Search icon


23rd Nov 2019

Munster show incredible spirit to salvage draw against impressive Racing

Patrick McCarry



30 seconds on the clock, the Munster pack steaming forward and their No.10 in the pocket for the drop goal.

JJ Hanrahan had the chance to be the hero for Munster but he screwed his late kick left and wide. An exhilarating Champions Cup tie ended in a draw and, in truth, both sides deserved to get something out of the game.

The result means Racing are still ahead on points difference with Saracens back-to-back next on Munster’s European agenda.

Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne combined for an early turnover to raise the home hackles but Munster’s lineout was misfiring and that, as well as Racing proficiency at the breakdown, was stalling momentum.

JJ Hanrahan put Munster 3-0 ahead after Antoine Claassen gave away a silly penalty. All was sedate for a few minutes until Munster, eager to keep the ball alive at all times, nearly tied a bow on one for Racing. Peter O’Mahony attempted a flicked, no-look pass to Tadhg Beirne that was intercepted. In the very next phase, Keith Earls was almost away with an intercept of his own but he could not hold on and the French side got an attacking scrum.

With Chris Farrell and Mike Haley carrying well, it was another lineout blip that put Munster in a hole. O’Mahony darted to the front of the line but shelled the ball and Racing had their attacking platform. With an advantage coming for a Munster infringement, Finn Russell pulled off a sublime grubber kick that he fathered himself to score by the posts.

Hanrahan’s next penalty got Munster back in the game, at 6-7, but another chip and chase beauty from Racing soon quietened the home crowd. Niall Scannell, last man in the defensive line, out wide, was drawn in by Claassen and Simon Zebo found Teddy Thomas, who chipped over Mike Haley before gathering and dotting down.

Hanrahan was so close to getting over under the posts but Zebo and Claassen combined to put him off and he knocked on by the posts. It was Munster that looked to be hanging on as half-time neared but a huge Niall Scannell turnover gave them one last chance.

Their lineout just about secured possession and the backline teed up Keith Earls for a one-on-one with Zebo out wide. Earls outfoxed his old teammate and the light at the end of the tunnel shone brighter. HALF-TIME: Munster 11-14 Racing 92

A Hanrahan penalty, early in the second half, had the scores level but Russell would so have a big say on that.

Targeting blindside O’Mahony and prop Jeremy Loughman in the defensive line, Russell stepped inside, pinned the ears and made the line break. A sprinting Juan Imhoff was in support and the try was his.

Russell converted but then missed a penalty, out wide, that would have given Racing a 10-point lead. Somehow, for all the French side’s possession and territory, it was still a one-score game heading into the last 10 minutes.

The home fans rose as one as Andrew Conway hared towards the Racing tryline, only for a covering defender (Imhoff) to rip the ball from ball from his grasp and win his side a scrum.

Munster were not finished, though, and after pounding the Racing defence with pick and goes, it was a looped JJ Hanrahan pass to Conway that stunned the visitors:

Hanrahan converted that try but he will be kicking himself for missing that late drop goal.

Racing will be wondering how they coughed up that win but Munster proved they need to be dead, buried and filled over with cement before you can ever confidently write them off.

OUR MAN OF THE MATCH: Finn Russell (Racing 92)



Barry Murphy and Andrew Trimble are joined by Jerry Flannery in the House of Rugby studio to look back on a winning weekend of Champions Cup rugby, and the imperious form of Leinster.


WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?