Tuesday, October 21, 2008
In one of the more enjoyable games of the weekend, title holders Munster fought off a brave fight back as they picked up the 24-16 away win over Sale Sharks on Sunday in the Heineken Cup.
New Zealander Lifeimi Mafi had a standout game as he continued to impress in the Munster midfield. His 40th minute hit was that of legend. Not because it looked overly spectacular, but because it was absolutely bonejarring, on a far bigger man.
A brilliant breakout run from another Kiwi, Luke McAlister, saw him glide downfield before popping a neat little inside pass to his support.
The ball was recycled and a rampaging Frenchman named Sebastian Chabal was stopped dead in his tracks as Mafis rib tickler left the The Caveman on his knees, puffing in the big ones.
Coach Tony McGahan was full of praise for the manner in which the team, and particularly Mafi, defended.
"He pulled off a couple of real turning points, we got turnovers on the back of them and we gathered momentum and it had a real focus for us."
Unfortunately Mafis second big tackle, as featured here, was deemed illegal as he lifted and dropped the Sale replacement. The technique initially was spot on and looked great, but he was warned for the manner in which he dumped him.
In the last ten minutes of the game, Mafi was yellow carded for a high tackle on Matthew Tait that could probably be best described as a stiffarm. In isolation he may have gotten away with staying on the field, but the ref cited his earlier warning as reason enough to send him to the cooler for the remainder of the game.
Lifeimi Mafi hates it when referees get in his way