Planet Rugby

Preview: Perpignan v Munster

11th December 2013 09:23

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Sebastien Vahaamahina France lock training

Starting for Perpignan: Sebastien Vahamaahina

Perpignan have made a total of seven changes to the side that were well-beaten at by Munster for the return fixture at Stade Aime Giral on Saturday.

Giant second-row Sebastien Vahaamahina comes into the starting lineup behind a new front-row, with Luke Narraway captaining the team from number eight.

Fly-half Tommy Allan, who made his Italy debut in the November Tests, also starts alongside scrum-half Nicolas Durand, with Richard Haughton drafted into the starting XV on the right wing.

The French side were castled 36-8 by Munster in Round 3, but have lost only one of their past 23 Heineken Cup fixtures at their Catalan stronghold.

"We're at home and the boys love playing at home in front of a great crowd but we also have to show up and prove over 80 minutes what we showed for glimpses last weekend," full-back James Hook told the ERC website.

"We showed some good stuff at times but need to show it for longer periods."

Meanwhile, Donnacha Ryan is one of four players drafted into Rob Penney's side for tomorrow's crucial clash.

Ryan hasn't featured for Munster since injuring knee ligaments against Gloucester in October but makes his return ahead of schedule to partner Paul O'Connell in the second-row.

There's only one change in the backs as scrum-half Cathal Sheridan gets the nod ahead of Duncan Williams to replace the injured Conor Murray after impressing at the weekend.

Penney has continued his rotation policy with two changes in the front-row. James Cronin and South African BJ Botha replace Irish internationals Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer. Damien Varley keeps his place in the side with Shannon hooker Duncan Casey hoping to make his second Munster appearance off the bench after his cameo last time out.

The back-row combination of captain Peter O'Mahony, Sean Dougall and James Coughlan remains intact.

Ian Keatley, as expected, has recovered from the dead leg he sustained last weekend to start at fly-half.

Outside of Keatley, James Downey and Casey Laulala retain their places in the centres with the back three of Johne Murphy, last week's man of the match Keith Earls and Felix Jones all keeping their places in the side.

The notable inclusion on the bench is last season's Player of the Year, Tommy O'Donnell. O'Donnell made his comeback from injury off the bench for Munster A last weekend after suffering a hyper-extension of his knee against Zebre in September.

The teams:

Perpignan: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Richard Haughton , 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Watisoni Votu , 11 Sofiane Guitoune , 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Nicolas Durand, 8 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Al Strokosch, 6 Daniel Leo, 5 Guillaume Vilaceca , 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Land , 1 Sebastien Taofifénua
Replacements: 16 Guihelm Guirado , 17 Pascal Cotet , 18 Jean-Baptiste Custoja , 19 Justin Purll , 20 Tom Ecochard , 21 David Marty, 22 Tommaso Benvenuti , 23 Jean-Pierre Perez.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Johne Murphy, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Cathal Sheridan, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Peter O'Mahony (c), 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha Ryan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damian Varley, 1 Cronin
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Denis Hurley

Date: Saturday 14th December
Venue: Stade Aime Giral
Kick-off: 1640 local, 1540 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Martin Fox, Paul Dix (both England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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