'We are in for a tough one against Racing 92' - Munster Rugby's Rassie Erasmus

Colm Kinsella


Colm Kinsella



 'We are in for a tough one against Racing 92' - Munster Rugby's Rassie Erasmus

Current Racing 92 coach Ronan O'Gara

MUNSTER will aim to re-ignite their European Champions Cup campaign this Saturday when Racing 92 visit Thomond Park for a crucial Pool 4 fixture.

Munster escaped with a draw from their round one fixture with Castres Olympique at Stade Pierre Fabre on Sunday last.

Racing, who included former Munster out-half Ronan O’Gara in their backroom team, currently top Pool 4 after winning their opening fixture at home to Leicester Tigers.

Munster completed a home-and-away double over Racing in the pool stages of last season’s Champions Cup, bringing their tally of wins over the Parisians to three in four meetings.

Munster Director of Rugby insisted that a repeat of Sunday’s stuttering display against Castres which included the concession of 11 penalties and 25 turnovers would not suffice against Racing this weekend.

Erasmus said: “We are in for a tough one. If we play like we played last weekend we won't get points out of this game.

”We were naive at times, giving them opportunities where there is nothing on for us to try and take out certain positions on the field or circumstances and we just pushed our luck a little bit there.

"If we do that against Racing we will be naive, we won't get any points out of the game, so we will have to have a massive step up, now just with Nakarawa, (Dan) Carter will probably be in the mix, Lambie really played well.

”They have two big centres. Their line-out is unbelievable, they contest probably best in Top 14. That is why they got a convincing victory."

Munster’s new head coach Johann van Graan arrived in Limerick this week and is due to attend Saturday’s game at Thomond Park.

Erasmus explained: “(Johann van Graan) He’s here to observe this week. He’s in and around. We’re making sure he meets all the players, and to see how our coaching set-up works, how our weeks are planned, and meet all the various other departments, just to observe how we do things.

“When his work permit is successful he’ll know everyone and not spend the first four or five days when he’s in the job just finding his feet.

”So we’re trying to let him find his feet now while observing and his wife and his children are over here. They’re looking for a place to stay, those kinds of things, which helps.”

Asked how difficult he felt it would be for van Graan to find his feet in his new surrounds, Erasmus replied: “I can speak for him because I know him. Look, he’s been under pressure situations in his life. When he coached with the Bulls, in those days with 50,000-60,000 people at a match, and if you lose sometimes there’s then 2,000 people. Sometimes it works in a cut-throat way in South Africa in certain provinces.

”So he’s used to massive pressure. He’s been involved with the Springboks when they lost by two points in a World Cup semi-final to the All Blacks, but they lost to Japan and they had to turn that around, and then they went on to the semi-finals and lost by two points to the All Blacks.”

“Five weeks ago they lost to the All Blacks by 57 points and they managed to handle that pressure and come back and lose by one point. So I don’t think the pressure will get to him. He’s a really level-headed, cool guy. The new thing is just to pretty quickly understand the culture and the players.”