Thursday 14 December 2017

Munster sticks with same starting XV for south of France clash

MUNSTER coach Tony McGahan has opted for the same starting XV that secured a last gasp victory over Northampton last weekend for tomorrow’s Heineken Cup clash with Castres.

The game takes place in Olympique in Stade Ernest-Wallon at 3.40pm, Irish time.

The only change comes on the bench where Marcus Horan returns having recovered from an ankle injury.

John Ryan drops out of the squad.

The Munster coach is expecting a tough encounter.

He said today: "They're a very good and a very consistent side. If you've been watching the Top 14 over the last two and a bit years, you see how they've progressed to being a top four side. They've established a very strong forward pack and the way their captain Chris Masoe has been playing the last few months has been terrific.

"They've a big forward pack, very strong, very physical, a set-piece dominated very traditional French side. Then a strong 9 and 10 who kick the ball extremely well. Teulet who we know very well is there to kick the penalties. Two big centres, Cabannes and Bonnefond, who're able to play through that channel one position, then play off the back of that."

"They've had a wonderful start to this season, I know they came up short in the last few games but before that they'd beaten some top sides, Stade Francais, Toulouse, Biarritz."

Munster: J Murphy; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, D Hurley; R O'Gara, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D Ryan, P O'Connell capt; P O'Mahony, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Fogarty, M Horan, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, D Leamy, T O'Leary, I Keatley, W Chambers.

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