As­sets van Graan in­her­its

Irish Examiner - Sport - - CHAMPIONS CUP -

Af­ter an ab­sorb­ing but score­less first 60 min­utes, the game shifted gears as Conor Mur­ray charged down a Maxime Machenaud kick from the back of a Rac­ing scrum. The ric­o­chet sent the ball bob­bling to­wards the try­line, Mur­ray chas­ing and bril­liantly picked up off his boot­laces to touch down for the open­ing points, ex­cel­lently con­verted by Ian Keat­ley to put Mun­ster in the driv­ing seat for the fi­nal quar­ter. Back to win­ning ways for Mun­ster af­ter an open­ing-round draw at Cas­tres and a much-de­served win af­ter see­ing off a mas­sive Rac­ing pack in aw­ful con­di­tions. It was an arm wres­tle to savour, with Mun­ster grind­ing out the win, and per­haps that was a fit­ting way to pay trib­ute to Anthony Fo­ley as the prov­ince marked the first an­niver­sary of his sud­den death. Mun­ster loose­head Dave Kil­coyne earned the man of the match hon­ours in a for­wards-dom­i­nated game, the home scrum hold­ing its own against a mas­sive Rac­ing pack and Kil­coyne car­ry­ing the game to the French side in the sec­ond half in par­tic­u­lar as Mun­ster grew in con­fi­dence. JP Doyle had lit­tle con­tro­versy to deal with, not even need­ing the TMO’S in­volve­ment in a tight, arm wres­tle of a game. Mun­ster’s dis­ci­pline, such a let­down in pre­vi­ous weeks, was back on track although Ro­nan O’gara felt Rac­ing should have had a penalty from the last play of the game for a “bla­tant push in the back”. No ob­vi­ous in­jury is­sues for Mun­ster de­spite the phys­i­cal­ity of the con­test. Rac­ing lost fly-half Dan Carter early in the sec­ond half, the All Black hav­ing strug­gled with a calf is­sue all week. It’s back to the league for Mun­ster and a Guin­ness PRO14 derby at Con­nacht next Fri­day night. — Si­mon Lewis

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