Munster wary of Racing threat

Date published: January 3 2017

They may be out of the Champions Cup, but Racing 92 could still make life difficult for Munster, says director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.

The defending Top 14 champions are experiencing a tough season to date. They are currently sitting eighth in the standings and have lost all three of their Champions Cup pool matches, eliminating them from the competition early.

Munster travel to Paris this week to play Racing after their Champions Cup match in October was postponed due to Anthony Foley's sudden passing on the morning of the match.

While Racing may seem uninterested in what is a dead rubber for them, Erasmus feels they shouldn't be taken lightly.

"I have my mind wandering a bit on that," Erasmus told the42.ie.

"I am just going to confuse myself to work out what they will be thinking for this game, you just don’t know. If you look at their squad depth and obviously their budget and player budget and the stature of their club and where they finished last year in both competitions, they could field a great team.

"And you wouldn’t know if they filled a second team with those guys that they aren’t actually better. They may be younger but are just potentially as good. I started wandering down that line of thought, thinking about it, but then I thought what would it help? We can only control how well we train and play and I’m sure playing there, whatever team they put out, it is going to be a massive challenge for us."

Darren Sweetnam has been ruled out for six weeks and will miss the game, while there is also doubt over Tommy O'Donnell's availability after the flanker suffered an ankle injury in Munster's 16-9 win over Connacht.

"I would say really it’s 50-50. I wouldn’t be overly positive, but he is a tough guy. He is one of the important guys in the team, like all of the other guys, but he is a specialist openside flanker. We are playing a team that is great at that area of the game so we will give him all of the chances he needs. But also not be stupid," Erasmus said of O'Donnell's injury.

Sweetnam, who had started every match until he was injured in the win over Leinster on St Stephen’s Day, will be out until February but Erasmus expects him to come back stronger.

"He is not a guy that knows injuries a lot. He doesn’t have the wealth of experience of a lot of injuries, not just because of his age, but because of the time he has played rugby."

COMMENTS