Racing 92 v Munster

Munster venture into the U Arena where a win would secure their passage to the knockout stages

Eamon Donoghue Sun, Jan 14
LIVE: Racing 92 v Munster

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  • Hello and welcome . . . Munster take on Racing 92 in the Parisian club’s new all-seated 32,000 capacity stadium, where a win would secure their place in the Champions Cup knockout stages. It would also be a third win from three for the Irish provinces in Europe's elite competition this weekend.

    We'll have all the action right here, ahead of a 3.15pm kick-off. Be sure to get in touch throughout, via either the comments section ('Contact Us' tab) or on Twitter (@DonoghueEamon).

    Let's get started!
  • Racing 92 v Munster, Sunday, 4.15pm local time/3.15pm Irish. Live on Sky Sports Action

    Gerry Thornley's Lowdown

    Previous meetings: (2012-13) Racing 22 Munster 17, Munster 29 Racing 6. (2016-17) Racing 7 Munster 32, Munster 22 Racing 10. (2017-18) Munster 14 Racing 7.

    Results so far: Racing – 22-18 v Leicester (h), 7-14 v Munster (a), 13-16 v Castres (a), 29-7 v Castres (h). Munster – 17-17 v Castres (a), 14-7 v Racing (h), 33-10 v Leicester (h), 25-16 v Leicester (a).

    Leading try scorers: Racing – Leone Nakaraw 3, Louis Dup[ichot 2. Munster – Simon Zebo 2.

    Leading points scorers: Racing – Maxime Machenaud 18. Munster – Ian Keatley 37.

    Referee: Matthew Carley (Eng).

    Betting (Paddy Powers): 4/7 Racing, 17/1 Draw, 6/4 Munster. Handicap odds (Munster + 4 pts) 10/11 Racing, 19/1 Draw, 10/11 Munster.

    Forecast: Racing to win. Munster to salvage a bonus point.

  • Team news:

    Billy Holland and Chris Cloete have both passed their return to play protocols arising from head injuries, and have been named to start. In all there are four changes to the starting XV that beat Connacht 39-13 last Saturday, with captain Peter O’Mahony - an unused replacement in that encounter - also restored to the team.

    Racing 92 have named an unchanged side from the side which beat Clermont 58-6 last week. Their starting XV contains a dozen French internationals, with one of them, Rémi Tales, continuing to deputise for the injured Dan Carter.

    RACING 92: L Dupichot; T Thomas, V Vakatawa, H Chavancy, M Andreu; R Tales, M Machenaud (capt); E Ben Arous, C Chat, B Tameifuna; D Ryan, E Mak; Y Nyanga, W Lauret, L Nakarawa.

    Replacements: D Szarzewski, V Kakovin, C Gomes Sa, B Chouzenoux, B Palu, X Chauveau, B Dambielle, J Rokocoko.

    MUNSTER: S Zebo; A Conway, C Farrell, R Scannell, K Earls; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, B Holland; P O’Mahony (capt), C Cloete, CJ Stander.

    Replacements: K O’Byrne, J Cronin, J Ryan, D O’Shea, J O’Donoghue, J Hart, JJ Hanrahan, A Wootton.

  • State of play:

    Victory would secure Munster first place in Pool Four and quarter-final qualification for a 17th time, while a bonus point defeat – provided they deny Racing a bonus point – would at least retain leadership of the group going into their final game at home to Castres next Sunday.

    Alternatively, were Munster to lose without a bonus point, Racing would overtake them in first place, while Castres could remain in contention by beating Leicester at home in the weekend’s finale tomorrow evening.

  • Simon Zebo lines out for Munster against Racing 92 in the latter’s new U Arena, which will also be his new home next season. Gerry Thornley writes; "if anybody can take such an occasion in his stride, it is the laid-back 27-year-old. There will certainly be no inner conflict."

    Zebo: "This [Munster] is my family. Munster rugby is everything to me. Racing is nothing to me as of now, and Racing won’t mean anything to me until I arrive into the training facility. Hopefully we go out and hammer them to a pulp this weekend and I’ll score a lash of tries. That’s what I want to happen."

    Read that piece in full here

  • There's an impressive light show at the new U Arena to greet the two teams as they come out on to the pitch. Two minutes 'till kick-off
  • Racing 0 Munster 0 (1') Game on! Ian Keatley gets us underway. Racing gather inside their 22 and win a penalty immediately as Munster come in offside
  • Munster's discipline has been poor in recent weeks, not a great start on that front
  • Racing 0 Munster 0 (2') Clean lineout and it's worked out to Thomas. Racing move inside the Munster 22 looking menacing
  • Advantage Racing - 5m out  
  • Racing 7 Munster 0 (3') Flying start by Racing as Nyanga crosses over. Machenaud converts under the posts
  • Munster scrum for a Racing knock on. Just outside the host's 22. They win a penalty and Conor Murray taps and goes.  
  • Penalty Racing as Chris Farrell comes in from the side. Wasted opportunity for Munster, their third early penalty to concede
  • Racing 7 Munster 0 (7') High tackle presents Racing with a straightforward penalty to increase their lead
  • Racing 10 Munster 0 (8') Machenaud nails it, two from two for him
  • Racing 10 Munster 0 (11')  Munster in possession on half way, looking to gain a foothold in this game. Conor Murray kicks up and under and CJ Stander gathers, but Zebo is then charged down and Racing clear
  • Racing 10 Munster 0 (14')  A fifth Racing penalty, Machenaud takes it quick and the hosts are through the phases and just outside the Munster 22. Remi Tales' crossfield kick is well gathered by Zebo but he carries it out. Racing lineout to come on the Munster 22
  • Munster's maul defence is brilliant and they win the penalty as Racing come in offside. Keatley brings them up the field  
  • Racing 10 Munster 0 (17') Harsh penalty on Munster. Murray breaks off after the lineout, as the forwards come in to clean out the referee adjudges they have come in off their feet.

    In the following play Chris Cloete forces the turnover at the breakdown to give Munster possession on half way again.

  • Peter O'Mahony causes havoc at the Racing lineout and forces the turnover on their 22. Munster scrum to come
  • TRY! Good scrum, Rory Scannell makes a break and then Kleyn drives over. Clinical stuff from Munster, they'll be delighted with that!
  • Racing 10 Munster 7 (21') Keatley adds the extras. Munster gather the restart and their outhalf puts the play back in the Racing half

  • Keatley kicks into the corner after Rhys Marshall makes a powerful break. This time however Racing's lineout is clean - but their clearance is not. It's straight to Conor Murray, but he is quickly driven out of touch
  • Earls superbly claims the Racing up and under, then tip toes his way down the line and clear - but he put a foot out of touch and it's back for a Racing lineout on halfway
  • Racing 10 Munster 7 (27') Zebo is obstructed chasing his own kick, penalty to Munster on the Racing 10m line. Keatley going for the posts

  • Racing 10 Munster 7 (27') Ah he's hit the post, that was a good effort though. Machenaud counters at pace but to Munster's relief he knocks on

  • Magic by Zebo. Earls breaks the line and passes to the Munster fullback who one handed moves it on to Conway. Munster still building and they are inside the Racing 22
  • Great scramble defence by the hosts and they turn it over. Munster pinged for holding on. Munster will be frustrated to have taken nothing from the last two opportunities
  • Racing 10 Munster 7 (34') Zebo claims a high ball excellently and is tackled in the air. Winning a penalty on halfway. He's up and good to go

  • Keatley going for the posts
  • The post again! The same one!!
  • Racing gather and clear their lines. Munster lineout on the Racing 10m line and a final chance to score before the break
  • Murray's dink kick bounces in Racing's favour as Munster looked to be in. The hosts again clear their lines and ease the pressure
  • Racing 10 Munster 7 (39') Peter O'Mahony furious as Racing awarded a penalty at the breakdown, on halfway. It's brought forward 10m. A chance for the French club to extend their lead

  • HT Racing 13 Munster 7  Machenaud nails it - three from three for him. Munster have been in control after their nervy start. But two penalties off the post and a few spurned try scoring opportunites sees them trail by six. They'll feel there's lots more in them for the second half!

  • Jerry Flannery: "By and large we think our plan is working . . . Obviously the discipline is something we have to address."

  • Racing 13 Munster 7 (41')  Racing get us underway for the second half. Munster gather and clear and Racing are in possession on halfway

  • Racing 13 Munster 7 (42') Racing powering through the phases and they've grinded their way into the Munster 22

  • Early try again for Racing!!
  • Racing 18 Munster 7 (44')  Nakawara and Nyanga both prominent before a slick offload allows Andreu to sneak in at the corner. Conversion missed

  • Magic feet by Earls on halfway. Penalty Munster for a deliberate knock on. Murray takes it quickly and at the end of a swift attack the excellent Earls is at the end of it all to cross over. What a try! What a response
  • Racing 18 Munster 14 (47')  Keatley converts. That was special from Keith Earls

  • Racing 18 Munster 14 (49')  Racing try to build momentum around halfway again, but this time Munster win the turnover with O'Mahony in at the breakdown and Racing hold on

  • Racing 18 Munster 21 (51')  Munster have been so direct and they are breaking the line time and time again. This time it's worked through the phases and Farrell is found on the outside and he drives over despite two last ditch tacklers trying to hold him up. Keatley converts

  • Racing 21 Munster 21 (53')  Stephen Archer concedes a penalty and from distance Machenaud slots it. Level game. Jack O'Donoghue on for the injured Peter O'Mahony

  • Racing 21 Munster 24 (57') Racing come in off their feet. Munster penalty and from a tricky angle Keatley nails a crucial three pointer. Momentum is all Munster here

  • Racing run it out of their defence with Thomas making a break down the line, and before you know it they're outside the Munster 22 but it's a let off for the Irish province as they get pinged for crossing. Keatley's penalty brings Munster into the Racing half again
  • Racing 21 Munster 27 (62') Penalty for Munster, followng a Jack O'Donoghue turnover, the Racing player throws the ball at the head of one of the Munster forwards.  

    Keatley strokes it over.  

  • Racing 28 Munster 27 (62') Well worked lineout, Nyanga pops it back to Szarzewski and he sneaks over. Racing needed that. Machenaud converts. End to end rugby

  • Zebo has had a quiet half thus far, but he makes a lovely run and while the break comes to nothing - it's back for a Munster penalty as Racing come in offside. Conor Murray is lining it up, it's a long one . . .
  • Racing 28 Munster 27 (69') He has the distance but it's way wide to the right

  • Into the last 10 minutes and this game is on a knife edge
  • Racing 28 Munster 27 (71') Racing trying to run it out of their half but Munster turn them over on their 10m line

  • Munster driven back but they come away with a penalty as the Racing tackler knocks on. Lucky for Munster. They have a scrum on halfway. 72 minutes gone
  • Strong Munster scrum, giving them a penalty on halfway and Murray is going to go for it again
  • Racing 28 Munster 30 (75') Straight through the posts, take a bow Conor Murray. Munster have the lead coming into the final five minutes

  • Former Munster man Donnacha Ryan claims the restart and wins a penalty. Big response and Racing will have the chance to bounce straight back
  • Racing 31 Munster 30 (76') Machenaud nails it. Then a poor restart and poor clearance from Keatley puts Munster under serious pressure again and they concede another penalty. Under the posts

  • Racing 34 Munster 30 (78') Machenaud makes no mistake and puts four in it. Munster need a try

  • JJ Hanrahan on for Keatley. A poor end to his game, but he has played well overall
  • Racing 34 Munster 30 (79') Munster lose the ball on the Racing 10m line. Looking flat and going nowhere. Racing scrum to come

  • FT Racing 34 Munster 30  Munster beaten, their own Donnacha Ryan providing the crucial moment for Racing. Nevertheless the losing bonus point keeps them top of the pool with the visit of Castres to come.

  • Munster one point clear of Racing ahead of that final round of fixtures next weekend. Munster host Castres and Racing travel to Leicester. It's still in Munster's hands
  • CJ Stander: "It's a good day's work. It was always going to be difficult coming over here - they get tries from nothing.

    "It would have been great to finish it here, but now we have to get that win next week. Next week we have to be tough from start to finish and play our game."

  • So that's that . . . Leinster are the only Irish province who have so far secured their place in the knockout stages. But Munster and Ulster certainly still have it all to play for next weekend. Munster could've won it here, but in the end they were glad to take the point.

    Match report from Gerry Thornley will be on the site shortly. Until then, thanks for joining us.


    Racing 34 Munster 30