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Heineken Cup cheat sheet: your guide to the weekend’s rugby action

Here’s your cut-out and keep guide to what awaits the Irish provinces on another jam-packed weekend of Heineken Cup action.

Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Castres Olympique v Munster

When? Saturday, 16:40 CET (15:40 GMT)

Where to watch? Sky Sports 1

Odds? Castres 10/11, Munster 10/11, Draw 20/1

The story so far? Munster snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with Ronan O’Gara’s late, late drop goal against Northampton last Saturday night. Castres are 0 for 1 in Europe after losing 31-23 on the road against the Scarlets.

Team news: Tony McGahan has stuck with the same starting XV from last weekend’s heroic win over Northampton. On the bench, there is just one change with Marcus Horan shaking off the ankle injury which forced his withdrawal last weekend, replacing John Ryan.

“They’ve a big forward pack, very strong, very physical, a set-piece dominated very traditional French side,” McGahan said of Castres today. “Quality side, no doubt about that.”

Castres Olympique: Denos; Evans, Bonnefond, Garcia, Andreu; Bernard, Lacrampe; Peikrishvili, Mach, Wihongi; Murray, Tekori; Bornman, Caballero, Masoe. Replacements: Bonello, Coetzee, Ducalcon, Rolland, Ortega, Teulet, Tales, Lakafia.
Munster: Murphy; Howlett, Barnes, Mafi, Hurley; O’Gara, Murray; du Preez, Varley, Botha; Ryan, O’Connell; O’Mahony, Ronan, Coughlan. Replacements: Fogarty, Horan, Hayes, O’Callaghan, Leamy, O’Leary, Keatley, Chambers.

Connacht v Toulouse

When? Saturday, 18:00

Where to watch? TG4 (delayed coverage from 21:00)

Odds? Connacht 4/1, Toulouse 1/6, Draw 22/1

The story so far? It was a case of so near yet so far for Eric Elwood and Connacht last weekend as they ran Harlequins close before losing 25-17. Toulouse made hard work of their opening game at home to Gloucester, Clement Poitrenaud pouncing two minutes from time to seal a narrow 21-17 win.

Team news: Connacht make just one change with Dave Gannon coming off the bench to join Michael Swift in the second row. Gannon’s inclusion forces a couple of shifts in the back row with Mike McCarthy at blindside and John Muldoon at openside while Ray Ofisa drops to the bench.

Connacht: Duffy; O’Halloran, Griffin, McSharry, Touhy; Nikora, O’Donohoe; Wilkinson, Flavin, Ah You; Swift, Gannon; McCarthy, Muldoon, Naoupu. Replacements: Reynecke, Loughney, Rogers, Anderson, Ofisa, Murphy, O’Connor, Fa’afili.
Toulouse: Poitrenaud; Medard, Fritz, Jauzion, Clerc; Beauxis, Burgess; Montes, Servat, Johnston; Lamboley, Maestri; Bouilhou, Dusautoir, Picamoles. Replacements: Botha, Poux, Falefa, Millo-Chluski, Vergallo, Nyanga, McAlister, Galan.

Leicester Tigers v Ulster

When? Saturday, 18:00

Where to watch? Sky Sports 1

Odds? Leicester 1/9, Ulster 5/1, Draw 25/1

The story so far? Both of these sides were winners on Matchday One. Leicester won away to Aironi last weekend but failed to get that all-important fourth try and bonus point in a 28-12 win. Meanwhile, Ulster took the big scalp of Clermont Auvergne in front of a raucous Ravenhill crowd.

Team news: Brian McLaughlin has been forced into two changes for tomorrow’s trip to Welford Road. Paddy Wallace has been ruled out for six to eight weeks with a thumb injury, so Nevin Spence steps in to his place at inside centre. At tighthead, Declan Fitzpatrick comes in for John Afoa who has returned home to New Zealand to be the best man at international team-mate Jerome Kaino’s wedding.

“Welford Road has always been a very difficult place to go,” McLaughlin said. “Maybe with the World Cup they haven’t got off to the best of starts but with their internationals back they will be a tough nut to crack. But we are going there full of confidence.”

Leicester Tigers: Murphy; Agulla, Smith, Forsyth, Tuilagi; Flood, Harrison; Ayerza, Chuter, Cole; Deacon, Parling; Croft, Salvi, Waldrom. Replacements: Hawkins, Stankovich, Castrogiovanni, Skivington, Mafi, Youngs, Staunton, Morris.
Ulster: Danielli; Trimble, Cave, Spence, Gilroy; Humphreys, Marshall; Court, Best, Fitzpatrick; Muller, Tuohy; Ferris, Henry, Wannerburg. Replacements: Brady, McAllister, Macklin, Stevenson, Faloon, Porter, Jackson, D’Arcy.

Leinster v Glasgow Warriors

When? Sunday, 12:45

Where to watch? Sky Sports 3

Odds? Leinster 1/18, Glasgow 8/1, Draw 40/1

The story so far? A late Jonny Sexton penalty saw the defending champions escape from Montpellier with a hard-fought 16-16 draw last weekend, while Richie Gray’s injury-time try saw Glasgow score a shock 26-21 win over Bath.

Team news: Eoin Reddan makes his first start of the season on Sunday, one of four changes made by Joe Schmidt to the side which drew in Montpellier. Eoin O’Malley comes in for the injured Fergus McFadden at outside centre, Sean Cronin gets the nod over Richardt Strauss and Devin Toner partners Leo Cullen in the second row.

Leinster: Kearney; Nacewa, O’Malley, D’Arcy, Fitzgerald; Sexton, Reddan; Van der Merwe, Cronin, Ross; Cullen, Toner; McLaughlin, O’Brien, Heaslip. Replacements: Strauss, Healy, White, Ruddock, Jennings, Boss, Madigan.
Glasgow Warriors: Hogg; Seymour, Murchie, Morrison, Shaw; Weir, Cusiter; Grant, MacArthur, Cusack; Gray, Kellock; Harley, Barclay, Wilson. Replacements: Gillies, Welsh, Kalman, Ryder, Pyrgos, Fusaro, Nathan, Aramburu.

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Niall Kelly

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