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O’Connell relishing Northampton ‘international’ after fifth win

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Jan 2012

Paul O’Connell insists Munster’s sixth and final Heineken Cup clash with Northampton will have an international feel about it after they won their fifth encounter against Castres 26-10.

The Irish RaboDirect PRO12 outfit booked their place in the quarter-finals after seeing off their French opponents – Johne Murphy and Wian du Preez contributing to the win with tries.

Ronan O’Gara converted both and kicked four penalties to complete Munster's scoring while Castres responded with a try from Yannick Caballero and a conversion and three points from Pierre Bernard.

Munster will now finish the group at Northampton looking to secure a home quarter-final, while the Saints are aiming for victory to progress to at least the Amlin Challenge Cup equivalent.

When the two sides met in November O’Gara sunk a drop goal with the last kick of the game to seal a 23-21 win for Munster – who have won all five of their Heineken Cup games so far.

And with that triumph still fresh in the mind O’Connell, named as Ireland’s captain for the upcoming RBS 6 Nations last month, is expecting a game the scale of a Test match.

“Northampton still have a lot to play for. There is a bit of history between us and we have played each other a lot over the last few seasons,” said O’Connell.

“It will be almost like a Test match. We know we’ll have a home quarter-final if we can get a result over there and that would be brilliant.”