herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Stander has to set Munster standard

SALE SHARKS v MUNSTER, AJ Bell Stadium, Today (KO 1.0) Sky Sports 2

THIS is one Munster simply have to take by the horns to hold out hope of qualifying out of a death group with Saracens and Clermont-Auvergne.

It must be noted how coach Anthony Foley has opted for Stephen Archer over BJ Botha at tight-head and CJ Stander over Robin Copeland at number eight.

There was always going to be a four-into-three scenario in the Munster back row. Copeland has paid the price for the outstanding form of Stander and the reborn Tommy O'Donnell.

ADVANTAGE

Foley simply had to find a place for the South African.

Hooker Duncan Casey takes full advantage of the fall of Damien Varley and Mike Sherry to injury to make his first European start of his career.

Casey is not alone in that respect as former Leinster wing Andrew Conway earns his maiden voyage ahead of the fleet-footed Gerhard van den Heever.

There is also plenty to like about the Munster reserve eight with the impact of the lies of Copeland, Botha and James Cronin allied to the skills of JJ Hanrahan and speed of Van den Heever.

Sale: M Haley; T Brady, J Leota, S Tuitupou, T Arscott; D Cipriani, C Cusiter; E Lewis-Roberts, M Jones, V Cobilas, J Mills, M Paterson, M Lund, D Seymour (capt), M Easter.

Munster: F Jones; A Conway, A Smith, D Hurley, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Casey, S Archer, D Foley, P O'Connell, P O'Mahony (capt), T O'Donnell, CJ Stander.

VERDICT: Munster

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