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Much-changed Munster Rugby team to face Zebre in URC in Italy is named

MUNSTER Head Coach Johann van Graan has chosen his side for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship showdown against Zebre in Parma, Italy, 5pm Irish time.

Seven of the 19 Munster players who were in AIL action last weekend are selected in the squad.

Jack O’Donoghue heads Munster with 11 changes to the squad that overcame Wasps 45-7 last week.

Jean Kleyn holds his place to start on his 100th Munster appearance. The Ireland international lock has been a terrific addition to the squad since joining the province in July 2016.

Jake Flannery starts at out-half for the first time on his fifth Munster debut while winger Calvin Nash returns from an ankle injury for his first game since September.

Matt Gallagher, Nash and Shane Daly comprise the back three with a centre pairing of Dan Goggin and Liam Coombes. Goggin and Coombes played out on opposite sides of last week’s Limerick derby between Young Munster and Garryowen.

Neil Cronin and Flannery are in the half-backs.

Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron and Keynan Knox pack down in the front row with Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley in the engine room.

O’Donoghue, John Hodnett and Jack O’Sullivan complete the starting XV.

Greencore Munster Rugby Academy trio Scott Buckley, Alex Kendellen and Paddy Patterson are among the replacements.

MUNSTER RUGBY: Matt Gallagher; Calvin Nash, Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin, Shane Daly; Jake Flannery, Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron, Keynan Knox; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), John Hodnett, Jack O’Sullivan. Replacements: Scott Buckley, Josh Wycherley, Roman Salanoa, Thomas Ahern, Alex Kendellen, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, Chris Farrell.