Racing 92 vs Munster

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(Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Munster take on Racing in Bordeaux today hoping to join Leinster in the Champions Cup final.

Johann van Graan’s side needed a dramatic Andrew Conway try to see off Toulon in the quarter-finals at Thomond Park but won’t have home advantage when they take on another French side this afternoon.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Reds but they will be buoyed by the return of Keith Earls from injury who starts on the wing, while many were surprised to see Simon Zebo left on the bench against the club he will join next season.

These sides are very familiar with each other having been in the same pool with Munster winning 14-7 in Limerick and Racing winning 34-30 in the reverse fixture.

Conor Murray scores a try for Munster against Racing at Thomond Park last year (Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

The Parisians also have former Munster man Donnacha Ryan in their ranks for some inside knowledge and have the luxury of being able to call on multiple World Player of the Year Dan Carter from the subs bench.

But Munster will be determined to join Leinster in an All-Ireland final and hunt down their third European title.

You can follow all the action from France right here at Irish Mirror Sport.

Racing 92: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Marc Andreu; 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Maxime Machenaud; 1 Eddy Ben Arous, 2 Camille Chat, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 8 Yannick Nyanga.

Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Viliamu Afatia, 19 Antonie Claassen, 20 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Joe Rokocoko.

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Dave Kilcoyne, 2 Niall Scannell, 3 Stephen Archer, 4 Jean Kleyn, 5 Billy Holland, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 8 CJ Stander.

Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 James Hart, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Simon Zebo.

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CJ Stander believes Munster have learned the hard lessons they need

Buoyed by his return home on Munster’s South Africa trip, CJ Stander believes the Reds have learned the hard lessons to get them over the line in tomorrow’s Champions Cup semi-final.

The combative no 8 relished his homecoming to George, where the province beat the Southern Kings in the first leg of their South Africa tour ahead of this weekend’s vital Bordeaux mission.

Munster's CJ Stander scores a try against the Southern Kings
Munster’s CJ Stander scores a try against the Southern Kings (Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

“It was good, I probably couldn’t have planned it better,” he smiled.

“I was playing in my home town and my wife’s home town.

“It was a good trip, I got to see the whole family and it was good to show the boys where I’m from and what I stand for, show them a few spots.

“It was a good trip.”

Stander, 28, believes that Munster are a stronger outfit than the one that lost to Saracens in last year’s semi-final – their fifth defeat at that stage in the tournament in a decade.

Read on here:

CJ Stander believes Munster have learned the hard lessons they need to get over the line in semi-final

Peter O’Mahony insists an All-Ireland Champions Cup final isn’t in Munster minds

Peter O’Mahony insists that the prospect of an All-Ireland final in Bilbao is not in Munster’s thinking.

With Leinster already into the May 12 decider, a first-ever meeting of the two provincial rivals in a final – they have met twice at the semi-final stage – is a mouth-watering possibility.

Peter O'Mahony
Peter O’Mahony (Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

“That’s certainly something that I’m not in a position to be commenting on or thinking about, even,” said O’Mahony yesterday.

The Reds skipper’s sole concern is beating Racing 92 in the blistering Bordeaux heat this afternoon.

“We’ve a big game against one of the best teams in Europe and that’s what our minds are firmly focused on.”

It’s expected that water breaks will be required with the temperature set to soar into the late 20s for the kick-off at 3.15pm Irish time.

Munster boss Johann van Graan admitted that the Reds were caught out a little by how hot and humid it is.

Read on here:

Peter O’Mahony insists an All-Ireland Champions Cup final is not in Munster’s minds