Conor Murray: 'Munster must be realistic about Europe'

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Conor Murray: 'Munster must be realistic about Europe'

MUNSTER scrum-half Conor Murray says the province must set itself realistic goals when it comes to the European Champions Cup.

Two-time European Cup winners Munster have failed to qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition for the past two seasons.

And Munster kick-off their latest campaign with a daunting away trip to French Top 14 champions Racing 92 at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir in Paris on Sunday, 3.15pm Irish time.

Munster’s Pool 1 opponents also include Aviva Premiership side Leicester Tigers and fellow Pro12 outfit Glasgow Warriors.

Conor Murray said: “Every year we probably come in and go 'we want to win Europe, we want to win Europe'.

“Realistically, looking at our performance over the last few years, that is not right, so if we aim to get out of our group and target all those games and really focus in on them and than we get out of the group, then we will reassess and as Rassie (Erasmus) says we will build on that and we will keep trying to get better.

“We are not going to be falsely confident saying, 'oh we want to win Europe', yes, it would be great and that obviously is the dream of every player here, but we got to take it step by step and be realistic with it.”

Like Munster, their pool opponents Leicester Tigers Tigers, have two European Cups in their trophy cabinet, and were semi-finalists in the Champions Cup last season. The Glasgow Warriors finished third in the Guinness PRO12, compared to Munster's sixth place finish.

Rassie Erasmus said: ”When you look at the matches you try to find an easy game, but then you quickly realise that Munster will probably be viewed as the easy game for the other teams in the Pool. That's a perception we have to change.

“We will be playing against world class players and against teams that have no real weaknesses."

Last season’s Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 are long odds-on favourites at 1/7 to win on Sunday. Munster are available at 5/1 and punters can back the Irish province with a 12-point start on the handicap betting.

The game is live on Sky Sports 2.