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Thursday 24 January 2019

Murray and Carbery together at last for Munster in Europe

BOOST: Conor Murray. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
BOOST: Conor Murray. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

At last, Conor Murray and Joey Carbery will be sighted for the first time together for Munster.

The benefit it will eventually bring to Ireland is unknown and unproven.

Working

It is safe to say the working relationship can only be good for them.

It is a prospect that will have their supporters suitably excited in how they will expand what Munster can do in attack as long as the weather permits at Thomond Park at lunchtime tomorrow.

Just as importantly, the weapons outside are already firing with full force as Keith Earls and Andrew Conway are playing as well as they ever have.

It was apparent last week when they struck for five tries between them, Earls registering the fastest hat-trick in the professional era for Munster.

The balance between Rory Scannell, a capable second distributor, and the monstrous Chris Farrell gives coach Johann van Graan more options.

The latter looks even more powerful after a long time out recovering from a knee operation.

You know Munster are edging closer to their optimum back division when Alby Mathewson and Sam Arnold are limited to the bench.

Aggression

CLASS: Joey Carbery. Photo: Sportsfile
CLASS: Joey Carbery. Photo: Sportsfile

The role of the forwards will be to roll forward with their customary aggression and driving game, even without Jean Kleyn in the engine room.

The Ireland front-row of Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan would do well to concentrate on their basics, especially at scrum-time.

Billy Holland and Tadhg Beirne are slightly under-sized for the position.

Captain Peter O'Mahony will be a regular target for Scannell at the lineout, along with the locks.

The hooker must have ended November with a feeling of frustration because his darts, a perceived strength, were not what they should have been.

Golden

It was a golden chance to seriously contest Rory Best's ranking as first choice.

The one avenue Castres could have into causing a shock will be at the scrum where Jody Jenneker and France tight-head Daniel Kotze are difficult to move.

The experienced half-back duo of Ludovic Radosavljevic and the Argentinean Benjamin Urdapilleta have certainly been around the block enough times not to waste openings when they come along.

The speed of Canadian wing Taylor Paris and the countering instincts of South African-born France full-back Scott Spedding can cause cracks in any defence and will need to be watched.

Munster: M Haley; A Conway, C Farrell, R Scannell, K Earls; J Carbery, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan, T Beirne, B Holland, P O'Mahony (capt), C Cloete, CJ Stander. Replacements: K O'Byrne, J Loughman, C Parker, F Wycherley, A Botha; A Mathewson, JJ Hanrahan, S Arnold.

Castres: S Spedding; A Batlle, T Combezou, F Vialelle, T Paris; B Urdapilleta, L Radosavjevic; A Tichit, J Jenneker, D Kotze, L Jacquet, T Lasalle, M Babillot (capt), K Gimeno, A Tulou. Replacements: K Firmin, P Fa'anunu, M Clerc, C Samson, Y Caballero; J Caminati, M Laveau, R Kockott.

Verdict: Munster

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