Should Saracens lose the points for their win over Racing, Munster would be deemed to finish second in Pool 4, however it would be Glasgow Warriors who would be next in line to take their quarter-final place as the next-best runners-up.
On an explosive Saturday that saw Saracens relegated from the Gallagher Premiership on the eve of a must-win Champions Cup pool game against Racing 92, Munster took their exit from this season’s competition without firing a shot.
Devastating finishing in the final 10 minutes sent Racing 92 into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals as the Parisians finally broke Munster’s brave resistance and left their hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds hanging by a slender thread.
There is no disguising the links that have bonded Munster and Racing 92 since Ronan O’Gara began his coaching journey in Paris in 2013. Donnacha Ryan, Simon Zebo, and Mike Prendergast have since found their way to the Top 14 outfit while the relationship between the European rivals has also been strengthened on a deeper emotional level by the tragic and sudden death of Anthony Foley in the city i
Johann van Graan has rated fly-half JJ Hanrahan’s chances of facing Racing 92 on Sunday in Paris as 50/50 with the Munster boss preparing to decide between rookie Ben Healy and Rory Scannell as his starting number 10 in the absence of Joey Carbery.
One man’s setback appears to be an opportunity for a couple of his team-mates as Johnny Sexton’s likely absence from the start of the Six Nations seems to have opened the door for a pair of Munster stars to take centre-stage with Ireland in the coming weeks.
Ask any Munster supporter their thoughts on the Saracens personnel coming to Thomond Park this evening and they will take the matchday squad named by Mark McCall yesterday in a heartbeat. Ask the Munster coaching group the same question and they will not be taking anything for granted.
If JJ Hanrahan is looking for anyone to cuddle him up and tell him a bedtime story, he’s kidding himself. The Munster ten should have dropped that goal to secure an unlikely win against Racing 92 last Saturday (pictured below), but you know what? Daybreak broke on Sunday morning, and again Monday.