Keatley comes in for O’Gara
Rugby:With Ronan O’Gara suspended for Munster’s final Heineken Cup pool match at home to Racing Metro on Sunday afternoon, Ian Keatley will deputise for the Irish international at outhalf. That change aside, Munster coach Rob Penney has kept faith with the side that overcame Edinburgh last weekend.
O’Gara was banned for one-week for kicking out at Edinburgh lock Sean Cox last weekend, meaning Keatley will come into the starting line-up as Munster target a win plus a bonus point against a Racing side already out of contention.
With little chance of qualifying as pool leaders – Saracens would need to slip up at home to Edinburgh for Munster to have any chance of topping the pool – Munster’s only route into the last eight will be as one of the two best runners up. And although the bonus point will be key, Penney indicated during the week that they won’t be throwing caution to the wind at Thomond Park.
It is a sentiment echoed by second row Donnacha Ryan, who stressed the need for control come Sunday afternoon.
"Racing have a massive amount of depth in their squad,” he explained. “We started off very well over there (in October) and we tried to do things that we wouldn't have normally tried to do - obviously it backfired on us.
"So, we've got to be a lot smarter than the way we've played the first day and, I suppose, the way we've played the last couple of weeks.
"We've really got to focus on building a system and not doing silly stuff, not doing one-off runners and losing the ball in the breakdown. We have to tighten things up, to have more control when we have the ball in attack and make it count."
Munster:Felix Jones; Doug Howlett (c); Keith Earls, James Downey, Simon Zebo: Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; David Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Donncha O'Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan; Peter O'Mahony, Tommy O'Donnell, James Coughlan. Replacements:Mike Sherry, Wian du Preez, John Ryan, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Casey Laulala.
Racing Metro 92:Gaetan Germain; Julien Jane, Guillaume Bousses, Alexandre Dumoulin, Sireli Bobo; Olly Barkley, Mathieu Belie; Julien Brugnaut, Benjamin Noirot, Benjamin Salemane Sa; Karim Ghezal, Fabrice Metz; Antoine Battut, Bernard Le Roux, Jacques Cronje (c). Replacements:Thomas Bianchin, Andrea Lo Cicero, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Jone Qovu Nailiko, Benjamin Fall, Santiago Dellape, Sebastien Descons, Sakiusa Matadigo.