Planet Rugby

Preview: Racing Metro v Munster

11th October 2012 17:31

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Munster v Racing metro crop

Power battle: Paul O'Connell v Jacques Cronje

Munster travel to Paris to kick off their Heineken Cup campaign with a clash against Racing Metro at the Stade de France.

Munster reached the quarter-finals of last year's competition, only to be beaten by Irish rivals Ulster at Thomond Park.

The big news is the return of veteran lock Paul O'Connell, who has been named in Munster's starting XV. O'Connell will be making his first appearance for the Irish province since early May. He will be joined in the second row by Billy Holland after Donncha O'Callaghan was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Elsewhere in the pack, Dave Kilcoyne retains the number 1 jersey in the absence of Wian du Preez who sustained a knee injury against Leinster and Donnacha Ryan's experience was a probable factor in him getting the blind-side berth ahead of Dave O'Callaghan who is named on the bench.

The one unforced change in the backline sees Ian Keatley in at full-back instead of Denis Hurley, who is named on the bench.

Meanwhile, former Bath fly-half Olly Barkley makes his first start for Racing after coming off the bench in the Top 14 last week.

Mirco Bergamasco returns to the starting XV at outside centre while fellow Italy international Andrea Lo Cicero is added to the front-row.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Racing Metro: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Julien Jane, 13 Mirco Bergamasco, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Julien Saubade, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Masinivanua Matadigo, 7 Jacques Cronje, 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Francois Van der merwe, 4 Karim Ghezal, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero .
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Eddy Ben Arous , 18 Benjamin Sa, 19 Fabrice Metz, 20 Bernard le Roux, Sebastien Descons, 21 Camille Gerondeau, 22 Sebastien Descons, 23 Virimi Vakatawa.

Munster: 15 Ian Keatley, 14 Doug Howlett (c), 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Peter O'Mahony. 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Billy Holland, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Mick Sherry, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Dave O'Callaghan, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Danny Barnes, 23 Denis Hurley.

Date: Saturday, October 13
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 14:35 (13.35 BST/12:35 GMT)
Referee: Greg Garner

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
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Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
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ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
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Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
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Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
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Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
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Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
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Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
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Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615