Munster’s comeback victory praised as ‘better than the miracle match’

Munster’s incredible comeback victory against Clermont Auvergne has been praised as “better than the miracle match” when the southern province hammered Gloucester back in 2003.

Johann van Graan’s side looked dead and buried at the Stade Marcel Michelin after conceding four tries in the opening 25 minutes and trailing by 19 points.

The Reds staged a remarkable comeback however, claiming an invaluable 39-31 win away to the French giants.

The Munster head coach insisted that he always believed his team could win, despite the disastrous opening 25 minutes.

“We definitely thought we could win, we came here to win, we didn’t come here to get a bonus point and the message at half-time was that ‘if we believe in our plan and stick to the process we will win this game’.”

“I asked the 23 guys to stick to what we do, we spoke a lot in the week and credit to the players because they believed until the final second of this game.

“What we have done over the last six or seven months and all the work we’ve put in over lockdown, all the fitness we have done and small tweaks to our plan gave us belief.

“If you look at the tries they scored, we gave them some easy tries, the first one from kick-off and then the yellow card, which resulted in a penalty try.

“We left a lot of opportunities out there in the first half but we knew if we kept running hard we would get line-breaks and that try from Mike Haley was a good example. It’s an excellent win from our side,” van Graan told Sky Sports.

‘I’m genuinely elated at this’

Former Munster player Duncan Casey called the result “better than the miracle match” in which the Reds somehow beat Gloucester by the near-impossible margin of 27 points to qualify for the Heineken Cup quarter finals in 2003.

“It’s sacrilege to say, but that’s a better performance than the miracle match for me. Coming from 19 points down, away from home, against legitimately one of the strongest sides in Europe and title contenders, is an amazing feat. I’m genuinely elated at this. Go on the lads,” Casey said.

Munster are now well-placed to qualify for this year’s quarter finals after winning their opening two Heineken Champions Cup fixtures.

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