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The loss of key players is a worry for Rassie’s Munster tomorrow

(The French visitors will add to Thomond Park atmosphere)
JUST when it looked as if Munster were close to fielding near full-strength for the visit or Racing 92 to Thomond Park in the second pool game of this season’s Champions’ Cup, they were hit a double blow with both Niall Scannell and Tyler Bleyendaal ruled out with injuries.
In comes New Zealander Rhys Marshall at hooker and Ian Keatley at out-half with Kevin O’Byrne covering for Marshall and JJ Hanrahan also on the bench.
This week Rassie Erasmus was not optimistic that he would have the services of South African second-row Jean Klein but the Springfield man starts to partner the tireless Billy Holland. CJ Stander has overcome his injury to start in an unchanged backrow while there is also a vote of confidence for the back five.
Racing have named a side that, if they can hit form and cope with the electric atmosphere of the Limerick venue, could do the business. Rokocoko, Dan Carter and Nakarawa are some of the world-class names in their fifteen with oodles of talent straining at the leash to get on the field, waiting patiently on the bench. Niall Scannell is a huge loss for Munster. His commitment, drive and workrate have been immense and he was one that stood out in Stade Pierre Fabre last Sunday.
It could be a tricky 80 minutes for Munster but . . . how often have we said that in the past and been left with the red being on our own faces!
Kick off: 17:30, tickets still available.
Munster Rugby: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (c), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Liam O’Connor, John Ryan, Mark Flanagan, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Andrew Conway
Racing 92: Pat Lambie; Joe Rokocoko, Henry Chavancy, Anthony Tuitavke, Louis Dupichot; Dan Carter, Maxime Machenaud (c); Eddy Ben Arous, Camille Chat, Ben Tameifuna, Bernard Le Roux, Leone Nakarawa, Wenceslas Lauret, Yannick Nyanga, Antonie Claassen
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Viliamu Afatia, Census Johnston, Baptiste Chouzenoux, Edwin Maka, Teddy Iribaren, RĂ©mi Tales, Albert Vulivuli
Referee: JP Doyle (England), Assistant ref: Luke Pearce (England), Assistant ref: Simon McConnell (England), TMO: Rowan Kitt (England), Citing Commissioner: Shaun Gallagher (England)

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