Conor Murray scores Munster's first try in their hard fought Champions Cup victory over Racing 92 at Thomond Park
MUNSTER ground out a vital 14-7 victory over French Top 14 side Racing 92 at a wet and windy Thomond Park on Saturday night to keep their hopes of Champions Cup qualification very much alive.
Two tries in the final quarter from Conor Murray and Andrew Conway, both converted by Ian Keatley, ensured Munster secured their first win in Pool 4 before an attendance of just over 22,000.
Racing ensured a nervy finish to the contest, however, after Leone Nakarawa struck for a late try which was converted by replacement scrum-half Teddy Iribaren.
Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne picked up the Man of the Match accolade, after an impressive display in the scrum and loose where he carried superbly.
A moving minute’s applause was observed before kick-off as a mark of respect to Munster’s late head coach Anthony Foley who passed away 12 months ago.
Munster's new head coach, South African Johann van Graan attended Saturday night's game, after spending the week in Limerick.
After a scoreless opening hour which produced an an old school arm wrestle of a contest where defences held sway, Murray finally broke the deadlock when blocking down a clearance kick from Racing captain Maxime Machenaud before following up to score.
Conway’s try on 69 minutes gave Munster some breathing space. However, the French side did manage to pick up a losing bonus point with that late try.
Next up for Munster in the Champions Cup are back-to-back fixtures against Leicester Tigers in December.
MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Peter O'Mahony (capt), Tommy O'Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Kevin O'Byrne, Liam O'Connor, John Ryan, Mark Flanagan, Jack O'Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Andrew Conway.
RACING 92: Pat Lambie; Joe Rokocoko, Henry Chavancy, Anthony Tuitavke, Louis Dupichot; Dan Carter, Maxime Machenaud (capt); Eddy Ben Arous, Camille Chat, Ben Tameifuna, Bernard le Roux, Leone Nakarawa, Wenceslas Lauret, Yannick Nyanga, Antonie Claassen. Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Viliamu Afatia, Census Johnston, Baptiste Chouzenoux, Edwin Maka, Teddy Iribaren, Rémi Tales, Albert Vulivuli.
REFEREE: JP Doyle (England)