Up to 12 players could make their senior debut for Munster on Sunday as Covid-19 has heavily impacted team selection ahead of the match against Wasps. 33 players who travelled to South Africa last week remain in isolation, with 14 having tested positive while in South Africa.
However Munster are still able to field a quality side for Sunday due to their Ireland players and Damian de Allende not travelling to South Africa after the international break. Joey Carbery, Conor Murray, Keith Earls, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony, David Kilcoyne and Andrew Conway all start. Chris Farrell also starts and is set to play his first match of the season.
There are however five debutants in the starting XV: forwards Scott Buckley, James French, Eoin O'Connor, Daniel Okeke and fullback Patrick Campbell.
Meet the Munster Academy 5 ahead of the big game against Wasps.
Buckley starts at hooker and is a product of Kinsale RFC and captained CBC Cork to the Munster Senior Cup in 2019. He has represented Ireland at U18 and U19 level.
French is starting at tighthead prop and the Bandon-native moved up to the senior squad over the summer after three years in the academy. He's played for Ireland at U19 and U20 level. The talented youngman is also an All-Ireland schoolboy shot put champion from his time at Bandon Grammar.
O'Connor is a 6 foot 7 lock who hails from Waterford. He was named in the Ireland U20 squad in 2020 and has played with Young Munster in the AIL this season.
Okeke has be a name people may have heard before. The Limerick man went somewhat viral a few years back for a try he scored in the Munster Senior Cup for Ardscoil Rís. He has since gone on to play for Ireland U20 last summer and scored a try against Wales. There's hype around the number 8 so keep an eye out for him.
Impressive try from Ardscoil Rís number 8 Daniel Okeke in the Munster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final. pic.twitter.com/oasjIj16Sr
— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) February 19, 2019
Lastly out of the debutants is the fullback Campbell. He only joined the Munster academy last month and will now get a chance to show his quality in Europe's premier competition. He attended PBC where he played in the 2019 Munster Senior Cup final alongside fellow academy member Alex Kendellen.
This match also is a chance to see what John Hodnett can bring at the top level. The back rower starred for Ireland U2os when they won the Grand Slam in the 2019 Six Nations. However this is his first start in 13 months after having an achilles injury last year followed up by a minor ankle injury that has kept him out so far this season.
'Tá sé sin glórmhar ó Chúige Mumhan!'
Ghnóthaigh fear Ros Ó gCairbre John Hodnett úd gleoite do na Mumhnaigh i gcoinne na Kings i rith na bliana!
The highly-rated West Cork back-rower finishes off an excellent team for @Munsterrugby in the @PRO14Official 💪#Lá15 pic.twitter.com/axzH4q2PfX
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) December 15, 2020
There is a chance for a further seven debuts for Munster as Declan Moore, Mark Donnelly, John Forde, Conor Moloney, Ethan Coughlan, Tony Butler and Jonathan Wren all start on the bench.
Munster Starting XV to face Wasps
- Dave Kilcoyne
- Scott Buckley
- James French
- Eoin O'Connor
- Tadhg Beirne
- Peter O'Mahony (C)
- John Hodnett
- Daniel Okeke
- Conor Murray
- Joey Carbery
- Keith Earls
- Damian de Allende
- Chris Farrell
- Andrew Conway
- Patrick Campbell
Substitutes: Declan Moore, Mark Donnelly, Roman Salanoa, John Forde, Conor Moloney, Ethan Coughlan, Tony Butler, Jonathan Wren.