x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Tough task for Munster

The Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan is ready for another "hugely demanding" Heineken Cup assignment in France when holders Munster take on Clermont Auvergne.

The Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan is expecting an intense battle when the group leaders Munster travel to France to play Clermont Auvergne.
The Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan is expecting an intense battle when the group leaders Munster travel to France to play Clermont Auvergne.

The Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan is ready for another "hugely demanding" Heineken Cup assignment in France when holders Munster take on Clermont Auvergne. Munster lead Pool One after victories over Montauban and Sale Sharks and look well placed to reach the quarter-finals. The Irish side emerged from a difficult group last season that included Clermont and 2007 European champions Wasps, so they will not be entering unknown territory.

But their task has not been made any easier by an injury list that means they are without Rua Tipoki, Jerry Flannery and Denis Leamy. O'Callaghan said: "Clermont will be looking to put one over on us for last season. I've not played a game in France that wasn't hugely demanding, and this one will be up there with internationals." England forwards Michael Lipman and Matt Stevens both return to Bath's starting line-up against Recreation Ground visitors Glasgow in Pool Five today.

Bath need a win to keep the pressure on group leaders Toulouse, and they should not have too many problems, especially as Glasgow are without injured half-backs Dan Parks and Mark McMillan. Last season's Scotland Under-20 captain Ruaridh Jackson replaces Parks, starting at fly-half for the first time in his professional career. Jackson said: "Dan Parks' kicking is pretty special, and I am really enjoying being able to work alongside him and learn from him every day."

Glasgow head coach Sean Lineen added: "Ruaridh's been involved in just about all our games so far this season, and I've been very impressed with his attitude." Glasgow, having been beaten by Newport Gwent Dragons and Toulouse, must topple Bath to retain any realistic hope of progressing in the tournament. Meanwhile Danny Cipriani put his England misery behind him as Wasps survived an Edinburgh fightback to win another Heineken Cup thriller 25-16 at Murrayfield on Friday.

Fly-half Cipriani arrived in the Scottish capital in arguably the worst form of his fledgling career, having been dropped by his country after error-strewn displays in the opening two November Tests. But he kicked 20 points in the Pool Two clash in a near-flawless display with the boot to keep his side's quarter-final hopes alive. * PA Sport