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'Rassie always preaches 'play what you see', even if it's on your own try-line' -- Keatley

The Munster out-half backed his skill-set on a tough night in Galway.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MUNSTER OUT-HALF Ian Keatley says Rassie Erasmus has given them licence to have a go if they sniff an opportunity is on during a game.

The 29-year old, who has played in all but two of Munster’s 16 games this season, was the hero at the Sportsground at the weekend when he masterminded victory over his former side Connacht.

Keatley set up the only try of the game in atrocious conditions with an audacious cross-field kick from behind his own line, while he then wrapped up the win with a drop goal which put 10 points between the sides and copper-fastened Munster’s lead at the top of the Pro12 table.

But Keatley, now in his fifth season with Munster where he has accumulated 1,034 points, said that the South African has encouraged his men to have a go.

Rassie always preaches to play what you see, even if it’s on your own try-line.

“I saw the space, kicked to the space and it was a great take by Conway. That led us up the pitch and we put them under pressure and mauled over.

“We’ve lost at the Sportsground in the last two years coming up here. We know how good Connacht are, champions last year. They’re a phenomenal threat from their attacking game so we put in good plans to nullify that and it worked.”

Keatley, linked with a move to France at the end of the season with reports indicating that Grenoble and Bayonne are interested, had no hesitation in going for the drop-goal which wrapped up the win 11 minutes from the end.

“I work hard on my kicking. I’ve done a lot of work on my drop-goals. Sometimes you don’t get to use them, but it was nice leverage to put 10 points between us and make them go for a kick rather than a try,” added the four times capped Irish international.

Now Munster will look to continue that good form into Europe when they head to Paris for the first of two Champions Cup games against Racing 92 in three weeks.

Ian Keatley and Ronan O'Gara Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

In between, Munster will head to Glasgow for a showdown with Gregor Townsend’s men, but it looks like Thomond Park will be full when Ronan O’Gara returns there in the opposing camp for the first time.

Munster yesterday confirmed that over 20,000 tickets have been sold for the January 21 concluding pool game when they hope to seal a quarter-final place in the Champions Cup for the first time in three years.

Munster went unbeaten in 2016 at Thomond Park and with five capacity crowds at the Limerick venue already this season, they will be hoping that victory in Paris this weekend will set them up for a pool decider against the French champions in just over two weeks.

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