McGahan sticks with winning XV

After snatching a dramatic victory over Northampton Saints, Tony McGahan has opted for the same starting XV for Saturday's Heineken Cup meeting with Castres Olympique in Stade Ernest-Wallon (3.40pm Irish time).

After snatching a dramatic victory over Northampton Saints, Tony McGahan has opted for the same starting XV for Saturday's Heineken Cup meeting with Castres Olympique in Stade Ernest-Wallon (3.40pm Irish time).

The only change to the match day squad comes on the replacements bench as Marcus Horan returns having recovered from an ankle injury that forced his late withdrawal from the squad for the Northampton game. John Ryan drops out of the squad.

After impressive substitute performances from the likes of Leamy, O’Callaghan and O’Leary in Thomond Park last weekend, those lucky enough to retain their starting position will be aware of the skill and experience McGahan can turn to on the bench.

The Munster coach has done his homework on this weekend’s opposition and expects a gruelling, physical encounter.

"They're a very good and a very consistent side,” he said. “If you've been watching the Top 14 over the last two and a bit years, you see how they've progressed to being a top four side. They've established a very strong forward pack and the way their captain Chris Masoe has been playing the last few months has been terrific."

"They've a big forward pack, very strong, very physical, a set-piece dominated very traditional French side. Then a strong 9 and 10 who kick the ball extremely well. Teulet who we know very well is there to kick the penalties. Two big centres, Cabannes and Bonnefond, who're able to play through that channel one position, then play off the back of that."

"They've had a wonderful start to this season, I know they came up short in the last few games but before that they'd beaten some top sides, Stade Francais, Toulouse, Biarritz."

Munster: J Murphy; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, D Hurley; R O'Gara, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D Ryan, P O'Connell capt; P O'Mahony, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Fogarty, M Horan, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, D Leamy, T O'Leary, I Keatley, W Chambers.

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