John Ryan returns for Munster Rugby for Ulster Rugby clash

A must win for Munster Rugby but squad depth options are limited

Munster Rugby have named their matchday squad for the latest Irish interprovincial fixture against Ulster Rugby. The marquee headline from Munster Rugby is the inclusion of Jack Crowley, Alex Kendellen, Mike Haley and John Ryan into the starting line-up.

Mike Haley makes a timely return and forms a back three with Patrick Campbell and Shane Daly. This looks an exciting back three if given sufficient quick ruck ball. The three quarters see Malaki Fekitoa and Rory Scannell continue their partnership.

Jack Crowley gets his opportunity to impress at half-back. He will be partnered by Paddy Patterson who has shown promise early this season.

The back row unit of Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen and John Hodnett is exciting and their clash with David McCann, Sean Reffell and Duane Vermeulen will go a long way to determining who wins this derby clash.

The front five is all change. The front row will see David Kilcoyne, Diarmuid Barron and John Ryan start. Ryan’s inclusion at tighthead prop is a welcome boost to the ball club given the injury to Stephen Archer.

Diarmuid Barron looking to consolidate his starting berth with a solid performance here and continue the good work from the Emerging Ireland tour. Kilcoyne has built up form in recent weeks.

The second row is all change. Edwin Edogbo recovers from a groin injury to partner Eoin O’Connor. A youthful second row who will be tested by the experienced Sam Carter and Alan O’Connor. Set piece execution will be a fascinating watch here.

The bench impact was key last weekend at the Aviva. Given the lengthy injury list, Munster Rugby call up Evan O’Connell and Cian Hurley into the matchday squad to cover second row and back row positions.

The rest of the bench sees Niall Scannell, Josh Wycherley, Roman Salanoa fill the forward bench berths. Ben Healy, Simon Zebo and Neil Cronin will cover the half-back and back line options.

The Ulster Rugby squad is an unknown quantity in terms of preparation for this game. The virus outbreak in South Africa and its impact to the side will be answered tomorrow. James Hume returns at outside centre. Duane Vermeulen at eight. Nathan Doak and Billy Burns look a solid half-back partnership.

The subs bench looks strong when you have the likes of Rory Sutherland, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney to come in the third quarter. I am looking forward to seeing Cormac Izuchukwu and his performance. The talented forward had a superb Emerging Ireland tour; dynamic ball carrier and immense work rate on both sides of the ball.

Munster Rugby are backs against the wall here. It looks a tough proposition but the virus outbreak within the Ulster Rugby camp last week makes this fixture very uncertain to call.

Massive need for Munster Rugby to win this to keep in touch with the midtable pack. Otherwise, a long URC season waits for the men in red!