Monday 25 September 2017

Rassie Erasmus reveals the piece of Peter O'Mahony insight that sums up Munster's rise

21 January 2017; Peter OMahony of Munster in action during a scrum during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 6 match between Munster and Racing 92 at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
21 January 2017; Peter OMahony of Munster in action during a scrum during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 6 match between Munster and Racing 92 at Thomond Park in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Munster head coach Rassie Erasmus says his side will be keen to kick on after reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in three years.

Munster have a home Champions Cup quarter-final to look forward to in the spring after completing the double over Racing 92 with a 22-10 win at Thomond Park.

The Pool 1 winners, boasting the tournament's best defence with just four tries conceded, advance as second seeds for the knockout stages - in between the top-ranked Clermont Auvergne and defending champions Saracens.

Simon Zebo's sixth try in four games against the Paris club broke the deadlock in the 36th minute with Benjamin Dambielle's sin-binning proving costly. The latter's half-back partner Maxime Machenaud closed the gap to 7-3 by half-time.

Beaten 32-7 by the same opposition at home a fortnight ago, Racing produced a much-improved performance in Limerick, hanging in there with a Henry Chavancy try in response to a Tyler Bleyendaal penalty and Ronan O'Mahony's 48th-minute try.

But Rassie Erasmus' men were not to be denied their fifth pool victory as Andrew Conway, who made his presence felt on the right wing, played in replacement Ian Keatley for the clinching 70th-minute try - his first in Europe for the province.

Erasmus was not happy with the display but that in itself is an indication of how far Munster have come.

“Peter O’Mahony summed it up well, we are frustrated with our performance but we have a chance to compete now and it shows we are growing,” he said.

“If this was presented to us in July, we would have said it was a great season.

“Now the trick is to try and go further and see how fit we can be after the Six Nations. It is satisfying and we are on an upward curve.

“It was a tough match physically, Racing decided two weeks ago to turn their season around and they picked a full-strength team.

“We knew they would have big moments and we would have to grind it out with our fitness and win the big moments., It was a good win but not the prettiest game.

“The game was never flowing, it was stop start. And the players adjusted to that in the second-half but for fifteen minutes in the second-half, we didn’t play well. But cool heads came in the end.

“We knew we needed to beat them by 11 points or score the bonus point try so that was good for us.

“The challenge we have with a squad is that sometimes we need to put them on and they all had a good impact, even though sometimes you lose rhythm.”

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