Battle of Bordeaux - 10 statistics ahead of Munster and Racing 92's Champions Cup semi-final
Racing 92 are looking to become the 12th club to inscribe their name on the trophy when they clash with Munster Rugby in the Champions Cup for the fifth time in two seasons.
Dan Carter is just one of a number stars of the global game performing on the European stage this weekend and the Racing playmaker is focused on rounding off his time in Paris with the ultimate club trophy.
“I love having history and doing things that no teams have done before,” said the New Zealand legend. “If you look back at Racing 92’s history and how rare it is to make a final in Europe, we were lucky enough to do it a couple of years ago, so we’d love to go one step further.”
Meanwhile, this will be Munster’s first trip to the Stade Chaban-Delmas since the famous 31-25 win over Toulouse at the semi-final stage 18 years ago.
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With one win apiece during this season’s pool stage, the confrontation at Bordeaux’s Stade Chaban-Delmas promises to be another classic between the two clubs with twice-winners Munster having won four of their six meetings to date.
The clubs have met six times previously with Munster winning four matches (L2); they clashed earlier this season in the pool stage, with the home side on the day winning each encounter.
Munster are participating in their 13th European Cup semi-final, no other club has played in more than 10; seven of their previous 12 matches have been against TOP 14 opposition.
Munster have progressed from just four of their 12 semi-finals, losing their last five in a row.
Racing 92 meanwhile have reached this stage for just the second time, they defeated Leicester Tigers 19-16 in their only previous semi-final in 2016.
Munster have lost just one of their last nine games against TOP 14 opposition (W7, D1), and the defeat to Racing in Round 5 this season is the only blemish in that run.
Munster have averaged the fewest passes (108) but most kicks from hand (29) per game in the competition this season.
The two sides have conceded fewer tries than any other team in this season’s tournament – Munster have conceded just nine and Racing 11.
Peter O’Mahony has won 43 lineouts (including 5 steals), more than any other player in the competition.
The only two players to make 100+ carries this season will feature on Sunday – CJ Stander (105) and Leone Nakarawa (104).
Nakarawa has also made the most offloads (19) of any player and beaten the most defenders (22) of any forward.
Munster: Andrew Conway; Keith Earls, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, James Cronin, John Ryan, Gerbrandt Grobler, Robin Copeland, James Hart, JJ Hanrahan, Simon Zebo.
Racing 92: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Yannick Nyanga, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Viliamu Afatia, 19 Antonie Claassen, 20 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Joe Rokocoko.
Sunday, 22 April
Kick-off: 16:15, Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
Referee: JP Doyle (RFU)
Assistant Referee 1: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
Assistant Referee 2: Luke Pearce (RFU)
TMO: Graham Hughes (Eng)
Citing Commissioner: Jeff Mark (Wal)
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I suggest for an injection of rugby enthusiasm watch URC and Heineken Cup. Last night's game between campions Stormers and 15 on the trot unbeaten Leinster ended in a thrilling the draw in the worst possible rugby conditions producing seven tries, outstanding defence, and some really exciting running by both sides. Huge physicality, great set piece contests (virtually every lineout was contested), great maul, running, intercept and kick chase tries and just about everything one could want. One side 22 points adrift after 35 minutes only to go five up with ten to play putting on 27 unanswered points and then in the death an absolutely magic try levelling the score with an impossible kick in high wind being snatched away at the last second. all in front of a full house stadium and over half a million TV viewers. Now that is the game played in heaven - rugby.Go to comments
Nice one Nick. He actually reminds me of more physical David Knox - those deft passes to keep the defences guessing still burns in my memory.Go to comments