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O'Connell return huge boost for Munster

Racing Metro v Munster, Stade de France, tomorrow, (Live Sky Sports, 1.35 Irish-time)

Ireland's totem Paul O'Connell will make his seasonal reappearance in the most important match of Munster coach Rob Penney's career so far.

It is a boost to rival the return of any great player to any club around the globe for the leadership and belief that simply courses through his veins.

You could forgive Penney for being defensive as a man because of the negative reaction to being so offensive as a coach.

Sure, there were cracks in their understanding of the new systems against Leinster and they were eventually made to pay the price of defeat.

Rome wasn't built in a year or one hundred. All good and lasting creations take time -- something in short supply given the truncated nature of the European club season.

Penney has come into the set-up rightly talking up transition and development as tools to Munster's longevity. The time has come to put the result ahead of the performance.

Racing will be under heavy pressure to deliver on the high-profile, one-off switch to Stade de France where a vast crowd will bear witness to their changed attitude to the Heineken Cup.

This will bring pressure to perform on Racing and Munster will bid to keep the home supporters quiet by keeping Racing off the scoreboard.

There is a spine of players who know what it is like to win on French soil. You start by frustrating them. You play on their indiscipline and you finish by punishing them for their mistakes.

Munster: I Keatley; D Howlett (capt), C Laulala, J Downey, S Zebo; R O'Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, BJ Botha, B Holland, P O'Connell, D Ryan, S Dougall, P O'Mahony.


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