Planet Rugby

Preview: Munster v Edinburgh

17th January 2014 09:43

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Fifty appearances: Tom Brown

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons names an unchanged side for Sunday's Heineken Cup clash with Munster at Thomond Park.

Solomons has reselected the entire match-day 23 that defeated Top 14 side Perpignan at Murrayfield last Saturday (26-17) to set up the chance to progress to the last eight of the Challenge Cup.

To do so they will have to reproduce the kind of performance that saw them overcome the Irishmen at Murrayfield in round one, against a side seeking to secure a coveted home Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Edinburgh currently occupy the last remaining qualification spot for the second tier European Cup competition and will need to match the efforts of other pool runners-up to extend their stay in Europe.

"Munster are one of the top teams in Europe and have been for some time," said Solomons.

"They have a tremendous tradition and heritage; they are notoriously difficult in Limerick and are fighting to secure a home quarter-final. The challenges don't get much bigger than that.

"In round one we showed that we had advanced enough as a team to win against a top side but, rest assured, Munster will be keen to set the record straight, I have no doubt about that.

"The important thing for us is that, since then, we have continued to improve as a team and are looking forward to this challenge."

The squad reselection means that 23 year-old wing Tom Brown [pictured], who scored the opening try against Perpignan on Saturday, will lead the team out on to Thomond Park on his 50th appearance for the club.

"I thought that the win against Perpignan was a very good performance and that more of the same was merited," said Solomons.

"All the lads got in and were part of it, and felt part of it, and I think that was important.

"This is going to be a very tough, demanding fixture and we are going to need the same again from all 23 in this match."

Meanwhile, table-topping Munster name a strong side for Sunday's clash as they look to close out the pool stages.

The back row of skipper Peter O'Mahony, Tommy O'Donnell and James Coughlan is retained having impressed for much of the season, while British and Irish Lion Conor Murray starts at scrum-half.

The pack is bolstered by veteran second-row Paul O'Connell's presence, while Keith Earls continues on the right wing. JJ Hanrahan settles for a spot on the bench with Ian Keatley preferred at fly-half.

The teams:

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

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Dave Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist,, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson
Replacements: 16

Date: Sunday 19th January
Venue: Thomond Park
Kick-off: 1245 (local and GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng)
Assistant referees: Tim Wigglesworth, Roy Maybank (both Eng)
TMO: Sean Davey (Eng)

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