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Preview: Munster v Racing Metro

18th January 2013 08:09

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Simon Zebo Munster Heineken Cup

Munster need more tries: Simon Zebo

Munster must beat Racing Métro with a bonus point at Thomond Park on Sunday if they hope to book a place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

The two-time champions, who will be without suspended fly-half Ronan O'Gara, are second in their Pool and three points behind leaders Saracens, who are expected to beat Edinburgh on Saturday.

Munster failed to really impress at Murrayfield last week and will need to improve for the visit of the Parisians, who are aiming for a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

The Irish lost 22-17 in the French capital when they two teams met in the opening pool game at the Stade de France back in October.

Munster have won their Round 6 tie for the past five seasons and have lost just two home pool games in the history of the Heineken Cup.

20 French clubs have played on Munster soil in the Heineken Cup with no wins to show.

Racing Metro grabbed three tries in the first 20 minutes against Saracens but failed to secure a try bonus point. Alongside Montpellier, Munster have missed fewer tackles than any other club in this tournament, averaging 7.4 misses per game.

Racing have made 13 changes to their starting XV and are without suspended French international hooker Dimitri Szarzewski as well as centre Fabrice Estebanez. Playmaker Juan-Martin Hernandez, wing Juan Imhoff centre Henry Chavancy have been rested. Former Bath pivot Olly Barkley starts at ten.

For Munster, Ian Keatley takes over from O'Gara and Mike Sherry starts ahead of Damien Varley in an otherwise unchanged starting XV. JJ Hanrahan comes onto the bench.

Munster (revised): 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Keith Earls, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 John Ryan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Casey Laulala,

Racing Metro: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Julien Jane, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Sereli Bobo, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Mathieu Belie, 8 Jacques Cronje, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Antoine Batut, 5 Fabrice METZ, 4 Karim Ghezal, 3 Benjamin Sa, 2 Benjamin Noirot, 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Andrea Lo Cicero, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 20 Benjamin Fall, 21 Santiago Dellape, 22 Sebastien Descons, 23 Masi Matadigo,

Date: Sunday, 20 January
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 12:45 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle, (England) Robin Goodliffe (England)
Television match official: David Grashoff (England)

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  • Table
Pool 6
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PosTeamPPts
1Munster623
2Gloucester614
3Edinburgh612
4Perpignan67