Finn Russell Munster can draw comfort from passing fitness tests

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In Swansea a week ago it was to magic up a cherry to put on top of the winning cake against Ospreys; then in Thomond Park on Saturday they salvaged a draw with a late charge that had seemed unlikely the way Racing had been moving through the gears in the third quarter.

Finn Russell Andrew Conway scores Munster’s third try despite the efforts of Brice Dulin of Racing 92. Photo: Sportsfile

Andrew Conway scores Munster’s third try despite the efforts of Brice Dulin of Racing 92. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster’s Keith Earls celebrates with team-mate Mike Haley. Photo: Sportsfile

“It probably flattered us a bit, getting the draw at the end,” captain Peter O’Mahony conceded. “I don’t think we played well enough to win the game, to be honest. We had three or four mental lapses defensively. You can’t do that against a team of that quality.

“Around 50 minutes we were on the ropes but we stuck at it. We showed up defensively at important moments.

“We’re never a team to roll over, especially not at home. We managed to get the two points at the end, which will stand to us.”

X-ray vision wouldn’t have revealed those points being accessible when Teddy Iribaren was tapping over the conversion to Juan Imhoff’s try in the third quarter, Racing’s third of the game.

Finn Russell Munster's Andrew Conway challenges Racing 92's Juan Imhoff. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster’s Andrew Conway challenges Racing 92’s Juan Imhoff. Photo: Sportsfile

They were all over Munster like a rash in that period. On top of the grief they were causing the home forwards out of touch they had the upperhand at the scrum. And in Teddy Thomas they had the most dangerous athlete on the field.

Factor in Finn Russell, looking like he was having the time of his life, and Munster looked like a losing bonus point – Imhoff’s try put Racing 21-14 ahead – would be a serious achievement.

“I think both teams came to play some positive rugby,” Johann van Graan said. “It was like last year’s draw in round one – you could have lost and you certainly could have won. We’ll take our points and move on.


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