Munster and Racing share spoils in thrilling draw
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Munster and Racing 92 fought out a tremendous 21-21 draw in a dramatic Champions Cup Pool Four clash at Thomond Park on Saturday.
Tries from Racing 92’s Finn Russell, Teddy Thomas and Juan Imhoff were matched by scores from Munster wings Keith Earls and Andrew Conway, as well as 11 points from the boot of JJ Hanrahan.
The hosts started on top as Racing 92 conceded a penalty at the breakdown for not rolling away on eight minutes, allowing Munster to take an early shot at the posts. Hanrahan – returning from injury for the match – made no mistake and put the hosts ahead.
With the game swinging from end to end, Racing struck just before the 20-minute mark.
— Racing 92 (@racing92) November 23, 2019
With penalty advantage being played, Russell dinked a delightful ball in behind Munster’s packed line, nutmegged Rory Scannell then collected his pass and dived over the tryline to complete a stunning score.
A scrum penalty was awarded to Munster and they edged closer through Hanrahan on 27 but two minutes later Racing responded with interest.
It was great work from Simon Zebo who dragged three men into the tackle, freeing up Thomas who chipped the ball over the final Munster defender on the right wing, collected his kick and scooted round to score at the posts.
Munster would respond as the clock hit red as they worked through the hands out towards the left wing, finding Earls who skipped down the touchline and dived over in emphatic fashion to cut the gap to three points.
They did level up with another penalty from Hanrahan early on in the second half but they were soon behind again.
It was more genius from the Scottish flyhalf who dummied and sliced through the Munster line before handing off to Juan Imhoff who saw off the last defender and scored at the posts.
But Munster continued to fight back, and with penalty advantage, Hanrahan launched a ball across for Andrew Conway who dived over at the corner. The man with the assist then slotted over the difficult conversion in what would be the final score in a pulsating tied match.
Munster will now travel to face Saracens in Allianz Park in Round Three while Racing will host Ospreys.
Tries: Earls, Conway
Pens: Hanrahan 3
For Racing 92:
Tries: Russell, Thomas, Imhoff
Cons: Iribaren 3
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Fineen Wycherley, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Dan Goggin, 23 Arno Botha.
Racing 92: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy (captain), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Boris Palu, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Hassane Kolingar, 18 Ali Oz, 19 Fabien Sanconnie, 20 Yoan Tanga, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Brice Dulin.
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Greg MacDonald (England), Wayne Falla (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)
🔢 Scores after a super Saturday 🔢
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) November 23, 2019