Wednesday 22 November 2017

Munster can rock Racing by using O'Gara and Keatley says Jackman

David Kelly

David Kelly

Munster can solve their out-half Heineken Cup conundrum by using both Ronan O'Gara and Ian Keatley to kick-start their qualification with a win at the Stade de France this Saturday, according to former Ireland international Bernard Jackman (pictured below).

But O'Gara will "100pc start," according to Jackman (below), who is defence coach to the Grenoble side who beat Munster's opening opponents Racing Metro last month.

However, Munster's European challenge could be derailed by injury concerns, with doubts hovering around the availability of midfield trio Casey Laulala, Keith Earls and James Downey.

And there is still no confirmation whether talismanic captain Paul O'Connell will be fit enough to even take a berth on the bench, after a proposed comeback for his club was aborted last weekend.

"Munster will win," insisted the former Connacht and Leinster star. "There is too much upheaval at Racing Metro at the moment.

"I'm surprised at how quickly Munster have got into their stride under new coach Rob Penney.

"But Ronan O'Gara just simply hasn't played enough rugby this season to be writing him off.

"Ian Keatley has done well, much better than he did under Tony McGahan, and you can see the objective is to get the ball into the hands of the 13 as soon as possible.

"That will provide dividends. But I think, absolutely, that the two out-halves can do a job in the same game. I'm not 100pc convinced of the fitness of Racing Metro, so to be able to spring someone like Ian from the bench, when they're tiring and he has had a chance to survey things from the sideline, could be perfect for Munster."

Donncha O'Callaghan has had a scan on his hamstring and indications are that he will be available. Marcus Horan is also expected to be in contention for a place in the squad, while a decision on Niall Ronan will be taken after training this week.

Irish Independent

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