Academy trio handed first Munster starts in London Irish match

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Keynan Knox

Three Academy players will make their first Munster starts in Friday’s friendly against London Irish.

Johann van Graan has included four Academy members in all for the first game of pre-season, including the debutant trio of John Hodnett, Keynan Knox, and Alex McHenry, as well as winger Liam Coombes.

Knox, who was signed after finishing school in his native South-Africa, will start at tighthead prop.

New signing Nick McCarthy, the scrum-half who joined from Leinster, could be in line to make his debut off the bench, as are Academy prospects Thomas Ahern, Jack O’Sullivan, and Ben Healy.

Hodnett, Healy, and replacement scrum-half Craig Casey were members of Ireland’s U20 Grand Slam winners this spring, while Ahern joined that trio for the U20 World Championship in Argentina.

Tyler Bleyendaal captains the team at out-half and is joined by Neil Cronin in the half-backs.

Darren Sweetnam will make his first start at full-back.

Kick-off at Musgrave Park is at 7.30pm tomorrow.

Munster: Darren Sweetnam; Calvin Nash, Alex McHenry, Dan Goggin, Liam Coombes; Tyler Bleyendaal (C), Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Keynan Knox; Darren O’Shea, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements from: Diarmuid Barron, James Cronin, Peter McCabe, Stephen Archer, Thomas Ahern, Seán O’Connor, Arno Botha, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Sullivan, Craig Casey, Nick McCarthy, JJ Hanrahan, Ben Healy, Shane Daly, Rory Scannell, Mike Haley.

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