Finn Russell Peter O’Mahony fears finishing club career trophyless as Munster face last tango in Paris

Finn Russell This is another beautiful component.

The Ireland flanker is 30 now and is leading his home province for the eighth season. During that time they’ve been to five European semi-finals and two PRO14 finals without coming away with the prize.

If they lose to Racing tomorrow, then their European ambitions will go up in smoke for another year. The wait will stretch into its 13th year.

The cavalry arrive next summer and World Cup winners RG Snyman and Damian de Allende will be welcome, but Munster cannot afford to write off this campaign.

From the moment Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery announced their departure last season, this year’s effort always looked like a big ask.

Johann van Graan was forced to re-jig his staff in a World Cup year and, while he recruited top coaches in Stephen Larkham and Graham Rowntree, the timing was awful given 12 Ireland players would miss pre-season and a chunk of the year ahead.


Then came a horror European draw that saw them pitted against the two teams which comprehensively ended their last three Champions Cup runs, Saracens and Racing 92.

Their 12 internationals have been pulled in and out by the IRFU and there’s been a long injury list. Effectively, they’ve had to do without star out-half Joey Carbery for the whole campaign. While the union said yes on the Springboks, they said no to keeping Alby Mathewson and the All Black has been a big loss.

And yet, despite all the adversity, they’ve had chances to put major dents in both European rivals’ claims and missed.

Had JJ Hanrahan’s drop-goal been on target against Racing, they’d be going to Paris with top spot available.

If they’d been able to kick on against Saracens at home, or picked up a valuable losing bonus point in Barnet, they’d have breathing room.

And yet, here they are, back in the last chance saloon – a

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