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Erasmus expects Munster to fight the Dragons' fire

By John Fallon

Rassie Erasmus says he expects his depleted Munster squad to front up once again when they clash with the Dragons tonight.

The director of rugby said he wants the young guns who are getting their chance during the Six Nations window to make the most of the opportunity.

The league leaders welcome back four of their Irish internationals from Six Nations duty for the game at Irish Independent Park in Cork as they look to do the double over the Dragons.

Erasmus makes five changes to his team - out-half Tyler Bleyendaal retains captaincy and Cork native Darren Sweetnam returns from injury.

Munster made it 13 wins in 14 games last weekend when they carved out a superb 10-9 victory over Edinburgh at Myreside.

Academy prospect Calvin Nash made his debut, while loosehead prop Pete McCabe started his first game.

This weekend Nash returns to the Ireland U-20 squad but with McCabe, tighthead prop Brian Scott and flanker Conor Oliver on the replacements bench, Munster are giving their underage talent a chance once again.

"That is why we are coaching. You must teach the guy how to do it. You learn a lot from a guy under pressure and you learn a lot from a guy when he gets his opportunity," said Erasmus.

"You learn a lot from a guy comparing training sessions to 'A' games to club games to actual high-pressure Pro12 games, so these are the times when we might certainly lose a few games, but we will learn a lot about individuals which is nice."

Dave Kilcoyne, Tommy O'Donnell, Rory Scannell and Andrew Conway all return from Ireland camp and take their places in the starting 15. There are just two changes up front, with loosehead prop Kilcoyne slotting in at No 1, alongside hooker Rhys Marshall and tighthead Stephen Archer.

The second-row is unchanged with Jean Kleyn and Dave Foley, while Dave O'Callaghan continues at blindside flanker. O'Donnell is brought in at openside, with Jack O'Donoghue at No 8.

Duncan Williams and Bleyendaal form the half-back partnership. Jaco Taute reverts from full-back to outside centre, to link with the returning Scannell.

Belfast Telegraph

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