herald

Thursday 24 April 2014

Munster still have enough to derail monstrous Metro

RONAN O'GARA will not appeal the one-week ban he received for a petulant kick out at Edinburgh's Seán Cox in the Heineken Cup last weekend.

This may work out in coach Rob Penney's favour as the more attack-minded Ian Keatley will, knowing exactly what they have to do to gain entry into the last eight of Europe.

It feels like a long time ago, 2006 and 2008 to be more precise, when Munster ruled Europe with an iron fist. They would brook no argument when it really mattered.

But, they are not the force of old.

The old guard has receded into the shadows of retirement and long-term injury. The new guard has not quite taken on the mantle.

If ever there was a year when Paul O'Connell was expected to carry the club on his shoulders, this was it. He has been lost to a bulging disc injury. How it has hurt the province.

Penney has been caught between the two stools of change and keeping to the status-quo when Munster ruck, maul and make their way forward slowly, surely.

That has been their way, to make metres while making the opposition pay the price of pain by putting their bodies on the line.

Munster bodies will be hurled into contact with little or no respect for the physical outcome against what is a monstrous Racing Metro.

The main question centres around whether the French will be committed to meet fire with fire or take the easy option to meet firewood with fire.

MUNSTER v RACING METRO

SUNDAY, SKY SPORTS 2, KO 12.45

Verdict: Munster

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