Beirne blow for Munster and Ireland 

Tadgh Beirne will be out of action for the remainder of the season

IRELAND’S Six Nations Championship campaign, and that also of Munster in the European Champions Cup and URC, have been dealt a serious blow after confirmation that Tadhg Beirne has been ruled-out for the rest of the season.

The 31-year-old second row, it has been announced, will be out of action for 12 weeks due to an ankle injury sustained in the weekend victory over France. 

 “Tadhg Beirne will undergo surgery today on the ankle injury he sustained in Saturday’s win over France,” read a tweet from the Irish Rugby Football Union.

“Unfortunately, Tadhg will be ruled out for up to 12 weeks.”

Meanwhile, Munster Rugby have confirmed the signing on a two-year contract of centre Alex Nankivell from the New Zealand Chiefs and one-year contract extensions for tighthead prop Stephen Archer and loosehead prop Dave Kilcoyne.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

On the selection front Jack O’Donoghue returns from suspension to captain Munster against Ospreys on the resumption of the URC at Thomond Park tonight at 7.35pm. 

There are three changes to the side that secured a valuable bonus-point win over Benetton in their last outing, with Gavin Coombes returning from the international scene and crowd-favourite Simon Zebo also on the starting blocks. 

In addition, Academy scrum-half Ethan Coughlan and prop Mark Donnelly are among the replacements, with Coughlan in line for his first appearance of the season and his home debut.

Shane Daly, who has played the most minutes for Munster so far this season, starts at full-back with Liam Coombes and Zebo on the wings.

The half-back and centre partnerships are unchanged with Paddy Patterson and Joey Carbery at 9 and 10 as Malakai Fekitoa and Antoine Frisch continue in midfield.

Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell and Roman Salanoa pack down in the front row with Salanoa recently earning his first call-up to the Ireland senior squad.

Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley start in the engine room with a back row of O’Donoghue, Hodnett and Coombes completing the starting XV.

Ben Healy is among the replacements after returning from international duty with Scotland.

Munster: Shane Daly; Liam Coombes, Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Simon Zebo; Joey Carbery, Paddy Patterson; Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell, Roman Salanoa; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (captain), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Mark Donnelly, Stephen Archer, Jack O’Sullivan, Alex Kendellen, Ethan Coughlan, Ben Healy, Rory Scannell.