Racing 92 are hoping destiny is calling as they plot a route through Munster’s European ambitions to reach next month’s Champions Cup final in Bilbao.
The Parisian club take on Munster in the Bordeaux sunshine on Sunday afternoon with temperatures during the match set to reach 28C. And club captain Dimitri Szarzeswki is planning to turn the heat up on the Irish province as Racing bid to reach a second final on Spanish soil in three seasons.
Racing won the French Top 14 title in 2016 with a final victory over Toulon at Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium and the France hooker said a return trip over the Pyrenees had been much discussed.
"We talk about it quite often. After we experienced the final in Barcelona and when we learned the final will be in Bilbao, we felt it could be a sign, that this could be for Racing,” Szarzewski said on Saturday following Racing’s captain’s run training session at Stade Chaban-Delmas.
Racing also reached the Champions Cup final in 2016 but lost the decider to Saracens in Lyon and Szarzewski, who will start the semi-final on the bench, admits European glory is still an obsession for the club.
"I’d love to be part of the few teams from France that have been able to lift the Cup. It's very dear to our hearts but we know the quality we are facing, what is at stake. We have to be highly efficient to win such a match.
As for the heat in Bordeaux, Racing joint head coach Laurent Travers said: "This is something we’ll have to take into account. Heat is one of the parameters and it will have an impact, especially towards the end of the match.
"We'll have to deal with it and I hope there will be a water break so that the players are able to recover.
France scrum-half Maxime Machenaud is set to lead Racing into Sunday’s clash with Munster, and the Bordeaux native said: “We know the Irish will want to put a lot of speed into the game and we will have to handle that and then take into account the heat.
"It’s clear that the bodies will tire and it’s going to be a very intense match but we're aware of that. That’s just sport."
Szarzewski added: “We’re used to playing in 22 degrees at the U Arena (indoors) but the temperature will be higher and there won’t be any air conditioning. It’s going to be hot”.