsewhere, Andrew Conway has recovered from a hip-pointer to start at full-back and following a run of strong performances for Munster A in this season's British and Irish Cup, Darren Sweetnam will make his first PRO12 start on the right wing.

No change on the opposite flank with last weekend's man of the match Ronan O'Mahony staying put, and Rory Scannell and Francis Saili again take charge of the midfield.

Dave O'Callaghan makes a return to the matchday squad amongst the replacements after successfully rehabbing an adductor injury.

Munster team and replacements to face Zebre:

(15-9): Andrew Conway, Darren Sweetnam, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Ronan O'Mahony, Ian Keatley, Tomás O'Leary.

(1-8): James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Dave Foley, Mark Chisholm, Billy Holland (capt), Jack O'Donoghue, Robin Copeland.

Replacements (16-23): Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, Mario Sagario, Dave O'Callaghan, Shane Buckley, Duncan Williams, Cian Bohane, Gerhard van den Heever.

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