ERCC: Munster v Racing Metro Preview

Munster host Racing Metro on the 21st of October at Thomond Park.

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Munster v Racing 92 | 21 October 18h30 | Thomond Park

To Win Match (80 mins)
Munster 2/11 | Draw 25/1 | Racing Metro 7/2

Perhaps the pick of this weekend’s Champions Cup action sees Munster host 2015/16 runners-up Racing 92, for a potentially mouth-watering affair in Limerick. The Irishmen come off the back off a rather disappointing 17-all away draw at Castres, while Dimitri Szarzewski’s men battled to a 22-18 home victory against Leicester on the weekend.

Rassie Erasmus has but a few weeks left at the helm of a Munster side he has so superbly served over the last 18-months or so. The Director of Rugby has been widely praised for putting one of Irish rugby’s traditional powerhouses back on the map, and the impact he has had at the club in such a short space of time really is something at which to be marvelled. SA Rugby is darned lucky to be getting a rugby man of Erasmus’ ilk back, that’s for sure!

All this said, Erasmus would have felt frustrated at his side’s inability to win away at Castres on the weekend. Compared to Racing, Castres are certainly not world-beaters and to have only come away with two points is not good enough for a team with such lofty ambitions. Munster should be a different prospect at Thomond Park, where only a bonus-point win will do in front of their home support.

If Munster can nullify the offloading game of star Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa, and keep the game tight and structured, Racing will battle to assert themselves. A forward-orientated, territory-based game is the answer for Munster; and with Connor Murray at nine, they should have no problem conjuring it up.

Racing Metro
Les Ciel et Blanc may just have missed a trick in failing to claim a bonus-point in their victory over the Tigers. While the win against as tough an outfit as Leicester is certainly commendable, the fact of the matter is that a bonus-point may have proved vital come the final Pool shake-up.

Racing’s electrifying running game was certainly on show this past weekend, but they will need to rely on more than just flash if they are to topple a very well-drilled Munster side. Racing’s set-pieces will need to fire, while their defence will have to find a way to combat the threats of Munster’s heavy-men; particularly around the fringes.

Second-rower Nakarawa produced an offloading masterclass in that win over Leicester, and his X-factor may be something Racing turn to should they get a solid enough foothold in the contest. The Olympic gold-medallist is quite some rugby player indeed, and it will be interesting to see how well he can establish himself against a very powerful Munster line-up. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Verdict: Munster 2/11
If Peter O’Mahony’s men can avoid being tempted into playing a high-tempo, loose game, they should have the quality to close out the win here. Racing may just struggle to live with the physical intensity of the Munstermen.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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