Old rivals, new enemies - Munster v Leinster ready for battle
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Thomond Park. Under lights. Two heavyweight provinces going toe to toe. Like always, you can expect this interpro clash to have plenty of needle and even more action.
Munster welcome Leinster to Limerick in this seasonal interpro with a point to prove. The last time these two sides met was in the RDS in May, when Leinster dumped their southern neighbours out of the Guinness PRO14 at the semi-final stage. Munster will feel like they barely laid a glove on Leinster that day when it counted, and it was yet another final four defeat for Van Graan's men.
The traditional rivalry between these two, which simmered for a period of a few years, has once again reached boiling point in recent years. In this fixture last December, when Munster saw off the eventual PRO14 champions in a fiery contest, a number of flashpoints emphasised the return of the traditional flare-ups we came to expect from these two. This one should be no different.
MUNSTER TEAM NEWS
The headline news for Munster is the return of Joey Carbery to their matchday squad. The outhalf has not played for Munster since the World Cup but his ankle issues have hopefully cleared enough for this game to be the start of a long run of fitness and games.
Former Leinster scrumhalf Nick McCarthy gets the No.9 jersey and partners JJ Hanrahan behind the scrum. Billy Holland captains the side and Sammy Arnold gets a chance at outside centre.
🏉 It’s Interpro derby #Gameday!
The top two in the Guinness PRO14 face off at a sold-out @ThomondStadium today!
Here is your Munster side for #MUNvLEI & with an increased capacity of 26,267, fans need to allow extra time for travelling to the game and entering TP.#SUAF 🔴 pic.twitter.com/fHRJr6FlCl
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) December 28, 2019
LEINSTER TEAM NEWS
Another returning 10 and this time it is Ross Byrne. He starts alongside 23-year-old scrumhalf Rowan Osborne - a late change for the injured Jamison Gibson-Park - while Conor O'Brien and Jimmy O'Brien are reunited in the Leinster midfield and Hugo Keenan gets another chance to impress at fullback.
Scott Fardy captains the league champions from the second row, leaving Josh Murphy, Will Connors and Caelan Doris to fill out the back row positions. James Lowe, who was red card in the corresponding fixture last Christmas, starts on the left wing.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) December 27, 2019
This should be a lively one and many of the young players on show will be hoping to impress on-looking Ireland head coach Andy Farrell at Thomond Park. The match coverage is live on eir Sports 1 from 5pm with kick-off at 6pm.