Former Munster and Ireland prop Marcus Horan has said that you can’t expect a reaction from this current Munster side against Racing Metro on Sunday following Munster’s 25-14 defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium last weekend.
After starting the season with four wins from their first five games under new coach Rassie Erasmus, Munster slumped to their second defeat of the season against Leinster last Saturday and must now head to Paris to take on last season’s Top 14 champions and Champions Cup finalists Racing Metro.
Racing have just four wins from eight games this season in the Top 14 and, despite Munster’s strong start to the Pro 12 season, Horan has suggested that you can’t expect this current Munster side to immediately bounce back to form like Munster teams of old, and that this current group of players are still trying to get to grips with Erasmus’ new game plan.
“It’s hard because historically for us if we had a blip before a European game we had a reaction,” Horan told Pundit Arena.
“But I don’t think you can talk like that about this current group of players. With Munster at the moment it seems as if they are fairly focused on the game plan and what’s being brought into them.
“I think they were very, very frustrated last weekend that things didn’t go to plan so I think that the focus – while it still is another massive game – is to get those little things right and give themselves every opportunity in the game, because if you’re dropping ball and making little mistakes at this high level, you’re going to get found out.”
Horan is fully aware of the threat that Racing possess with the French giants boasting a litany of internationals including Brice Dulin, Joe Rokocoko, Juan Imhoff, Yannick Nyanga and Chris Masoe.
Racing made it to last season’s Champions Cup final where they were ultimately beaten by Mark McCall’s Saracens in a tense affair in Lyon, whereas Munster were unceremoniously dumped out at the competition’s pool stage with just three wins from six games.
This season Munster are placed in an even tougher pool that features the likes of 2015 PRO12 winners Glasgow, English giants Leicester Tigers, who defeated Munster twice last season, and Racing.
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The Red Army will be up against it just to qualify from a stacked Pool 1, but Horan is confident that they still have the talent to win a few games in this year’s tournament despite their lacklustre performance in Dublin last weekend.
“I think they need to try and get the process right but they do have the talent to get some good results if the process is right from the start,” Horan added.
“It can be a confidence thing if you’re trying to play under a new style or game plan, and one or two drop balls, if guys don’t react correctly to it, then it can be a long day at the office.”
Munster take on Racing from 3:15 pm on Sunday with the match being broadcast live on Sky Sports 2.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena
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