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Munster set to scorch Dragons

Over and above: Billy Holland brings plenty of experience
Over and above: Billy Holland brings plenty of experience

By Steve O'Neill

The influence of backs coach Stephen Larkham, the Wallaby legend, can already be interpreted from the positioning of Tyler Bleyendaal at inside centre, just outside JJ Hanrahan, as Munster kick off their PRO14 campaign against Dragons at Thomond Park this afternoon.

The twin distributor system is designed to give Munster more options on either side of the attack. For that to happen, the forward pack will have to have the front foot and new signing Nick McCarthy will need to provide a silver service.

Captain Billy Holland starts out on his 13th season in a lock partnership with Fineen Wycherely. There is enough know-how, especially from Arno Botha, Tommy O'Donnell and Jack O'Donoghue in the back row, to wear down the Dragons.

Ulsterman Paddy McAllister will make his debut for Connacht against Scarlets in the PRO14 this evening.

The well-travelled loose-head will face Samson Lee in what is the league's version of a baptism of fire.

Connacht coach Andy Friend has restricted Kieran Marmion to the bench in what seems a strange decision given how the scrum-half has admitted to taking his World Cup omission badly.

The last thing he needs is to sit and watch another game.

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