hat a weekend for Irish rugby!
Munster welcomed the European powerhouse of Toulon to thomond Park. The unlimited cheque book, the classy players and the lack of travelling support showed up to face the injury ravaged but massively supported home side in the quarter finals of Europe’s premier club game.
I watched this game form the heart of Leinster; I was so close to the RDS that I could smell the lynx Africa and AmEx black cards. But we were shouting for Munster as if we were there. Because funnily enough banter aside, we all wanted Munster to win. We all enjoy the fighting spirit that Munster show when they show it and everyone loves to see a team that tried to pay its way to success get stuffed.
And that is what happened. A team that was willing to scrap for every point, every metre beat a team who expected to win. Toulon came in early and ploughed into Munster thinking it would be a victory and they would leave the red scoring zone with 3 instead of 7. Early doors this gave the home side confidence and they would come into the game as the visitors confidence receded much like my hairline.
It was great to see. Even with all of the injuries they were willing to really put themselves on the line in Thomond Park and that was the only thing that the pundits thought would happen going in. Thomond Park is a mythical place and when it goes right it goes very right. The crowd where in full voice and the players fed off it massively. There will be people who will go into proper detail on the technicalities of the win but at the end of the day, Munster wanted it more.
The only reason Andrew Conway produces that piece of magic late in the game is if he wants it more than the opposition and he did. An amazing score that will be a memory for anyone who say it live. Munster deserved the win and most everyone in Leinster where cheering them on.
The next day Leinster welcomed Saracens to Aviva stadium. Going in I thought Leinster would win comfortable and the scoreboard suggests that is the case but it wasn’t easy. The entire team stud up much like their western brothers and out bullied the bully team of England. Even with J10 was in for some late tackles and some cheeky off the ball activity, Leinster stood up and put Saracens back in their box with relative ease. For me Leavy, Ryan and Nacewa shone brightest in a very bright team effort. The marker is now down, if Leinster is within a score, you better put another one on the board or they will strangle you. Much like Ireland, Leinster is prolific in the championship minutes, that being the 10 before and 10 after half time. It would be worth checking how often they score in these minutes and it just demoralises the opposition.
A massive weekend for the 2 big Irish clubs. A tough day at the office for Connacht, they will have a better year next year with their new signings, but I am hoping they finish the league campaign strongly.
A fighting spirit shone through and a rugby dynasty continues to be built. Unreal positivity for Ireland.