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14th Jan 2018

Donnacha Ryan had everyone in stitches with his post-match comment to Sky Sports

What a legend

Patrick McCarry

Two Ronan O’Gara tweets, sent amid a chaotic, pulsating match, summed the whole day and the performances of two men up.

Teddy Thomas, Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway, Virimi Vakatawa and more were on show but, in the end, two of the more experienced players on the synthetic pitch were ones that took the plaudits – Donnacha Ryan and Keith Earls.

Watching the game in the early hours of Monday morning, in New Zealand, Ronan O’Gara paid homage to two men he once shared the pitch with. The first was Keith Earls, after his sensational line-break, skip and drive for the line gave Munster hope of a glorious comeback.

The second came at the death and not long after Ryan’s bloody-minded determination, from a restart, won his side what proved to be the matchwinning penalty.

Conor Murray had just arrowed over a penalty from the halfway line to put Munster 30-28 ahead but Ryan was not having it. He steamed off from the restart and launched himself airborne before wresting the ball off Ian Keatley and winning his side that crucial penalty.

Ryan was superb for his new employers and showed the sort of aggression, work-rate and effectiveness at the breakdown that made him so popular with Munster and Ireland fans. He should, in reality, still be playing for both of those causes but the IRFU stalled too long over his new contract and he set his sights on a move to Paris.

By the time the union finally got a decent offer together it was too late.

Ireland have the strength in depth to, perhaps, cope with Ryan’s departure but how Munster would have dearly loved his presence on their side of the scrum today. Following Racing’s 34-30 victory, Ryan spoke with Sky Sports and had many of his old supporters cracking up. He commented:

“We dogged it out. It turned out to be a bit of a dog-fight but we were lucky to get there in the end,” he said. Asked if he was going across the corridor for a few post-match Pernods in the Munster dressing room, Ryan smiled and remarked:

“A few cans of Dutch Gold and take it from there!”

Some buck.

Following that chat, he then swapped jerseys with his old mate Earls and gave an interview to Michael Corcoran of RTE in Munster red.

You can take the man out of Munster but, sometimes, you can’t take Munster out of the man.

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