Friday 15 December 2017

Still plenty to fight for against Racing

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

With a quarter-final slot already secured, Rassie Erasmus' side will face tomorrow's final Pool 1 tie with Racing 92 with a little pressure removed.

But despite having already guaranteed their progression, a win tomorrow is vital if a home quarter-final is to be achieved.

Of the 40 quarter-finals played in the last eight seasons of the Champions Cup and Heineken Cup, there have only been eight away wins recorded, which underlines the importance of playing on your own patch.

Incidentally, Munster were involved in three of those eight games: their wins over Harlequins and Gloucester in 2012-'13 and 2007-'08; although the home defeat at the hands of Ulster in 2011-'12 season was a particular low point too.

The evidence on show in Paris told us that a five-point haul was almost a certainty at Thomond Park tomorrow, such was Munster's dominance, but the French champions will have taken great confidence and pride in the way they recovered last week to defeat Leicester Tigers by 34-3.

Next weekend they return to their fight to retain the Bouclier de Brennus with a tough away trip to face Lyon, and considering they sit in ninth place, 15 points behind leaders Clermont, perhaps more value will be placed on that tie.

But whatever side shows up in Limerick they will be full of talented internationals, so Munster had better beware.

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