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Published: 11:22 | 22/4/18

Van Graan: Munster must enjoy semi-final

Johann Van Graan has admitted his Munster players must "enjoy it" when they take on Racing 92 in the second European Rugby Champions' Cup semi-final in Bordeaux on Sunday.

Having watched their provincial rivals Leinster storm into the final on Saturday by destroying Scarlets 38-16 in a one-sided affair in Dublin, the southern province are looking to follow suit to set up the dream all-Ireland decider in Bilbao next month.

With large numbers of fans expected to make the trip to south western France, Munster won't necessarily feel as if they are playing away from home and this could be a decisive factor in what is expected to be a tight contest, and you can watch all the action live on the eir Sport pack on BT Sport 3 [kick-off 3.15pm Irish time].

Despite the pressure his side will be under to progress to the final, Munster boss Van Graan want his players to embrace the challenge.

"This is a special club with special people," he said. "I can't stress enough the players and management really want to do it and I believe we can.

"The main thing I've learnt from semi-finals is that you have got to embrace the expectation. You've got to enjoy it, it's such a massive game. It's 80 minutes away, then you play in a Champions Cup final in Spain.

"If you fall short there's no second place. It's all or nothing, but again that's why you want to be part of this."

Racing out-half Dan Carter, who is hanging up his boots at the end of this season after an illustrious career, feels the French side will need to be at their best to get past the two-time winners.

"They're a class side, well drilled, so we're going to have to pull something special out in the semi-final if we're going to advance into the final," he said.

"It's huge - not only for me, but for the team. I love having history and doing things that no teams have done before. 

"If you look back at Racing 92's history and how rare it is to make a final in Europe, we were lucky enough to do it a couple of years ago, so we'd love to go one step further.

"[But] we realise that we can't look too far ahead. We've got quality opposition in front of us, so we'll enjoy this moment and make sure that we continue to work hard to give ourselves the best chance to make the final." 

Munster face Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup semi-final at the Stade Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux on Sunday, 22 April, live on BT Sport 3 on the eir Sport pack [kick-off 3.15pm Irish time]

Image: Inpho/Gary Carr

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