Finn Russell Munster locked and loaded as big guns return for must-win Racing clash

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There are increasing signs JJ Hanrahan will be named in Munster’s starting XV for Sunday’s win-or-bust meeting with Racing in Paris (kick-off 4.15pm local time/3.15pm Irish).

Hanrahan’s hamstring twinge forced him off in the 57th minute of the defeat by Leinster a fortnight ago and ruled him out of the ignominious beating by Ulster in Belfast last weekend, but in the absence of Joey Carbery and Tyler Bleyendaal, it seems as if Hanrahan will start against Racing.

In the further expectation that Johann van Graan will again opt for a 6-2 split on the bench, inside centre Rory Scannell will again cover outhalf.

Another of the main causes for optimism in Munster ranks is that, among others, Chris Farrell is back. Akin to CJ Stander, Farrell was one of those missing from the loss at home to Edinburgh and those aforementioned derbies.

Locked and fully loaded, with Farrell, Stander and Jean Kleyn – all of whom will be restored to the team when it is announced today – Munster have lost just one of six, away to Saracens. Even against the back-to-back champions, Munster withstood the loss of Peter O’Mahony in the warm-up, Tadhg Beirne after 10 minutes, John Ryan inside half an hour and Andrew Conway by the 53rd minute, to remain very competitive and ought really to have secured a bonus point.

Kleyn was part of an excellent first hour by the Munster pack, while Stander and Farrell are, along with David Kilcoyne, among the province’s primary ball carriers.

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