Munster Rugby v Scarlets Match Programme

MunsterRugbyMatchProgrammes

Guinness PRO14 Round 15 | Find out all you need to know ahead of Munster v Scarlets.

Read what Senior Coach Stephen Larkham and Mike Haley had to say in the build up to the game.

President Seán McCullough recognises the efforts of Billy Holland before he signs off on his 14-year career with the province.

We take a look at Friday's opposition Scarlets and have an in-depth piece on Craig Casey's development after making his Ireland debut against Italy.

Leah Lyons is our featured interview as the Fermoy native talks us through her pathway from Munster age-grade days.

v SCARLETS | FRI 12 MAR 2021 | THOMOND PARK | 8PM

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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Loved in Munster.

Followed the world over.

Always represented.

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© 2020 adidas AG


PRESIDENT’S WELCOME

This evening we welcome Glenn Delaney and

his Scarlets team to Thomond Park for the

penultimate round in the Guinness PRO14

series. Scarlets come into this game sitting in

3rd place in Conference B and while the final is

beyond them, Champions Cup is on the horizon

and a game like this will be valuable to get

under their belt for the campaign ahead.

Munster have booked a place in the final on

March 27 after a hard-earned win against

Connacht last weekend. With the final only two

weeks away, tonight’s game will be a chance to

keep the momentum going and keep everyone

focused for the task ahead. Our best wishes to

Johann and all his team for tonight’s game.

Munster A played the Connacht Eagles last

weekend in the Sportsground with Connacht

scoring in the dying seconds to draw the game.

Calvin Nash scored two tries and Liam Coombes

also touched down. Jake Flannery kicked three

conversions and a penalty. This was another

welcome run out for all the players involved.

A few weeks ago, Billy Holland became the 2nd

most capped Munster player with 242 games

and counting under his belt. Achievements like

this do not come around very often but then

again neither do players like Billy. To say that he

is a Munster legend is an understatement. While

Billy has announced his retirement at the end of

this season, there are still some big games to

be played and that is undoubtedly where Billy’s

focus will be over the coming months - always

the professional. Billy has stated in a recent

interview that what he will miss most is running

out in Thomond Park on the Saturday night

of a big game. I know I speak for the Munster

faithful when I say it’s a sight that we will all

miss. On behalf of all Munster people our very

best wishes to Billy and his family on wherever

the next chapter will take him.

While we wait patiently for the next government

announcement, which hopefully will give us

some good news on when we can get back

to some form of activity, it is critical that we

continue to do the right things and stay on

track to suppress this virus. Together we are

stronger, and we can do this.

Our thanks to our main sponsor Bank of Ireland,

our kit supplier adidas and all our sponsors for

their continued support.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay positive.

To the brave and faithful, nothing is impossible.

Seán McCullough

President Munster Branch IRFU

President: Sean McCullough | Vice President: Ger McNamara | Junior Vice President: Michael Carroll

Hon. Secretary: Muiris Mahon| Hon. Treasurer: Tom Kinirons

Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Ian Flanagan | Head Coach: Johann van Graan | Team Manager: Niall O’Donovan

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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PRO14 HOME

LATEST NEWS, LIVE MATCH

CENTRES, STATS & MORE

VISIT NOW

WWW.PRO14.RUGBY

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GUINNESS PRO14 CAMPAIGN TO CONCLUDE IN

MARCH AHEAD OF NEW “RAINBOW CUP” WITH

SOUTH AFRICA’S TOP FOUR ‘SUPER’ TEAMS

The current Guinness PRO14 campaign will

end in March allowing South Africa’s four

‘Super’ teams and our existing clubs to

finish the season with a 16-team “Rainbow

Cup” competition ahead of the British &

Irish Lions tour.

After consulting with key PRO14 stakeholders, the Guinness

PRO14 Rainbow Cup was chosen as the best pathway to

finish up the current campaign and introduce South Africa’s

four ‘Super’ teams: the Vodacom Bulls; Emirates Lions; Cell

C Sharks and DHL Stormers. This decision also allows our

European-based sides to earn qualification for European

Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) tournaments in 2021/22 in

a fair and equitable manner.

Ahead of the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa,

the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will provide a groundbreaking

spectacle for fans who will see international star

players from north and south establish new rivalries in their

bid for the ultimate Test selection.

Right through until the last kick of the ball in the Rainbow

Cup in June, fans will be able to watch it all unfold with our

broadcast partners Premier Sports, eir Sport, S4C, TG4,

DAZN and Super Sport.

How it will Work

• The 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 campaign will finish after 16

rounds with the Conference winners facing each other in a

final in late March

• Qualification for EPCR tournaments in 2021/22 will be

decided by rankings after Round 16

• On April 17, 2021, the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will

kick-off and introduce the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions,

Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers and their World Cupwinning

Springboks

• The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will consist of a pool

stage (two pools of eight teams) and a final between the

two pool winners

FINAL CHAPTER OF GUINNESS PRO14

fixture list will aim to ensure home and away in-conference

fixtures are completed and each team plays all of its

cross-conference matches also. Further clarification will be

available when fixtures are confirmed.

The scheduled dates for the conclusion of the 2020-21

Guinness PRO14 campaign are:

R12: February 20

R13: February 27

R14: March 6

R15: March 13

R16: March 20

Final: March 27

Once Round 16 has been completed, the top-ranked teams

from each conference will qualify for the 2021/22 Heineken

Champions Cup. Requirement for play-offs is under review.

GUINNESS PRO14 “RAINBOW CUP”

FORGING NEW RIVALRIES

With South Africa preparing to host their first British & Irish

Lions tour since 2009, the World Cup champions will see

their ‘Super’ teams – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers

take on the very best that Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales

have to offer.

Players aiming to make the British & Irish Lions squad will

find no better trial environment to test themselves in, as

they go up against the likes of Siya Kolisi, Pieter Steph du

Toit (both DHL Stormers), Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom

Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions) and former Guinness

PRO14 top-try scorer Makazole Mapimipi (Cell C Sharks).

The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will kick off on April 17

with two pools of 8 teams made up of two Irish, two South

African, two Welsh, one Italian and one Scottish club. Each

team will play one game against each pool opponent and

the sides that finish top of their pools will face off in a final

on June 19.

Across 57 matches, the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will

feature the best of the Springbok talent going toe-to-toe

with some of the British & Irish Lions’ biggest names – every

one of them keen to lay down a marker to their respective

selectors ahead of what will prove to an historic tour.

Rounds 12 to 16 will take place from February 20 and

conclude on March 20. A final will then take place at the

home venue of the highest-ranked team. This abbreviated

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER v SCARLETS

ROUND 15 PREVIEW

With the line-up for the Guinness PRO14 final

on Saturday March 27 confirmed, attention

now turns to the race to secure Champions Cup

places.

The battle continues in Conference B as four

teams can still finish in different positions, with

Munster top and winless Benetton finishing

bottom. Connacht will secure second spot with

a home win over Edinburgh, who are 14 points

behind third-placed Scarlets although they do

have two matches extra to play. Cardiff Blues

head to Benetton as they attempt to reduce

the eight-point gap between them and Glenn

Delaney’s Scarlets side.

Munster have an unassailable 12-point lead at the

top after Joey Carbery came off the bench to kick

the match-winning 68th-minute penalty in a 20-

17 victory over Connacht last Friday.

Scarlets are eyeing a third straight win after

victories over Benetton and Edinburgh which

have left them on the brink of Champions Cup

qualification. They were narrowly beaten 30-

27 when the teams last met in October despite

Munster scoring all three tries in the game.

Damian de Allende fends off Steff Evans

Munster booked their place in the Guinness

PRO14 final last weekend and Scarlets will hope

to take advantage of any drop in intensity from

the Conference B winners.

CONFERENCE B TABLE

POS TEAM PL W D L BP PTS

1 Munster Rugby 14 12 0 2 6 54

2 Connacht Rugby 14 8 0 6 10 42

3 Scarlets 14 7 0 7 6 34

4 Cardiff Blues 14 6 0 8 2 26

5 Edinburgh Rugby 12 4 0 8 4 20

6 Benetton Rugby 12 0 0 12 6 6

HEAD TO HEAD 19 12 2

Munster wins

MATCH FACTS

Scarlets wins

Draws

Munster have won their last four Guinness

PRO14 encounters since their reversal at

home to Leinster on 23 January.

Munster have not been defeated by a Welsh

region since today’s opponents, Scarlets,

beat them at Parc y Scarlets in March 2019.

Scarlets have won their last two Guinness

PRO14 fixtures since their home defeat to

Leinster on 30 January.

• The Welshmen’s only victory over an Irish

opponent since September 2019 was on their

trip to Connacht in November 2020.

Munster have won three of their last four

fixtures against Scarlets whilst the Scarlets

only win at Thomond Park since 2003 came

in February 2017.

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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THE INSIDE

TRACK

STEPHEN LARKHAM

On the win over Connacht last Friday…

“We’ve had a number of those games this

year where it hasn’t worked out perfectly for

us. We’ve won some close games past the

80-minute mark. The game against Connacht

was very similar. We can certainly take a lot

away from the leadership on the pitch, the

way the guys composed themselves. We

struggled with our lineout as you probably saw

throughout the game. We didn’t deliver seven

the way we’d like to have delivered them, but

the last two lineouts got us back on track. There

was some really good leadership on the field,

and I think we take a lot out of that going into

these next couple of games.”

On playing games during the Six Nations

window…

“It’s a challenge. We’ve dealt with it fairly

well this year. There’s a lot of good depth in

this squad. That’s the beauty of having the

Six Nations running between games, you get

opportunities to see some of these younger

guys come through. We are very happy

with where most of those guys are at, at the

moment. It will be a challenge obviously over

the next couple of weeks, and we are definitely

looking for guys to earn their spot in the final.

We’ve got guys coming back from Six Nations,

some guys who didn’t travel to national camp

this week, some other guys coming back next

week, so there’s going to be that rotation of

players in and out between us and the national

squad. That is very difficult to manage, but we

are looking for not only game performance

but training performance and how well they

recover. We’ll take all that into consideration for

the team that we eventually pick for the final.”

On keeping up momentum…

“When you talk about a normal finals campaign,

that is a quarter-final, semi-final and final

format, you normally get up for the quarterfinal,

so you put all your resources into making

sure your best performance is the first round

of the knockouts. For us it’s a little bit different,

because we don’t have to taper off. In a normal

situation, you prep for the quarter-final like it

was the final and you just taper for the next

game, and taper into the final, and momentum

carries you into that. We are in a situation now

where we are just building for that last game.

We definitely want to build momentum in

certain areas in certain aspects of the game

over these next two games I don’t think we are

going to get everything right, but we do want to

see improvement on our base game between

now and the final.”

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MIKE HALEY

On playing Scarlets in this round…

“They’re a brilliant side. Even before I came to

Munster, I really enjoyed watching Scarlets.

They play a great brand of rugby. Especially

when the weather is starting to clear up a little

bit, and there are dry days, they are a huge

threat, literally because of how they like to play

the game. They are going to be coming here

with nothing to lose and play a really exciting

brand of rugby. It will be up to us to try and

control that and put our front foot forward and

build on last week and get another win.”

On enjoying his rugby…

“I’ve actually been enjoying it all season. For

whatever reason, I’ve settled down a little bit,

enjoying each game for what it is, each one is

a unique challenge. If you look at the Glasgow

away game – awful weather - but it was a fun

game in terms of having to change your style

of play, you are challenged by the surrounding

factors. It was the same again last weekend.

It was a nice dry game but a tough game,

Connacht were really dragging us into a brawl,

but it was enjoyable to be able to play a bit of

running rugby.”

On getting to the Guinness PRO14 Final…

“It’s unbelievable. We worked really hard since

Covid. We knew it would change us either for the

better or the worse, and we have been working

really hard. If you look back on the season, we

started with Scarlets away last year and had

to really grind out a win, with the last kick of

the game. It went from there, building week on

week on week. It is really satisfying to get to the

final when you look back on all the hard games

we’ve had to grind out, and all the games

where we performed really well. It is massively

rewarding. Now we want to fulfil that potential.

We are strong believers in ourselves and what

each of us brings to the game. When it comes

to the final, it will be a massive challenge, but

we are looking forward to getting stuck into it.”

"We are strong believers in ourselves and what

each of us brings to the game."

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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NEWSROUND

PLAYERS COMMIT TO MUNSTER

The positive contract news continued this week

with the announcement that Munster and Ireland

wing Keith Earls has signed on for another year,

keeping him at Munster until 2022.

This follows on from the news that Mike Haley,

Gavin Coombes and Neil Cronin have all signed

two-year contract extensions that will see them

remain with the province until at least June 2023.

MUNSTER A DRAW IN GALWAY

The Munster A team travelled to Galway last

Saturday to play their Connacht counterparts.

Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players Jake

Flannery, James French, Seán French and Ben

Healy are all advancing to the senior squad ahead of

the 2021/22 season on one-year deals, while John

Hodnett has put pen to paper on a two-year deal.

Munster led 12-17 at half-time after tries

from Calvin Nash and Liam Coombes

with Jake Flannery kicking both

conversions and a penalty. Flannery

also produced a fantastic crossfield kick

assist for Nash’s try.

Cian Hurley in action for

Munster last Saturday

Calvin Nash added his second try in the second

half, with Flannery once again adding the

extras. However, a late try from Connacht saw

the game drawn.

A selection of senior, Greencore Munster

Rugby Academy and National Talent Squad

players made up the 21-man squad with Tommy

O’Donnell captaining the side.

Munster A: Darren Sweetnam; Calvin Nash,

Alex McHenry, Jack Crowley, Liam Coombes;

Jake Flannery, Paddy Patterson; Liam

O’Connor, Diarmuid Barron, Keynan Knox; Cian

Hurley, Jack Daly, Tommy O’Donnell (C), Scott

Buckley, Alex Kendellen. Replacements:

Rhys Marshall, Scott Buckley, Roman

Salanoa, Ethan Coughlan, Conor Phillips,

Seán French.

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK 15


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MUNSTER DRAW

TOULOUSE IN EUROPE

Munster will host TOP14 leaders Toulouse in the last 16 of the Champions Cup following the

draw for the knockout stages in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday.

If they can defeat Toulouse, Munster will be

away to Wasps or Clermont Auvergne in the

Champions Cup quarter-finals.

The exact dates, venues, kick-off times and

TV coverage, will be announced as soon as

possible following consultation with the clubs

and EPCR’s partner broadcasters.

Mike Haley

Antoine Dupont

ROUND OF 16 - WEEKEND OF 2/3/4 APRIL

Munster Rugby v Toulouse

Gloucester Rugby v La Rochelle

Wasps v ASM Clermont Auvergne

Exeter Chiefs v Lyon

Leinster Rugby v RC Toulon

Bordeaux-Bègles v Bristol Bears

Racing 92 v Edinburgh Rugby

Scarlets v Sale Sharks

QUARTER-FINALS - WEEKEND OF 9/10/11 APRIL

QF1 Winner Exeter Chiefs/Lyon v Winner Leinster/RC Toulon

QF2 Winner Wasps/Clermont v Winner Munster/Toulouse

QF3 Winner Gloucester/La Rochelle v Winner Scarlets/Sale Sharks

QF4 Winner Bordeaux-Bègles/Bristol Bears v Winner Racing 92/Edinburgh

SEMI-FINALS - 30 APRIL – 1/2 MAY

HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP FINAL

MARSEILLE – SATURDAY, 22 MAY

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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THE LOWDOWN

THE FORM GUIDE

It’s been a mixed season in the Guinness

PRO14 for Scarlets who have won 7/lost 7 in

this tournament to date, although they have

picked up four losing bonus points and two try

bonus points to put them in third position in

Conference B.

After losing three on the bounce in January

including twice to Cardiff Blues and to Leinster,

February proved more positive as they scored

nine tries in two consecutive victories -

defeating Benetton 41-17 and then enjoying a

superb 27-25 win over Edinburgh on the road

on February 27 last. It was their first win at

Murrayfield since 2013 and ended a six-game

losing streak against the Scottish side.

In Europe, Scarlets registered two wins -

beating Bath 19-23 in Round 1 at the Rec and

being awarded a 28-0 win over Toulon the

following week. Earlier this week, Scarlets were

drawn against Sale Sharks at home in the next

round.

On the international front, eleven Scarlets

players were named in the Wales’ Six Nations

squad in January including Alun Wyn Jones,

Scarlets skipper Ken Owens, Ryan Elias, Jake

Ball, Gareth Davies, Johnny Williams, Jonathan

Davies, Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Kieran

Hardy and Josh Macleod.

THE COACHING TICKET

New Zealander Glenn Delaney moved from

defence coach to head coach in February 2020.

Delaney made 68 appearances for London Irish

and his coaching career has seen him coaching

in Nottingham and London Irish before joining

Canterbury in 2016 and becoming defence

coach at the Highlanders in 2018. Wales U20

coach Richard Kelly joined Scarlets in May

2020 as forwards coach along with double

World Cup winner Ben Franks who joined the

coaching team as scrum coach. Backs coach

Dai Flanagan has worked with the region since

2014 while former England U20s coach and

Gloucester Academy head Richard Whiffin

completes the coaching ticket as attack coach.

ONE TO WATCH

Position: Back row

Age: 32

Born: Matahau, Tonga

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 122kg

Appearances: 12

Tries: 3

Metres gained: 416

Carries: 136

Turnovers: 4

Tackles: 168

Honours: Tonga (37 caps)

*current season stats –

Guinness PRO14

SIONE KALAMAFONI

Johnny McNicholl

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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STEPHEN ARCHER

Prop

29.01.88

H: 1.88m

W: 120.91kg

Hons: Ire (2 caps)

Hooker

06.08.99

H:1.83m

W: 98kg

Hons: Ire U20

DIARMUID BARRON

TADHG BEIRNE

Lock / Back Row

08.01.92

H: 1.98 m

W: 113.18 kg

Hons: Ire (20 caps)

Flanker

15.02.91

H: 1.76 m

W: 98 kg

Hons: ~

CHRIS CLOETE

Back Row

11.12.1997

H: 1.98m

W: 110kg

Hons: Ire U20

GAVIN COOMBES

JAMES CRONIN

Prop

23.11.90

H: 1.80 m

W: 113 kg

Hons: Ire (3 caps)

Lock / Back Row

03.08.85

H: 1.91 m

W: 111 kg

Hons: Ire (1 cap)

BILLY HOLLAND

DAVE KILCOYNE

Prop

14.12.88

H: 1.83 m

W: 112 kg

Hons: Ire (41 caps)

JEAN KLEYN

Lock

26.08.93

H: 2.03 m

W: 125 kg

Hons: Ire (5 caps)

Prop

06.04.99

H: 1.85m

W: 115kg

Hons: ~

KEYNAN KNOX

Prop

22.07.95

H: 1.85 m

W: 120 kg

Hons: Ire U20

JEREMY LOUGHMAN

Hooker

12.10.92

H: 1.84 m

W: 108 kg

Hons: NZ U20

RHYS MARSHALL

Hooker

16.04.91

H: 1.80 m

W: 107 kg

Hons: Ire U19

KEVIN O’BYRNE

Prop

13.07.95

H: 1.78 m

W: 110 kg

Hons: Ire U20

LIAM O’CONNOR

TOMMY O’DONNELL

Back Row

21.05.87

H: 1.85 m

W: 107 kg

Hons: Ire (12 caps)

JACK O’DONOGHUE

Back Row

08.02.94

H: 1.91 m

W: 107 kg

Hons: Ire (2 caps)

PETER O’MAHONY

Back Row

17.09.89

H: 1.91 m

W: 106 kg

Hons: Ire (74 caps)

Back Row

01.10.98

H: 1.88m

W: 100kg

Hons: Ire U20

JACK O’SULLIVAN

JOHN RYAN

Prop

02.08.88

H: 1.83 m

W: 117 kg

Hons: Ire (23 caps)

Prop

28.10.97

H:1.83m

W: 123.18kg

Hons: USA U20

ROMAN SALANOA

NIALL SCANNELL

Hooker

08.04.92

H: 1.85 m

W: 109 kg

Hons: Ire (20 caps)

RG SNYMAN

Lock

29.01.95

H: 2.06 m

W: 116 kg

Hons: SA (23 caps)

CJ STANDER

Back Row

05.04.90

H: 1.85 m

W: 114 kg

Hons: Ire (49 caps)

Lock

11.12.97

H:1.93 m

W: 111.82 kg

Hons: Ire U20

FINEEN WYCHERLEY

FORWARDS

Munster Rugby Squad - 2020/21 Season

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JOEY CARBERY

Fly Half

01.11.95

H: 1.83 m

W: 85kg

Hons: Ire (22 caps)

Scrum Half

19.04.99

H: 1.65 m

W: 75kg

Hons: Ire (1 cap)

CRAIG CASEY

ANDREW CONWAY

Full Back / Wing

11.07.91

H: 1.80 m

W: 89 kg

Hons: Ire (24 caps)

LIAM COOMBES

Full Back / Wing

01.05.97

H: 1.91m

W: 89 kg

Hons: Ire U20

Scrum Half

08.12.92

H: 1.73 m

W: 83 kg

Hons: Ire Clubs

NEIL CRONIN

Wing / Centre

19.12.96

H: 1.91 m

W: 91 kg

Hons: Ire (1 cap)

SHANE DALY

DAMIAN DE ALLENDE

Centre

25/11/1991

H: 1.91 m

W: 105 kg

Hons: SA (47 caps)

KEITH EARLS

Universal Back

02.10.87

H: 1.78 m

W: 90 kg

Hons: Ire (91 caps)

CHRIS FARRELL

Centre

16.03.93

H: 1.93 m

W: 110 kg

Hons: Ire (14 caps)

Full Back

26.10.96

H:1.85m

W: 95 kg

Hons: Eng U20

MATT GALLAGHER

Centre

10.12.94

H: 1.85 m

W: 100 kg

Hons: Ire U20

DAN GOGGIN

Full Back

28.06.94

H: 1.91 m

W: 93 kg

Hons: Ire (1 cap)

MIKE HALEY

RORY SCANNELL

CALVIN NASH

CONOR MURRAY

ALEX MCHENRY

NICK MCCARTHY

JJ HANRAHAN

Fly Half / Centre

27.07.92

H: 1.83 m

W: 93 kg

Hons: Emerging Ireland

Scrum Half

25.03.95

H: 1.8m

W: 84 kg

Hons: Ire U20

Centre

07.10.97

H: 1.88m

W: 95kg

Hons: Ire U20

Scrum Half

20.04.89

H: 1.88 m

W: 94 kg

Hons: Ire (88 caps)

Wing

08.08.97

H: 1.78 m

W: 90 kg

Hons: Ire U20

Centre

22.12.93

H: 1.80 m

W: 98 kg

Hons: Ire (3 caps)

Wing

05.05.93

H: 1.85 m

W: 95 kg

Hons: Ire (3 caps)

DARREN SWEETNAM

BACKS

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER RUGBY

STARTING XV

James Cronin Niall Scannell Stephen Archer Jean Kleyn Billy Holland (C)

Fineen

Wycherley

Jack O'Sullivan

Gavin Coombes

Nick McCarthy

Joey Carbery

Shane Daly

JJ Hanrahan

Damian de

Allende

Calvin Nash

Mike Haley

#MUNvSCA

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Replacements

16. Kevin O'Byrne 17. Jeremy Loughman 18. John Ryan 19. Thomas Ahern

20. Alex Kendellen 21. Paddy Patterson 22. Jack Crowley 23. Darren Sweetnam

24 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


SCARLETS

STARTING XV

Steffan Thomas

Marc Jones

Pieter Scholtz

Morgan Jones

Sam Lousi

Aaron Shingler

Jac Morgan

Sione

Kalamafoni

Dane Blacker

Angus O’Brien

Steff Evans

Steff Hughes (C)

Tyler Morgan

Tom Prydie

Johnny

McNicholl

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Seán Gallagher (IRFU)

AR1: Robert O'Sullivan (IRFU)

AR2: Peter Martin (IRFU)

TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)

Replacements

16. Taylor Davies 17. Kemsley Mathias 18. Alex Jeffries 19. Tevita Ratuva

20. Uzair Cassiem 21. Will Homer 22. Paul Asquith 23. Johnny Williams

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

25


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MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

27


“I CAN SEE

EXACTLY WHY

HE IS WHERE HE

IS NOW”

When Craig Casey entered the fray during the

63rd minute at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome

to make his senior Ireland debut, there were

plenty of people back in Limerick and Munster

bursting with pride.

In normal times, friends and family would

have travelled to the Eternal City to mark the

occasion but that didn’t diminish the moment

or the achievement as those involved in Casey’s

development reflect on the scrum-half’s rise to

international rugby.

Gerry Casey is in the unique position of not only

being Craig’s father but he also played a major

role in his development as he coached his son

during the early days out in Coonagh with

Shannon RFC and also in Ardscoil Rís where

his son represented the school at Junior and

Senior Cup level.

Gerry, who is a Rugby Development Officer

(RDO) with the province, explains it’s difficult

to remember a time when Craig wasn’t running

around the pitches out in Coonagh with a

ball in hand, the love of the sport was clearly

demonstrated by his son from an early age.

“Like any Dad, it’s great when any of your

children have an interest that you have. From

day dot, Craig was running around with a ball.

As usual, going out to Coonagh, because you’re

involved in rugby, you’re asked to give a hand.

I started with the Minis and Craig wanted to go

out when he was really young so he was running

around having a ball!”

Former Shannon scrum-half and club captain

Fiach O’Loughlin recalls seeing a young Craig

“always with a ball” during his playing days and

it comes as no surprise to the Munster Rugby

Coach & Player Development Officer that the

21-year-old has arrived at the international stage.

Shannon, as Fiach explains, also provided a

nurturing environment for Casey to develop

from a young age.

“It’s absolutely brilliant. I think Craig had over

100 Dads, not just Gerry when he was growing

up. He was like a kid to all of us from being

around all the time. Shannon is such a fantastic

club like that. The minute your four-year-old or

five-year-old boy or girl goes in there, you’re

part of a family straight away. That rugby family

is second to none.”

In the Casey household and the wider family,

there would have been no shortage of role

models for Craig to look up to. His father was a

talented rugby player in his own right while his

uncle, Mossy Lawler, represented Munster on

65 occasions. His mother, Sinead, represented

Ireland in gymnastics while his sister, Aimee,

also received national honours in gymnastics.

This environment and also the fact that Casey

analysed the sport from an early age are two

28 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


contributing factors to his rise according to

Shannon assistant coach, Pat Brown.

“I see so many similarities between him and

Gerry, Brendan Foley and Axel. Because it was

the exact same kind of thing. When all the other

kids were out playing football on the street,

whatever, they were watching videos. They

were watching matches.

“Gerry was coaching the Shannon senior team

the last time we won the AIL 10 years ago so

he would have grown up around the dressing

room, he would have been a part of it, he would

have been in the dressing room hearing the

pre-match speeches, he would have seen the

celebrations afterwards and that just all seeped

into him. There was no escaping it for him, it

was in the genes.”

Casey’s development continued when he

entered the doors of Ardscoil Rís. The scrumhalf

represented the Limerick school at Junior

Cup in 2015 before playing Senior Cup rugby

in 2016 and 2017, captaining the school and

reaching the semi-final of the Munster Schools

Senior Cup in the latter year.

Brown, who coached Craig during his school

years, explains how Casey made an immediate

impression on him and his teammates.

“The first time I came across him as a coach

would have been Junior Cup at Ardscoil Rís. I’d

heard about him before I’d seen him obviously,

seeing him play up close and jeez, he just blew

us all away. Even from then, he was setting

standards. Craig is the kind of guy that when he

comes into a room, he wants to be the best and

even then, from me looking at him, he set the

standards.”

Casey’s development was further enhanced

during this time as he was involved in Munster

Regional Development Squads. O’Loughlin,

who coached Casey in the Munster U18 Schools

squad, was able to see first-hand the level of

commitment that the scrum-half was putting

into his game.

“He would have been involved in our Regional

Development Squads for U16, U17 and U18s

which we start with Munster rep squads and

then the Munster U18 Schools. So that was

really when I got to see in-depth how he was

committed. What he did on the field and off the

field. What he wanted to know, how he wanted

to develop himself through the skills of the

game, through how we played. He was always

upskilling himself, always wanting to know more

to be ahead of the game. That is a huge trait.”

Casey entered the Greencore Munster Rugby

Academy straight out of school and this

provided the opportunity to represent his club

once again at senior level and it was during his

AIL debut against Trinity that Brown realised the

scrum-half was destined to become a full-time

professional.

“He came off the bench in his first AIL match for

Shannon against Trinity in Trinity and he ran a

line, left everybody for dead and just scooted

in under the posts. To have the balls to do it

and then the speed to back it up, it was just, ‘oh

my god’. It was at that point that I knew he was

definitely going to make it. He just came in after

being capped by the Irish schools, so he was 18

years of age.”

For Gerry, he would have seen first-hand his

son’s development at every step of the journey

and he admits it was around the time of the U20

Six Nations in 2019 and the subsequent World

Cup in Argentina that he realised his son was set

for a successful career in the sport.

“The point that you realise he could make

professional is the U20s because that’s the

proving ground…he had a great campaign

when they won the Grand Slam. But when he

went over to the World Cup you see him against

the best in the world and being on a par with

them and excelling. That’s when you go, ‘God,

he really has a chance to go where he wants to

go with it.'”

Gerry explains that seeing Craig run out for the

final quarter against Italy to make his Ireland

debut means “absolutely everything.”

There have been many firsts in different jerseys

in recent times; first caps, first tries, first squad

inclusions. Although this signals the beginning

of a new chapter, Gerry can still reflect on the

cherished memories which led to this point and

most importantly how he was able to witness,

every step of the way, his son’s rise.

“Looking back, it was just really enjoyable being

with him all the time and seeing him develop.

Seeing, not only the rugby player he turned

into but the person on and off the pitch, you

maybe don’t get a chance to see when you’re

not involved in sport working with your kids. It

was really enjoyable.”

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

29


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30 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


VIRTUAL MUNSTER MASCOTS

DANIEL O’SULLIVAN

Age: 8

School: Carrigboy NS, Durrus,

Bantry, Co. Cork

Hobbies: Rugby, soccer, football,

swimming, meeting with his friends

and generally having fun!

Favourite players: Fineen Wycherley

& Darren Sweetnam

VAN GEE

Age: 5

School: Gaelscoil, Douglas, Cork

Hobbies: Rugby, motorcross, swimming,

cycling, soccer and colouring

Favourite players: Damian de Allende &

Craig Casey

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

31


LYONS

GRASSROOTS TO GREEN JERSEY

Weeks away from the 2021 Women’s Six Nations, Fermoy native

Leah Lyons is welcoming a return to action after the unpredictable

nature of the pandemic has seen the tournament pushed to April

this year.

Currently lining out for Harlequins in London, where the league

is up and running, Leah’s journey began however in Fermoy

RFC where she played rugby from the age of six alongside her

twin brother while her father, Michael, was a coach in the area.

Benefitting first-hand from the tireless work of the

volunteers in her club, when she reached the U13

age-grade, her father and other volunteers at the

club set up a female underage programme so

that the Belhooly native and other girls in the

area could continue their development.

“I started when I was six or seven in

Fermoy RFC,” Lyons said.

“My Dad was a coach and I played

with my twin brother so the two

of us went up through the agegrade

system in Fermoy and

then when I was 13, obviously

I couldn’t play with the boys

anymore so Dad and a few

other of the men who had

daughters who thought they would

enjoy playing rugby decided to set up

Fermoy Lionesses.

32 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


“So that was the underage set up that was there.

So, from then, 13-18, we had an underage set up

and, in the meantime, they decided to set up a

women’s section also. So, the women’s team of

the Fermoy Lionesses. So, I played along with

them for two or three years and then decided

I wanted to take another step up and I joined

Highfield in Cork, so a Division 1 team to play at

the highest level.”

In Leah’s case and like many underage players in

Munster, she volunteered at her club and it was

during these times that she was able to develop

relationships with her “superstars”.

“When I was younger, the Munster women’s

team used to always train down in Fermoy and

my parents were big involved. Just helping out

– opening up facilities, getting tackle bags out

– it would have been the era when Fiona Steed

was coaching, so quite some time ago. It was

when Amanda Greensmith, Marie Barrett…

Niamh Briggs was just starting out as a young

kid coming into it. But we would go down, we’d

be making food for them.

“It builds a culture around Munster as well that

everybody wants to see everyone achieve to

the highest ability. Then see how far they can

keep it going.”

The confirmation of the fixtures for 2021

Women’s Six Nations championship has been

a real boost according to Lyons:

“It’s the one date that everyone’s been waiting

to hear and waiting until we get back playing

rugby because it’s been such a long time since

we played anything internationally-wise.

“Our last match was against Italy in October.

We’re not used to having a January or February

off. It’s quite strange. It’s amazing to get the

fixtures back and I think the new format will

work out really well.”

“Seeing your superstars walk around you and

being like, ‘Oh, do you know this?’ It was really

great at that age just to see that, be involved.

Even if it was just making soup at a clubhouse

and just handing it to them to finally

being able to join them. Just

having them as mentors

and coaches in the

underage setup.

“I have a good

connection

with Fiona

Steed, Amanda

Greensmith and

Marie Barrett. I’ve always been on to

them and they’ve always been great throughout

the years of rugby. They’ve always been a great

influence and they’ve always pushed me and

wanted to see me succeed. That’s something

that always put me in a good place.

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

33


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RUGBY DEVELOPMENT NEWS

AGE-GRADE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

The Munster Rugby Age-Grade Regional

Development programme has been up and

running since January with over 200 players

from U16-U19 from the male and female game

working at home through weekly training plans,

Zoom fitness sessions and fun challenges.

Under the current restrictions, the development

team adapted its traditional regional programme

to create online versions so that players can

continue their progress under the current

restrictions.

The programme runs concurrently with seven

boys and five girls groups throughout the

province. Their weekly optional programme

includes 2-3 rugby sessions to do at home,

2-3 conditioning sessions and intermittent

challenges or skills tests. The players are also

invited to weekly Zoom meetings with their

coaches to discuss many aspects of the game

which also include online fitness sessions with

their S&C coach.

The programme is designed to replicate the

holistic player development approach exercised

by the Rugby Development Department,

supporting players’ development while also

assisting them to remain active during the

current lockdown.

The proportion of individual technical rugby

skills and athletic development is very well

balanced and areas such as games-based

coaching, mental health and well-being,

nutrition and performance analysis are also

being covered.

The development team of coach and player

development officers, rugby development

officers, women’s development officers and

CCRO strength and conditioning staff, together

with technical skills development coach Mike

Pettman, continue to design and deliver the

program during this current lockdown to ensure

players are rugby ready when the opportunity

to get back on pitch arises.

South Munster CPDO, Owen Mullowney said:

“This period has been very challenging for

all the players, but it is very evident from our

engagements how the players are learning new

skills and coping mechanisms by learning to be

self-disciplined and self-motivated during these

unusual times.

“We are dealing with a totally new environment

and I believe these skills will definitely stand to

the players and coaches when we get back on

the pitch.”

36 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


100 JERSEYS OF MUNSTER ON DISPLAY IN THOMOND PARK

100 clubs and schools’ jerseys submitted

from around the province are now on display

in Thomond Park as part of Munster Rugby's

#JerseysOfMunster campaign.

As lockdown measures continue and everyone

plays their part in the fight against Covid-19

Munster Rugby called on the clubs and schools

to feature at the Limerick venue.

The clubs and schools are central to every

Munster squad that takes to the pitch, and this

initiative further highlights the importance of

grassroots rugby during these challenging

times.

Commenting on the campaign, Head of Rugby

Development, Colm McMahon, said: "We invited

the clubs and schools of Munster to submit a

jersey to put on display for our home games so

that we could highlight the importance of their

role in the very fabric of Munster Rugby.

"The response has been excellent and the

presence of 100 jerseys to-date is testament to

everyone's support and help in delivering this

campaign.

and feedback, and we believe this a great visual

representation of our connection with our clubs

and schools."

With further home fixtures confirmed for the

coming weeks against Scarlets, Benetton, and

Toulouse, jerseys are still welcome from those

who would like to take part.

HOW TO TAKE PART:

Please send a clean club or school jersey,

preferably in Large or X-Large, with your

contact details to the following address:

FAO Jerseys of Munster

93 O’Connell Street

Limerick City

Co. Limerick

V94 R23V

Please inform Aidan Cleary when you send your

jersey for display, or likewise, if you have any queries,

please email aidancleary@munsterrugby.ie

"We are hugely grateful for everyone's effort

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

37


STAND UP

AND FIGHT

Cara O'Sullivan

38 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


MUNSTER RUGBY

SUPPORTERS CLUB

News

We were delighted to see the response from our Junior MRSC members who sent in letters of

support to the players over the last couple of weeks. For tonight’s game we are featuring Isabelle

O’Halloran’s wonderful message to Billy Holland. Keep an eye on the MRSC social accounts as

we will be featuring more of these great letters from our members in the coming weeks.

Meet my new puppy called Billie.

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

39


40 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


GET INVOLVED

FOLLOW

ALL THE

ACTION

@PRO14Official

@PRO14Official

@PRO14Official

@PRO14Rugby

@PRO14Rugby

@PRO14Rugby

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

41


42 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


CRONIN

JAMES

Age: 30

Position: Prop

Season Appearances: 12

Tries: 1

Passes completed: 13

Carries: 51

Tackles: 70

Turnovers: 6

Clean breaks: 3

Metres: 79

James Cronin was a try scorer against Connacht last weekend in an eye-catching performance for

the dynamic prop. He has made 12 appearances this season – 10 of which in the starting line up.

The former Academy Player of the Year made his senior debut against Leinster in April 2013 and

has accumulated 138 caps over nine seasons. The Ballincollig man returned to action last month

against Edinburgh after rehabbing a knee injury picked up against Leinster in January.

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK1

43


RECOVER LIKE A PRO

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44 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


FIXTURES & RESULTS 2020/21

Date Fixture Venue

Sat 3 Oct Scarlets 27-30 Munster Parc y Scarlets

Sat 10 Oct Munster 25-23 Edinburgh Rugby Thomond Park

Mon 26 Oct Munster 38 - 27 Cardiff Blues Thomond Park

Sun 1 Nov Dragons 16 - 28 Munster Rodney Parade

Sun 15 Nov Munster 38-22 Ospreys Thomond Park

Mon 23 Nov Glasgow Warriors 13-27 Munster Scotstoun Stadium

Mon 30 Nov Munster 52-3 Zebre Rugby Club Thomond Park

Sun 13 Dec Munster 21-7 Harlequins Thomond Park

Sat 19 Dec Clermont Auvergne 31-39 Munster Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin

Sat 02 Jan Ulster 15-10 Munster Kingspan Stadium

Sat 09 Jan Connacht 10-16 Munster The Sportsground

Sat 23 Jan Munster 10-13 Leinster Thomond Park

Sat 30 Jan Benetton Rugby 16-18 Munster Stadio Comunale Monigo

Sat 20 Feb Edinburgh 10-22 Munster Murrayfield Stadium

Fri 26 Feb Cardiff Blues 11-20 Munster Cardiff Arms Park

Fri 5 Mar Munster 20-17 Connacht Thomond Park

Fri 12 Mar | 8pm Munster v Scarlets Thomond Park

Fri 19 Mar | 6pm Munster v Benetton Rugby Thomond Park

Sat 27 Mar Leinster v Munster Guinness PRO14 Final

Gilbert x Munster Programme Advert_165x12mm_5mm Bleed.pdf 1 06/10/2020 10:07

Apr 2/3/4 Munster v Stade Toulousain Heineken Champions Cup

MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

45


46 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


FULL MATCH REPLAYS

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WITH XTRA

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MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER v SCARLETS | 12.03.21 | THOMOND PARK

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