In the second Champions Cup semi-final French side Racing 92 go up against Munster in Bordeaux.
Racing 92 vs Munster Semi-Final Preview
The second semi-final is a familiar affair with Racing 92 and Munster meeting for the third time in the competition.
During the group stages they played twice and won one each. Munster won the first contest 14-7, and Racing won 34-30 in the return leg.
If those results are anything to go by, then we are in for another tight one on Sunday at 16.15 on BT Sport.
The only side to win on their travels during the quarter-finals, Racing have had a rollercoaster of a tournament to get this far.
During the group stages, losses to Munster and Castres threatened to boot them out of the competition shockingly early. But they came back to win three in a row to get a runners-up spot in the group.
This meant they had to travel to Group 2 winners Clermont. Tries by Leone Nakarawa, Man of the Match Marc Andreu and Boris Palu helped Racing come out 28-17 winners in a contest where substitutions changed the outcome of the game.
Palu was one of them, Dan Carter was the other. Pat Lambie had started the game at ten for Racing, however Carter showed his class by setting up Andreu for the try that put his side ahead. They were able to stay there and Carter later tweeted how much of a test Clermont were after the match.
Racing are a talented side with players like Nakarawa, Yannick Nyanga and Maxime Machenaud running the side, however who will be playing at ten will be a key storyline going into the game. Surely with someone like Carter in your side, you have to start him, but time will tell who the Racing coaches go for.
Munster on the other hand looked rock solid during the group stages with the only blemish being the loss to Racing in the round five. They came back in the next round though with a 48-3 thumping of Castres to top the group.
Their quarter-final opponent was Toulon who dominated the contest in the early stages taking a 6-0 lead after a penalty and drop goal by Anthony Belleau.
But then Conor Murray got the Irish back in the match scoring an improbable try on the Toulon line – after Guilhem Guirardo knocked on at the bese of the ruck, the scrum-half darted around, picked the ball up and dotted down.
Eventually Toulon managed to get themselves a 19-13 lead but an incredible, never-give-up Andrew Conway try , which was converted, gave Munster the 20-19 victory.
The experience of players like Murray, Peter O’Mahoney and CJ Stander had a key role to play here, and they will again be pivotal against Racing. All three are big name players and will surely play well this weekend but the question is whether the rest of the side can step up.
Munster are very good, but we think Racing will shock them and emerge victorious, 23-19.
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