Preview: Munster v Stade Français

Date published: January 15 2016

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Munster head coach Anthony Foley makes three changes from the starting XV that suffered defeat in Paris last week as they host Stade Français on Saturday.

The squad has been boosted by the news that Tommy O'Donnell, Donnacha Ryan and Jack O'Donghue have all recovered from their respective knocks to take their place in the matchday 23.

One change in the front-row sees Mario Sagario come in to make his first European start alongside Dave Kilcoyne and Mike Sherry while Dave Foley and Mark Chisholm continue in the second-row.

Billy Holland is promoted to a start at 6 this weekend with O'Donnell and captain CJ Stander again named at 7 and 8 respectively.

It's as you were in the half-backs and midfield with Conor Murray and Ian Keatley, and Rory Scannell and Francis Saili all remaining in situ.

The final personnel change comes in the back three with Ronan O'Mahony starting on the left wing. Keith Earls remains on the opposite flank with Simon Zebo making the positional switch to full-back.

Meanwhile, Stade Français will be looking to do the double over Munster this weekend and once again name a strong side led by number eight Sergio Parisse.

Due to the absence of suspended wing Josaia Raisuqe, Jonathan Danty comes into the midfield and Waisea Vuidarvuwalu moves out one position to number 14.

In the pack, Jono Ross replaces Sylvain Nicolas on the flank while Pascal Papé comes in for Hugh Pyle at lock. Rabah Slimani and Laurent Panis start ahead of Paul Alo Emile and Laurent Sempéré at tighthead prop and hooker respectively.

Form: Munster's defeat to Clermont in last year's competition was the first time they had ever lost at home to French opposition in Europe (W23, L1). Conversely Stade have won just twice in nine visits to Ireland, beating Leinster in 1998 and Ulster in 2008. The Irish province have won both of their previous home games against Stade Français, in 2000 and 2004. It's over 10 years (2004/05) since Stade have won two away games in the pool stages of the Champions Cup.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O'Mahony, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander (c), 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Billy Holland, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Dave Foley, 3 Mario Sagario, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O'Byrne, 17 Liam O'Connor, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Jack O'Donoghue, 22 Tomás O'Leary, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.

Stade Français: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, 13 Jonathan Danty, 12 Paul Williams, 11 Julien Arias, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Jono Ross, 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Pascal Papé, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Laurent Panis, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Zurabi Zhvania, 17 Heindrick van der Merwe, 18 Paul Alo Emile, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Sylvain Nicolas, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Jérémy Sinzelle.

Date: Saturday, January 16
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Tom Foley (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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