Simon Zebo is set for his second Munster debut when the Cell C Sharks visit Thomond Park this evening (7.35pm, live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player) for their opening United Rugby Championship match.

Rugby World Cup winner RG Snyman is set to make his home debut off the bench on his second appearance for the province having missed last season through injury.

Mike Haley is named at full-back with Zebo and Andrew Conway on either flank.

Craig Casey and Joey Carbery start together in the half-backs as Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin form the centre partnership.

Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan pack down in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley in the engine room.

Peter O'Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue and last season’s Player of the Year Gavin Coombes complete the starting XV.

Along with fellow replacement Snyman, new addition Rowan Osborne is also set to play his first game for Munster at Thomond Park on his competitive debut for the province.

Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Dan Goggin, Rory Scannell, Simon Zebo; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Keynan Knox, RG Snyman, Thomas Ahern, Rowan Osborne, Ben Healy, Chris Cloete.

Cell C Sharks: Bosch Curwin, Penxe Yaw, Kok Werner, Louw Marius, Abrahams Thaakir, Chamberlain Henry (Boeta), Pienaar Ruan, Mona Khwezi, Van Vuuren Kerron, Du Toit Thomas, Roets Le Roux, Grobler Gerbrandt, Richardson Dylan, Venter Henco, Buthelezi Phepsi (C).

Replacements: Mbatha Fez (FRR), Mchunu Ntuthuko (FRR), Mchunu Khutha (FRR), Gumede Mpilo, Van Heerden Ruben, Andrews Hyron, Nohamba Sanele, Ward Jeremy.

Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton starts for Leinster

Johnny Sexton will captain Leinster in their United Rugby Championship season opener against the Vodacom Bulls at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow, which is expected to draw a crowd of 20,000.

Hugo Keenan, Rory O'Loughlin and James Lowe are the back three selected by head coach Leo Cullen with Keenan and O'Loughlin seeing action for the first time this season against the Bulls.

In the centre, Ciarán Frawley will also get his first taste of action, as will Garry Ringrose beside him, with both players now fully recovered from shoulder injuries.

In the half backs, Cullen has chosen the same pair as started in the friendly against Harlequins with the experienced duo of Luke McGrath and skipper Sexton starting.

In the pack, Andrew Porter has recovered from a foot injury and will start in the number one jersey for Leinster for the first time since November 2016. Dan Sheehan starts at hooker with Michael Ala'alatoa making his competitive debut at tighthead prop.

Ross Molony and James Ryan will form an all-St Michael's College second row unit when they line out tomorrow afternoon.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris complete the starting XV for Cullen. Neither van der Flier nor Doris were involved at the Aviva two weeks ago.

On the bench, Cian Healy will wear the number 18 jersey, while Max Deegan will make his first competitive appearance for the club since October 2020 when he is introduced.

Leinster: Hugo Keenan, Rory O'Loughlin, Garry Ringrose, Ciarán Frawley, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton (CAPT), Luke McGrath, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Michael Ala’alatoa, Ross Molony, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Cian Healy, Ryan Baird, Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Jamie Osborne.

Vodacom Bulls: David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Madosh Tambwe, Johan Goosen, Zak Burger; Gerhard Steenekamp, Bismarck du Plessis, Mornay Smith, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (C), Arno Botha, Elrigh Louw.

Replacements: Joe van Zyl, Simphiwe Matanzima, Jacques van Rooyen, Janko Swanepoel, Jacques du Plessis, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith, Stedman Gans.

Meanwhile, the URC has announced that the winners of the various regional pools, made up of the derbies in Ireland, Wales and South Africa, and a combination of the Italian and Scottish sides will be awarded a 'shield trophy'.

In Ireland that will resemble the old inter-provincial series that ran prior to the start of the Celtic League in 2001

As previously announced, the winner of each regional pool or ‘shield’ will earn an automatic place in the Heineken Champions Cup for the 2022/23 season and the accomplishment of being the top team in their respective groups.

Follow Munster v Sharks, Saturday, 7.35pm, via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app or watch live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player