Racing 92 v Munster

Can Johann van Graan's men make it an all Irish final or will French foes book a trip to Bilbao?

Ruaidhrí Croke Sun, Apr 22
LIVE: Racing 92 v Munster

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  • 14:35

    Good afternoon and welcome! It's the second Champions Cup semi-final and the chance for Munster to book a place in Bilbao and ensure it is an all Irish final. My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll be with you for all of the action. You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog.

    Teams and build-up to follow!

  • 14:42

    So, Simon Zebo doesn't get the chance today to start against the team he will be joining next season with Alex Wooton and Keith Earls - making his 150th Munster appearance - taking up the spots on the wings.

    For Racing, Donnacha Ryan takes up his place at lock against his former club while Pat Lambie starts ahead of two-time World Cup winner Dan Carter.

    It is absolutely sweltering in Bordeaux but that's not bothering the Munster fans who have travelled in numbers of about 10,000, vastly outnumbering their French counterparts who have only brough 2,000 from Paris. The Red Army are in full voice as the teams get warmed up.

    Racing 92:  15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Yannick Nyanga, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous

    Replacements:  16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Viliamu Afatia, 19 Antonie Claassen, 20 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Joe Rokocoko

    Munster:  15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne

    Replacements:  16 Rhys Marshall, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 James Hart, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Simon Zebo

  • 14:53

    Our rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley is enjoying the heat in the south of France and yesterday attended the Munster press conference ahead of today's match. You can read his dispatches below.

    Munster feeling the heat in Bordeaux

  • 15:05
  • 15:11

    We're nearly there.

    Just five minutes until kick off now and Munster have headed back into the dressing room for a final chat before the action gets underway.

    A key player today, and indeed every game, will be Conor Murray. The 29-year-old has dragged his side through thick and thin this season and would be more than deserving of a European medal. Gerry Thornley wrote about his impact.

    Magnificent Murray at the height of his considerable powers

  • 15:16
    The atmosphere is absolutely deafening as the players emerge onto the pitch!
  • 15:17
    1 min: We're underway in Bordeaux! (Racing 0 Munster 0)
  • 15:18
    2 mins: Ian Keatley kicks off and Racing gather it well. Maxime Machenaud gets his first feel of the ball as he clears and Munster get the lineout.  (Racing 0 Munster 0)
  • 15:19
    3 mins: Donnacha Ryan rises high above everybody else and collects the lineout for Racing. However, Munster manage to turn it over quickly and Keatley kicks into the Racing 22.  (Racing 0 Munster 0)
  • 15:20
    4 mins: Racing work it up to the halfway line, Sam Arnold is a little over-zealous in tackling the ruck and Racing get the penalty which they kick to touch. However, they've given up a lineout in a good position as Camille Chat overthrows and Munster can clear.  (Racing 0 Munster 0)
  • 15:22



  • 15:24
    8 mins: Racing have started this game like a train and Munster are struggling, particularly with the French side's forwards. Leone Nakarawa made the ground with a barreling run before it was fed back to Virimi Vakatawa who passed to Teddy Thomas on the right. From there the winger was never going to miss the chance, going over with ease. Machenaud converts.  (Racing 7 Munster 0)
  • 15:26
    10 mins: Munster's first penalty of the game gives Keatley a chance to kick to touch in the corner but he fails to do so, his effort dropping short and Racing can gather and clear. That's a chance gone to put some pressure on.  (Racing 7 Munster 0)
  • 15:27
    11 mins: Munster finally have ball in hand and they're making the yeards, largely thanks to a great run from Arnold. They're now on the Racing 22.  (Racing 7 Munster 0)
  • 15:29
    12 mins: Scannell's attempted pass out to the wing is intercepted by Thomas but, luckily for Munster, he knocked on. The men in red have a scrum inside the Racing 22.  (Racing 7 Munster 0)
  • 15:34
    16 mins: Munster move up within 10 metres of the Racing tryline but, bizarrely, opt to go for a dropgoal. Keatley kicked from just in front of the posts but it was a panicky effort which was blocked down. It was then recycled to Conway who also tried his luck with the boot but his effort flew wide. Strange tactics that betray a slight lack of composure in the Munster ranks. However, they now have the chance to make amends with a penalty just outside the Munster 22 and in a central position.  (Racing 7 Munster 0)
  • 15:35
    17 mins: And Keatley makes no mistake. That was very badly needed, Munster were looking very ragged.  (Racing 7 Munster 3)
  • 15:36



  • 15:38
    19 mins: Racing are like lightning when they get going but Munster will be disappointed with that. Murray completely missed a tackle on Vakatawa on the 22, allowing the big number five to sidestep around and create a two on one with Thomas on his right. He timed his pass perfectly to the winger who jogged over to touch down. Machenaud converts.  (Racing 14 Munster 3)
  • 15:40
    21 mins: It's been a bit too easy for Racing so far as Munster look nervous more than anything. Racing again have the ball in hand and are attacking inside the Munster half.  (Racing 14 Munster 3)
  • 15:41



  • 15:44
    25 mins: Wow. Talk about making it look easy. Henry Chavancy made all of the running into the Munster 22 before recyling. It was worked across to Vakatawa who again barged his way through the Munster line before feeding it to Thomas. The winger is on top form today and is nearly showboating at this stage, sidestepping past four Munster men and going over the line before deciding against tapping it down himself, popping it up instead to Machenaud for the easiest try he will ever score! The number nine then added the extras.  (Racing 21 Munster 3)
  • 15:46

    26 mins: Racing pull even further ahead with an easy penalty for Machenaud.

    To put it bluntly, both semi-finals have been pretty underwhelming in terms of any competitiveness. Both as good as over within the first 25 minutes.  (Racing 24 Munster 3)

  • 15:49
    29 mins: Finally a positive for Munster. Good scrummaging earns a penalty on the halfway line and Keatley kicks to touch on the Racing 22.  (Racing 24 Munster 3)
  • 15:51
    31 mins: Some more good play from Munster allows Murray to box kick into the 22 where it bobbles out of play. Munster work the lineout well and are within five metres of the line...  (Racing 24 Munster 3)
  • 15:52
    33 mins: Munster have a scrum five metres out...  (Racing 24 Munster 3)
  • 15:54
    34 mins: Shaky passing and a few fumbles costs Munster some ground and they're forced back out towards the 22.  (Racing 24 Munster 3)
  • 15:55
    35 mins: This is better from Munster as they force Racing back. It eventually results in a penalty which is then moved up a few metres after some Racing dissent towards the referee.  (Racing 24 Munster 3)
  • 15:57
    36 mins: But the lineout is overthrown! After all of that Niall Scannell's throw misses all of his teammates and falls into the hands of Nakarawa. Racing clear and Munster have it back but once again they let it go with a terrible pass from Scannell which bounces out of play.  (Racing 24 Munster 3)
  • 15:59
    38 minutes: Munster get it back and make good ground which results in a penalty. Quick thinking from Murray allows him to gain more ground as he taps and goes and Munster are now within five metres of the line once again...  (Racing 24 Munster 3)
  • 16:00

    39 mins: But there's no way through.

    For now.

    Arnold made a dash for the line which almost bore fruit but he was held up right at the post. Scrum to Munster.  (Racing 24 Munster 3)

  • 16:02

    40 mins: Racing hold out.

    Munster moved it off the scrum but are pinged for holding on and Racing get the penalty. They kick to touch and head for the dressing rooms.  (Racing 24 Munster 3)

  • 16:02
  • 16:05

    Racing have been absolutely dominant so far but Munster did start to come into it a bit towards the end of the half. However, they have an absolutely monumental task on their hands if they're to turn this around in the swltering Bordeaux heat.

    That's it from me, I'll now hand you over to Eamon Donoghue for the second half, hopefully he can bring Munster some luck!

  • 16:15
    Trailing by 21 points, being dominated at the breakdown, error-prone in attack and defence. It can only get better for Munster right?
    Eamon Donoghue here to take over for the second half. Hopefully a change of author coincides with a change of fortune for the Irish province. Or at least some added intensity from them!
  • 16:16
  • 16:18
    Munster with a 66 per cent tackle success rate in that first half. Sums it all up! Second half about to kick off.
  • 16:19
    Racing 24 Munster 3 (41') Jack O'Donoghue gathers the restart and Conor Murray kicks for touch on halfway. The Racing lineout is a clean one and they have it on halfway
  • 16:24
    Racing 24 Munster 3 (42') Racing chip and chase into the corner and it comes off a Munster body last. Then there's some afters involving Marc Andreu Conor Murray and Virimi Vakatawa - not much in it but Racing awarded a penalty at the end of it
  • 16:27
    Racing 27 Munster 3 (42') Racing nail that penalty - Machenaud splits the posts from close in.  Munster have replaced their entire frontrow and and bring Simon Zebo in. They really needed the first points of the half. They are in possession on the Racing 10m line
  • 16:27
    Racing go offside, Murray kicks the resultant penalty into the corner. Munster claim their lineout and are 5m out
  • 16:29
    John Ryan is inches short. But Munster come again. It's then held up and the referee brings it back for a penalty. Munster take it quickly but Rhys Marshall's try is brought back after he ran at the referee. That's one way to pick a line
  • 16:33
    Racing 27 Munster 3 (48') Munster lose it in the first phase after a good scrum. Racing's defensive line up so fast again. Another chance goes abegging
  • 16:33
  • 16:35
    Racing 27 Munster 3 (51') That's more like it. A big hit from Sammy Arnold on halfway forces a knock on. JJ Hanrahan and Robin Copeland then come into the fray.
  • 16:37
    Racing 27 Munster 3 (51') Murray throws a lovely pass to Conway wide right, but as he's taken down Racing swarm the breakdown and again force Munster to hold on.
  • 16:40

    Racing 27 Munster 3 (56') Racing's maul is stopped illegaly. They win a penalty but this time Machenaud's effort is short and comes off the post.  

    After Munster clear their lines their French opponents bring on a certain Dan Carter!

  • 16:43
  • 16:44

    Racing 27 Munster 3 (59') Another water break as John Ryan is down receiving treatment. Twenty minutes of play left, and Munster trail by 24 with Racing introducing more - top-class- fresh legs

  • 16:46

    Racing 27 Munster 3 (59') Earls chases down a beautiful Rory Scannell kick into the corner and Louis Dupichot has to be alert to cut across and clear. Munster compete well at the lineout and Thomas is taken down behind his own try line. Munster scrum to come. They need something from this

  • 16:47
    Munster inches short. Conor Murray held up just short. They still have it
  • 16:49

    Racing 27 Munster 3 (62') Superb defence from Racing. Peter O'Mahony breaks through but they get hands under the ball. Another Munster scrum to come

  • 16:51
    TRY TIME! Yellow card for Andreu (Racing offside for a fourth time) and the pressure finally tells as Zebo gets over out on the left wing after a tap and go. Against his soon to be employers
  • 16:53

    Racing 27 Munster 8 (64') Touchline coversion from JJ Hanrahan is missed. Munster then gather the restart and come again. A super attack almost finds another breakthrough but Zebo's big pass out wide to Copeland is adjudged to be a forward one

  • 16:57

    Racing 27 Munster 8 (64') Munster's newfound intensity continues as Nakarawa is forced into a knock-on, and driven out of touch. Munster with Stephen Archer back on in the frontrow after John Ryan's injury

  • 16:58

    Poor Hanrahan pass to Zebo and Munster are driven way back after being in a good position off that scrum

  • 17:01

    Racing 27 Munster 8 (71') Munster underway again through a Murray tap and go. Zebo and Earls make ground and the latter kicks and chases. The chase is good and Munster force the turnover.  

  • 17:03
    Another kick and chase is overhit though, Thomas touches it down and Machenaud kicks Munster back into their own half. Racing back to 15 players
  • 17:05
    Donnacha Ryan tackled out of touch in his own 22. Munster win their own lineout and make some gains with the maul. Lots of gains, as Rhys Marshall touches down for a second TRY!
  • 17:06

    Racing 27 Munster 15 (77') Stubborn Munster not going away. This time Hanrahan nails the touchline conversion.  

  • 17:06
  • 17:08

    Racing 27 Munster 15 (78') Racing offside and Hanrahan kicks into the corner. The Munster fans getting behind their team as they come again looking for one more try

  • 17:09
  • 17:10
    Munster are offside and lose it. But they win the Racing lineout off the resultant penalty kick to touch. One more attack as we go into the red zone
  • 17:13

    Racing 27 Munster 22 (80') Conway chases his grubber kick, kicks it on again and touches down. A third try for Munster in this second half to add some respectability to the scoreline. Hanrahan converts again

  • 17:14

    FT Racing 27 Munster 22 The slow start kills Munster. Too little too late as their Champions Cup challenge ends against a very impressive Racing team

  • 17:17

    So Racing will play Leinster in the Champions Cup final on Saturday 12th May.

    Want to know how to get to Bilbao? Click here for all you need to know about the final

  • 17:17
  • 17:21
  • 17:24

    Donnacha Ryan on Racing's strong start and win over his old team: "We literally put the foot to the floor. We trained the last four days.  

    "Small margins pulled us through in the end. It'll be a tough task in a couple of weeks. But yeah I'm bitterly disappointed for the (Munster) lads. I know how much it means to them."

  • 17:27

    So that's that . . . Munster fail to join Leinster in the Champions Cup final. A proud second half showing, but overall Racing were by far the more polished side.

    Match report and analysis to follow. Until then, thanks for joining us.

    FT Racing 27 Munster 22