Munster 21-21 Racing 92: Honours even in Heineken Champions Cup thriller
|Heineken Champions Cup: Munster v Racing 92|
|Munster (11) 21|
|Tries: Earls, Conway Con: Hanrahan Pens: Hanrahan 3|
|Racing 92 (14) 21|
|Tries: Russell, Thomas, Imhoff Cons: Iribaren 3|
Andrew Conway's 75th-minute converted try gave Munster a dramatic draw against Racing 92 in a pulsating Champions Cup encounter in Limerick.
Wonderful scores from Finn Russell and Teddy Thomas put Racing ahead before Keith Earls crossed for Munster on the stroke of half-time.
Juan Imhoff's 49th-minute try looked like it might be the decisive score but Conway crossed to level late on.
JJ Hanrahan missed a last-minute drop goal as Munster sought to snatch a win.
The Irish province will be the more relieved side to have secured two points having spent most of the game behind.
While a draw at Thomond Park against a team who have reached the last four of the competition in the last two seasons is no bad result, Racing will rue their inability to put further points on the board between Imhoff's try and Conway's score five minutes from the end.
Scintillating Racing hit the front
Billed as Simon Zebo's return to Thomond Park following the Irish full-back's move from Munster to Racing at the beginning of last season, the game will be remembered for some sensational tries from both sides.
After Hanrahan kicked Munster ahead inside 10 minutes, Russell produced the game's first moment of magic, making the most of a penalty advantage to collect his own grubber kick and score between the posts.
Ten minutes later, after another Hanrahan penalty, more flair from the Racing backs created another opening, this time for France wing Russell who dinked the ball over Mike Haley and strode over the line.
Munster kept chipping away and were rewarded in the 40th minute as they moved the ball out left for Earls to dive over in the corner.
Hanrahan, in for the injured Tyler Bleyendaal, was again accurate with the tee to bring Munster level seven minutes after the restart.
However the parity lasted only two minutes as Russell broke free before offloading to Imhoff who showed searing pace to restore Racing's lead.
As Munster toiled for another score, they moved into Racing territory but came up against some impressive defending, with Imhoff dislodging the ball from Conway's grasp as the hosts bulldozed their way into the 22.
The breakthrough eventually came as Conway collected a long Hanrahan pass to score, with the Munster fly-half landing a tricky touchline conversion to pull the scores level once more.
Having regained possession with the clock ticking down, the Thomond Park crowd sensed the opportunity to grab what would have been a brilliant win, however when the decisive moment came, Hanrahan sent his drop goal from just inside the 22 left of the posts.
Munster: Haley; Conway, Farrell, R Scannell, Earls; Hanrahan, Murray; Loughman, N Scannell, Ryan, Kleyn, Beirne; O'Mahony, O'Donoghue, Stander.
Replacements: O'Byrne, Cronin, Archer, Holland, Wycherley, Mathewson, Goggin, Botha.
Racing 92: Zebo; Thomas, Vakatawa, Chavancy, Imhoff; Russell, Iribaren; Ben Arous, Chat, Gomes Sa, Ryan, Bird; Lauret, Palu, Claassen.
Replacements: Baubigny, Kolingar, Oz, Sanconnie, Tanga Mangene, Gilbert, Volavola, Dulin.