O'Connell sets hearts Racing as he is named in starting XV
Munster have surprisingly recalled captain Paul O’Connell to their team to face Racing Metro in their European opener.
By Declan Whooley
O’Connell has yet to feature this season and coach Rob Penney had suggested that he did not know when the second row would be ready for action, but he obviously feels his lock is ready to lead the Munster challenge against the side who currently sit mid-table in the French Top 14.
He joins Billy Holland in a new look second-row with Donncha O’Callaghan out injured and Donncha Ryan moving into the back row. Dave O’Callaghan drops to the bench while Keith Earl’s injury gives James Downey his chance to shine alongside Casey Laulala in midfield.
Denis Hurley loses out to Ian Keatly at full-back after his impressive cameo against Leinster last Saturday night.
Munster v Racing Metro, Stade de France, Saturday, K.O. 1.35pm,
Munster XV: Ian Keatley; Doug Howlett (c), Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ronan O'Gara, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Billy Holland, Paul O'Connell; Donncha Ryan, Sean Dougall, Peter O'Mahony.
Ulster v Castres, Ravenhill, K.O. Friday, 8pm
Back-row Iain Henderson will make his home debut for Ulster after replacing Nick Williams for Friday’s clash with Castres.
Williams failed to recover from a rib injury he picked up in the win over Connacht and after his start to the season he will be a loss to the Ulster pack.
The rest of the side remains unchanged with Stephen Ferris switching to number 8 to accommodate Henderson while Ruan Pienaar will take his place on the bench after returning from the Rugby Championship.
Ulster XV : ( J Payne; T Bowe, D Cave, P Wallace, A Trimble; P Jackson, P Marshall;T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (c), D Tuohy, I Henderson, C Henry, S Ferris;