Munster 16 — All Blacks 18

Is Munster the best team in the world to follow?

Well, let me put it to you this way: do you know of another team where every man will put his body on the line rather than disappoint the supporters? 

Where every man will fight to the death for his team-mates? 

And as Mick Galwey once put it, where every last supporter in the ground is ready to pull on the Munster shirt and line out alongside them if needed?


(Pic by C’est la Craic)



This is a phenomenon you won’t see often.  Last night was an experience we should all savour, because it revealed so much of the honest human spirit, and even though it ended with a victory for the All Blacks, it was by a thin margin and turned on the bounce of a ball.

The New Zealand players were rattled by a Munster team running on raw pride and last night’s game was a contest of equals.  I looked at Peter Stringer last night after the final whistle blew, and I saw a man who never for one second feared the greatest team in the world.  I saw a man fit to scream with frustration.  I saw Doug Howlett and Mick O Driscoll and Barry Murphy and all the rest of them, utterly unfazed by the name or the reputation of our visitors, and I saw a bunch of players emotionally shattered that they had let the prize slip away at the last second.

But I also saw the Munster crowd stand and applaud them and I heard the crowd roar defiance and pride as the players limped off, bruised and battered and holding back the tears.

If it’s about passion, it’s also about respect, as some ill-mannered visitors learn in this little clip:

Goddamit, why am I asking if this is the best team in the world?  Why would I ask a question like that?

Of course it is.  Where else would you get it?

I read a comment on one of the boards that summed it all up.  In 1978, the supporters walked away from Thomond Park amazed that Munster won. In 2008 they walked away amazed that Munster lost.

That says it for me.

I was proud of our team last night, and I was proud of our supporters.  I was proud of our town and our stadium and our spirit. 

Most of all, I was proud of people like my son, who wiped away tears, not of disappointment, but of rage that we didn’t dispose of the mighty All Blacks.

Two Hakas:




Commemorative Photo



Also on Bock: Munster versus All Blacks

New Zealand:

The Moodie Report



Otago Daily Times


New Zealand Herald

Rugby Heaven



23 thoughts on “Munster 16 — All Blacks 18

  1. It’s not the winning or losing it’s the taking part. I deserve a kick in the balls for that sentence. I don’t even like rugby but this evening got me excited. The xfactor that makes an occasion like munster vs all blacks is the passion of the fans such as your youngfella. When you turn and see men unashamedly with tears streaming down there face with rage or pride or any other emotion that an event like this can draw from you, then you can be sure you’ve witnessed something special.

  2. I was there 30 years ago and I was there again yesterday and both times Munster done us proud.
    Yesterday was an absolute beauty of a match, the atmosphere was unlike any match I’ve been to in recent years.
    Both sides fought tooth and nail and in my view they both won.
    This should be an annual thing, Munster v The All Blacks Nov 2009 and so on.

    The feeling from both sides of the stadium would give goose bumps to even the most avid non rugby fan, from the minute silence for Shane Geoghegan the Air corps delivering the ball to the All Blacks applauding Munster and Thomond Park after a very close 2 point win.

    I’m proud to be from the capital of Irish rugby and proud to call Munster our own.

  3. Probably the greatest sporting occasion of my life. Great teams, great world class stadium, the most knowledgeable rugby fans and a wonderful match. After the horrific recent events, it felt great to be proud of my city again. “Would nt it be great if it was always like this”?

  4. A night to remember and one where everything good and decent about the people of this city shone through.

    Immensely proud of the spirit shown by the team and how marvellous the support was.

    The acclaim of the All Blacks to the Thomond Park crowd at the end was lump in the throat stuff. Of course they’ll come back, it must seem like a little bit of home to them and they’ll find no better welcome anywhere.

  5. A game played by thousands.I have never experienced anything like the emotion of last night.Isn’t it great to be famous again for all the right reasons?

  6. I took my son to meet the All Blacks before they went to Wales each one commented on how special last night was and it was also said by more than one player that was the most amazing atmosphere they had ever experienced ahead of any games back home.
    dont it make you proud
    and everyone of them signed my young fellas shirt special recognition must go to Keven Mealamu a true gent he took a good while out to sit and chat to the boy who was over the moon….. special times are made by special people cheers Keven

  7. Liam — You’ll come round yet.

    Tango — Damn right!

    Big D — I agree with you. It was a great match and a great occasion.

    John Wayne — It was magnificent and a fitting way to honour Shane’s memory. I could think of a few ways to improve it, such as throwing certain people into the crowd, but as this is a post about rugby I won’t say any more.

    Hoof — I think the ABs knew they’d been in a tough match, and it was a terrific gesture that they came back out to salute the crowd.

    Muke Taker — This is how it’s supposed to be.

    Fan — Indeed they are.

    La Ola — So you went to the hotel? I’d say some of those guys were stiff and sore.

    By the way, I’m not sure if Brian O Driscoll thinks Keven is a nice guy!

  8. It was an honour to be one of the 250,000 present (as it eventually will be) in Thomond Park last night. Incredible match, incredible occasion.

    I’m encoding my video footage for YouTube right now. I was on the 10 metre line in the West Terrace, so got some good stuff. I’ll post a link to it when it’s done.

  9. Bock,

    Regular reader, first time commenter.

    Not being a particular rugby fan and a Leinster resident I tuned in last night to watch Limerick, Munster and it’s sons in their finest hour. Against a backdrop of history, recent tragedy and the economic doom and gloom, and from the first moment of coverage – the night was a spectacle of pride, glory and promise.

    Your pride in Limerick and in the Munster team was shared here in the Pale and yesterday we were all Munster men and proud (at least in our house!). Well done all. A finer spectacle of people and sport won’t be seen this year.

    Eagle M.

  10. “Is Munster the best team in the world to follow?”




    If one needs a team to follow then it is Munster.

    Munster did not lose.

    Statistics are what they are.

    Statistics do not account for Spirit.


    What’s this edit thing ~ 3 minutes and 01 seconds?
    Very odd ~ No?

  11. I have it on good authority, Bock, that the only reason the All Blacks won was that they were all carrying a little piece of Kryptonite. That’s the only reason.

  12. I missed the start of the match on the telly the other night so your posting of ‘the 2 hakas’ here is much appreciated. I’m sitting here in tears so I have no concept of what it must have been like there and then. Fantastic post Bock.

  13. Thankgoodness for Setanta airing way out west. Only saw a bit (towards the end)of this match, though. :(
    I’ll always tune in for Munster or the All Blacks. Drat that I missed most of this one.

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