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Victory was within grasp but Munster satisfied with bonus point

European Champions Cup, Pool 4, Round 5:
Racing 92 34pts, Munster 30pts
LET’S hope Munster will not regret letting victory slip through their fingers in the U Arena in Paris today. Castres showed little mercy this evening when they had an impressive 30+points victory over Leicester Tigees and they may want to finish on a high when they come to Thomond Park next week-end.
Racing started predictably in the Paris game, Yannick Nyanga forcing his way over for a try after three minutes and Machenaud adding the points for a 7-0 lead. The same player kicked a penalty on nine minutes to increase the lead to 10-0 but Munster settled, their pack showing their strength and Jean Klein used his lengthy reach to touch the ball on the whitewash and Keatley reduced the lead to 10-7 with the conversion.
The Munster outhalf then hit the upright with a close-in penalty chance and four minutes before the break, Conor Murray knocked more paint off the same upright with a penalty kick from distance. A bit of indiscipline by captain Peter O’Mahony saw a penalty decision increased by another ten metres and Machenaud obliged with his second three pointer to send the sides in at the break 13-7 to Racing.
It was a thrilling game and a try from left wing Marc Andreu increased the home lead to 18-7 but Keith Earls then hit a purple patch, scoring a brilliantly taken individual try and Keatley kicking the conversion to make it 18-14. Chris Farrell burst through a few minutes later for Munster try number three, again converted by Keatley, to make it 18-21 in favour of the visitors. The scores kept coming, Machenaud’s penalty levelling it 21-21, a brace of Keatley penalties pushing Munster 21-27 to the good but the Reds then suffered a lineout lapse at a crucial time of the game, conceding a gift try from a lineout with 18 minutes remaining, replacement hooker Dimitri Szarzewski running in and Macheraud’s conversion putting Racing back in the lead at 28-27.
It was nail-biting stuff from there to the final whistle. Conor Murray was called up to chance his luck with a penalty chance on 67 minutes but pulled it wide, six minutes later he got another chance and this time he put his side 28-30 in front. The re-start fell Racing’s way, Donnacha Ryan giving chase to win the ball and force another home penalty that Machenaud kicked to bring the score to 31-30 and when Ian Keatley kicked wildly cross field into the hands of a Racing player, a penalty was awarded and Machenaud’s kick sent the French fans home happy with a 34-30 win that, at least keeps interest in their visit to Welford Road next week-end.
Racing 92: Louis Dupichot; Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Henry Chavancy, Marc Andreu; RĂ©mi Tales, Maxime Machenaud (c); Eddy Ben Arous, Camille Chat, Ben Tameifuna, Donnacha Ryan, Edwin Maka, Yannick Nyanga, Wenceslas Lauret, Leone Nakarawa
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Vasil Kakovin, Cedate Gomes Sa, Baptiste Chouzenoux, Boris Palu, Xavier Chauveau, Benjamin Dambielle, Joe Rokocoko
Munster Rugby: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (c), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue, James Hart, JJ Hanrahan, Alex Wootton.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England), Assistant ref: Christopher Ridley (England), Assistant ref: Roy Maybank (England), TMO: Rowan Kitt (England), Citing Commissioner: Douglas Hunter (Scotland)

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