Saturday 18 November 2017

Murray wary of complacency for Castres

munster v Castres Olympique

live today SS1 (ko 3.40)

MUNSTER scrum-half Conor Murray has warned his team-mates that nothing less than 100pc will do when his side take on Castres today at Thomond Park (kick-off 3.40, Sky Sports 1).

If the Scarlets fail to register a bonus point victory in Wales this afternoon, a victory for Tony McGahan's side would see them banish the memories of last year's premature Heineken Cup exit and qualify for the last eight.

Despite Castres' abysmal record on their travels in Europe, Murray is guarding against complacency.

"Anything beyond the game hasn't been discussed at any session," he said. "This is all about Castres and what we need to do to get a result. They held Northampton scoreless for long parts of their away game and that in itself should serve as a warning. I don't see them coming here just for the trip.

"But the training was good this week, every bit as intense as any other session and that augers well."

Extraordinarily, Northampton, in third place on eight points, after three defeats, could mathematically still win this group if Munster to slip up -- and that's a scenario McGahan seems acutely aware of. "Our focus is firmly on our own performance, on what we need to do to get the win, nothing else," he said.


Unsurprisingly, McGahan has named the same XV that delivered a bonus-point victory over Treviso last weekend.

The one area that would have caused him to ponder would have been the second row and whether to start Donnacha Ryan or Donncha O'Callaghan, who made such an impression when he came on as a first-half replacement against Treviso, but Ryan gets the nod to partner skipper Paul O'Connell.

Like O'Connell (gashed knee), Niall Ronan was on the easy list in the past week but he will start, and he believes Munster must put in a display.

"The expectation is there among the supporters. But we know we still have to put in a performance," he said.

Munster: D Hurley; J Murphy, K Earls, L Mafi, S Zebo; R O'Gara, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D Ryan, P O'Connell (capt), P O'Mahony, N Ronan, J Coughlan.

Castres: R Martial, V Inigo, P Bonnefond, P Garcia, P Lakafia, P Bernard, T Lacrampe, J Bornman, S Malonga, Y Caballero, RC Ortega, M Rolland, A Peikrishvili, M Rallier, S Taumoepeau.

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