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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

'It will have an impact' - Munster and Racing to do battle in scorching weather

It’s set to hit 27°C in Bordeaux tomorrow.

Murray Kinsella reports from Stade Chaban Delmas, Bordeaux

WITH THE TEMPERATURE set to hit 27°C in time for kick-off tomorrow, Racing 92 and Munster are readying themselves to play in testing conditions [KO 3.15pm Irish time, BT Sport].

The weather in Bordeaux is a delight for the visiting fans – including somewhere in the region of 8,000 Munster supporters – but it is more of a concern for the teams involved in this Champions Cup semi-final.

Donnacha Ryan Donnacha Ryan during Racing's captain's run this afternoon. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Players like Virimi Vakatawa, Keith Earls, Teddy Thomas and Andrew Conway are sure to enjoy the firm surface underfoot, but the heat will ensure that this fascinating match-up is very much a test of endurance too.

“Yes, it’s something we’ll have to take into account,” said Racing coach Laurent Travers after his side’s extremely relaxed captain’s run at Stade Chaban Delmas this afternoon.

“Heat is one of the factors and it will have an impact, especially towards the end of the match. We’ll have to deal with it and I hope there will be a water break so that the players are able to recover.

“But whether it’s sunny, windy or rainy, it’s the same for both teams anyway and they will have the same problem.”

Interestingly, Racing feel that Munster will look to use the conditions to their advantage, rather than being worried by the scorching heat.

“We know the Irish will want to put a lot of speed into the game and we will have to handle that and then take into account the heat,” said Racing scrum-half Maxime Machenaud.

“It’s clear that the bodies will tire and it’s going to be a very intense match but we’re aware of that. That’s just sport.”

Teddy Thomas and Maxime Machenaud Teddy Thomas and Maxime Machenaud at Stade Chaban Delmas. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It will be a difficult afternoon for the big forwards in particular, with Racing making the surprise decision to leave heavyweight tighthead prop Ben Tameifuna out of their matchday 23, despite having been a starter all season.

“We’re used to playing in 22 degrees at the U Arena [in Paris] but the temperature will be higher and there won’t be any air conditioning,” said replacement hooker Dimitri Swarzewski.

“It’s going to be hot.”

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Murray Kinsella

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