O'Connell ready for Racing test

Having shown no ill effects from a full training session yesterday, Paul O'Connell has been named in Munster's starting XV for their opening Heineken Cup game against Racing Metro on Saturday in the Stade de France (1.35pm).

O'Connell ready for Racing test

Having shown no ill effects from a full training session yesterday, Paul O'Connell has been named in Munster's starting XV for their opening Heineken Cup game against Racing Metro on Saturday in the Stade de France (1.35pm).

O'Connell will pack down alongside Billy Holland, who is named in place of the injured Donncha O'Callaghan (hamstring), for the first time since the League game against Ulster back in early May.

Having sat out yesterday’s training spin in CIT O'Callaghan was hopeful of being fit but this afternoon the call was made to withdraw him from the squad.

Elsewhere in the pack, Dave Kilcoyne retains his palce in the absence of Wian du Preez who sustained a knee injury against Leinster.

Rob Penney has opted for experience over youth in selecting Donnacha Ryan to wear the number 6 jersey over Dave O’Callaghan who is named among the replacements.

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

Speaking of O'Connell's inclusion Penney admitted he waited until O’Connell gave an update today after yesterday’s session before deciding to name the former British and Irish Lions captain in the team.

“We’ve always maintained that he'd be back when he felt he was ready,” Penney said.

“I think it's great for us. It's great for Irish rugby, for the rugby community to see a player of his calibre back playing again.

“It was a gradual process. In the interests of the player it had to be."

Munster (v Racing Metro): I Keatley; D Howlett (c), C Laulala, J Downey, S Zebo; R O'Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, BJ Botha; B Holland, P O'Connell; D Ryan, S Dougall, P O'Mahony.

Replacements: M Sherry, M Horan, S Archer, D O'Callaghan, P Butler, P Stringer, D Barnes, D Hurley.

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