Barron to captain Munster in URC trip to Dublin

Diarmuid Barron during a Munster rugby squad training session at Thomond Park. Photo: Eóin Noonan.

IN THE enforced absence of outgoing captain Peter O’Mahony (shoulder), Diarmuid Barron will skipper Munster in Saturday’s glamour URC outing against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium, kick-off 6.30pm.

There are six changes to the side that beat Stormers at the weekend.

Stephen Archer will at tighthead prop to become Munster’s most-capped player of all-time with 269 Munster appearances.

Barron returns to captain the side at hooker with Jean Kleyn making his first appearance of the URC season since winning the World Cup with the Springboks.

Tom Ahern makes his first ever start in the back row for Munster and two changes to the backline see Simon Zebo and Rory Scannell come into the side.

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Zebo makes his first appearance of the season and his first start at full-back for Munster since 2018. He is joined by Calvin Nash and Shane Daly in the back three with Daly making a positional switch to the wing.

Scannell and Antoine Frisch start together in midfield with Craig Casey and Jack Crowley in the half-backs.

Jeremy Loughman, Barron and Archer pack down in the front row with Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne in the engine room.

Ahern, John Hodnett and Gavin Coombes complete the starting XV.

There are three Academy players among the replacements – Brian Gleeson, Tony Butler and Shay McCarthy.

Scott Buckley, Dave Kilcoyne and John Ryan provide the front row back-up with Kilcoyne set for his first appearance since returning from the World Cup.

Gleeson and Alex Kendellen complete the forward cover.

Conor Murray, Butler and McCarthy are the backline replacements.

O’Mahony and Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) were unavailable for selection.

Munster: Simon Zebo; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron (captain), Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Tom Ahern, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Scott Buckley, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Brian Gleeson, Alex Kendellen, Conor Murray, Tony Butler, Shay McCarthy.