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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

Racing will hope their cultivated club mentality will help in their 'daunting' trip to Thomond Park

Players at the Parisienne club have bought into the jersey, which might bring some consistency back when they need it.

Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

RACING 92 WILL travel to Thomond Park this weekend for Champions Cup action, sitting 10th in the French Top14 league, with a disappointing five losses in nine matches. 

Despite not necessarily bringing form, however, former Leinster and Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman believes the Racing players have cultivated a bond for the club that will help them fight tooth and nail when things aren’t going their way.

Speaking on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, the former Grenoble head coach pointed out how the club mentality they have isn’t the norm in France.

“They also have got a real bond to the club. Which is kind of unusual for French players. You could say it’s because Jacky [Lorenzetti] looks after them pretty well, but they are probably the best club in terms of giving long-term contracts. Looking after players.”


Jackman pointed to the likes of Yannick Nyanga and Dimitri Szarzewski, former players who have taken up staff positions at the club since hanging up their boots. 

“They don’t want to leave Racing. Which is unusual. There’s a real club sense. Particularly in Paris because it’s so easy to be anonymous in Paris. And that’s the thing. If you play for Castres or Lyon and you lose a Top14 at home, your week is going to be hell. You go down to the Carrefour, there’s people giving you abuse.

“Whereas in Paris, that doesn’t happen. You can pretty much leave your kitbag in the dressing room and go have your weekend as you like.”

As they travel to face Munster, Jackman says that this bond might bring back a level of consistency to the group, although when it comes to fighting for a badge, Munster will more than hold their own in that regard. 

“[Racing] have built this club identity where performance and respect and consistency is really important to the group. And they want to win things together and they want to represent the club and themselves in a really good light.

“When you have that there’s always a chance that they’re going to be more consistent and not shy away from how daunting Thomond Park will be. You know a lot of French teams come to Thomond Park and they’ve lost when they land in Shannon.

“I remember years ago Nathan Hines was playing for Perpignan. He’d just left Leinster and I remember ringing him the morning of the match just to see were they up for it or whatever.

“And he was like: ‘Oh the lads have no interest. They’re even giving out that about the bananas. The bananas in Limerick are shite.’

“So you know their heads are gone if a banana in Limerick tastes worse than a banana in Perpignan. But that won’t happen this weekend. If Munster beat Racing it’ll be on merit, you would have to say.”

Murray Kinsella and Bernard Jackman join Gavan Casey in studio to preview the second weekend of Champions Cup action

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