Throwback Thursday: Munster and Racing set for another cracker

Charlie Bennett
09 January 2020

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Munster head into their Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 knowing a victory is vital if they are to progress beyond the pool stage of this year’s competition.

The two-time winners are second in their group and will be wary of the threat posed by current European champions Saracens who sit a place below them in the table.

Victory on Sunday is, therefore, key if they are to keep their qualification hopes on track as the pool stage approaches its conclusion.

Sunday’s clash will be the latest in a long line of encounters between two sides who have served up their fair share of memorable encounters over the years.

Ahead of the vital clash, let’s look back at two of Racing and Munster’s most keenly contested clashes of recent times.

Racing 27-22 Munster, Stade Chaban-Delmas, 2018

It was heartache for Munster two years ago as their European dream came to a halt after they were blown away at the semi-final stage by Racing.

A flying first-half display proved too much for Munster and they were effectively beaten by the time the interval arrived.

An inspired display from Racing’s Teddy Thomas accounted for much of the damage as he ran in two tries and laid one on for Maxime Machenaud, who ended the day with 17 points to his name.

Despite facing a daunting 24-3 deficit at half-time, Munster refused to take the defeat lying down and came out with renewed vigour in the second period.

Simon Zebo went over the whitewash to give them hope of a comeback before late scores from Rhys Marshall and Andrew Conway reduced the arrears further.

While the succession of points gave the score a more favourable appearance, Munster were unable to muster enough to complete the most unlikely of comebacks.

Racing 22-17 Munster, Stade de France, 2012

As far as opening games go, this was a fine advert for the game as Racing secured victory at the last.

Olly Barkley was the main thorn in Munster’s side, and he made the most of some sloppy defending to help himself to 14 points in Paris.

The result looked unlikely after Munster eased into a 10-0 lead thanks to Sean Dougall’s try and could have been further ahead but for the profligacy of Paul O’Connell.

A wayward Ronan O’Gara pass then handed the initiative over to Racing as Machenaud intercepted the fly-half’s pass and touched down to spark a 13-10 turnaround.

A stunning Zebo try saw Munster restore their lead before a Conor Murray error offered Barkley the chance to kick Racing ahead again.

Mirco Bergamasco then touched down to seal the win for Racing and leave Munster wondering how they had squandered such a positive position.

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