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Heineken Cup semi-final match preview: Clermont v Munster

Last updated: 27th April 2013  

Keith Earls Munster 2012

The returning Keith Earls will feature as Munster look for a Heineken Cup final place

Brock James Clermont Auvergne Heineken Cup semi-final

Brock James comes back into the Clermont starting line up

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Clermont have made three changes to their squad for Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster at the Stade de la Mosson.

The French club are the only semi-finalists to boast a 100 per-cent record this season as they look for a third European title.

In contrast to the Top 14 league leaders, the Heineken Cup is a final hope of silverware this season for Munster who just missed out on the RaboDirect Pro12 play-offs.

Clermont coach Vern Cotter welcomes Brock James into the side at fly-half in place of the ineligible Mike Delany.

All Black Reegan King comes in at outside centre with Aurelien Rougerie left out of the match-day squad.

Final change

Cotter's final change to the side which ran four tries past Toulouse last week sees Julien Bardy come off the bench to replace Gerhard Vosloo at flanker.

Meanwhile Rob Penney has named just one change to the Munster starting XV which beat Harlequins to book a place in the final four.

The fit again Keith Earls returns to the right wing with Denis Hurley demoted to the bench for the trip to the south of France.

Earls will play his first competitive match since January after spending the three months out with injury.

Munster are without the injured Stephen Archer and Donncha O'Callaghan meaning John Ryan and Billy Holland get the nod on the bench.

Clermont:15 Lee Byrne, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Regan King, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Clement Ric, 19 Julien Pierre, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 Jean Marcel Buttin, 23 Noa Nakaitaci or David Skrela.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Paul O'Connell (capt), 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 John Ryan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Cathal Sheridan, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Denis Hurley.

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Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
Sunday 26th October
13:00Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
15:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
TBCUlster vs Scarlets

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