Tuesday, November 18, 2008
All eyes will be on Thomond Park tonight as Munster host the All Blacks, 30 years after their famous 12-0 victory over the tourists from New Zealand. The match itself, while not featuring both first teams, will be an occasion not to be missed.
The VIP list includes Bono, Michael Flatley, Padraig Harrington, Jonah Lomu, and of course, the heroes from the side that won in 1978, who themselves will be presented to the capacity crowd pre kick-off.
The frontline internationals from both sides wont be on show unfortunately, as this match is scheduled a mere 3 days after the big test match between the two countries.
We all know what a second All Black team is as good as most countries first teams though, and Munster themselves, despite missing key man Ronan OGara, will field a highly competitive side.
It will be an interesting night for Kiwis Doug Howlett, Rua Tipoki, and Lifemi Mafi, who will all standup to the Haka for probably the first and last time.
Howlett, is realistic about the challenge and mindful of the history of game.
"We are certainly depleted with the internationals not being in the team. But we will work with what we have got," he said. "It's one of those one-off occasions that will never come around again. It's always been in the back of my head since I came to Ireland the possibility of playing the All Blacks.
"You look at the history of the All Blacks and there is that blemish that cropping up," the All Blacks leading try-scorer added.
The Munster win on October 31 1978 against a near full-strength New Zealand team in one of the most sensational defeats in All Black history.
All Blacks wing Bryan Williams recalls that day: "Looking back we were very complacent and we certainly paid the price. It became apparent pretty early on that Munster were really fired up. And they weren't going to take any prisoners. The longer the game went on, the worse we became. They realised they were in with a shot and we were struggling to pull ourselves together."
Weve got done something a little different on this one, and featured two clips here instead of one. The first is of the famous Christy Cantillon try from the match 30 years ago. The second, is an dramatic preview for tonight, building up to the momentous occasion that is anticipated to be another special night in the history of rugby.
Note: Read more about the famous win here