Munster talisman Paul O’Connell will start Munster’s opening Heineken Cup match against Racing Metro in Paris on Saturday after coming through yesterday’s training session in full health.
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The 32 year old lock had been a major doubt for the match following a lengthy lay off but coach Rob Penney insists he has not been rushed back.
“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.”
O’Connell will pack down alongside Billy Holland who is named in place of the injured Donncha O’Callaghan who has withdrawn from the squad due to a hamstring injury.
Munster XV: Ian Keatley; Doug Howlett capt, 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.
Replacements: Mick Sherry, Marcus Horan, Stephen Archer, Dave O’Callaghan, Paddy Butler, Peter Stringer, Danny Barnes, Denis Hurley.