Munster v The World: 5 memorable matches 8 years ago

Munster v The World: 5 memorable matches

Munster have a history of raising their game against major touring sides, the most famous victory of all coming against New Zealand in 1978.

By Conor Hogan

Their record against Australia has been particularly good over the years, as they have picked up three wins – the last coming in 1992.

As Munster will be facing off against Australia tonight, JOE has decided to take a look back at five of Munster’s most memorable performances against touring nations.

1967 Musgrave Park - Munster 11-8 Australia

Munster’s previous meetings with Australia were a narrow 6-5 loss in Mardyke in 1947 and a 3-3 draw in Thomand Park in 1958. The province, then captained by Tom Kiernan, finally managed a victory nine years later, on 25 January 1967.

Their 11-8 victory was the first that any Irish provincial team had achieved against a major touring nation. Munster often seem to put it up to Australia when the two sides meet. In 1976, they were only narrowly defeated in Musgrave Park 15-13, before picking up another famous victory in 1981 by 15-6.

1973 Musgrave Park - Munster 3-3 New Zealand

In a low scoring match, Munster came within a whisker of defeating the All-Blacks for the first time. In fact, New Zealand needed a last minute penalty from TJ Morris to equalise with the Irish province in dramatic fashion. The previous meetings between the two sides had all finished in New Zealand victories – a 33-0 victory in Limerick in 1905, and two 6-3 wins in 1954 and 1963.

1978 Thomond Park - Munster 12-0 New Zealand

In undoubtedly the most famous match in the history of Munster Rugby, the Irish province managed to do what no other Irish team has ever done – defeat the All-Blacks. Christy Cantillon was the try scorer for Tom Kiernan’s team, while Tony Ward scored two drop goals and a conversion.

New Zealand were incredibly kept scoreless, and winger Stu Wilson famously said after the match: “We were lucky to get nil.” The match inspired John Breen’s play Alone it Stands and the Alan English book Stand Up and Fight: When Munster Beat the All Blacks.

1992 Musgrave Park - Munster 22-19 Australia

When the Wallabies arrived at Musgrave Park in 1992, they came as reigning World Champions having defeated England at Twickenham in the final of the Rugby World Cup. Ireland were far from fancied, but managed to defeat Australia 22-19 in a particularly physical encounter after which Australia coach Bob Dwyer branded prop Peter Clohessy ‘a disgrace’.

It was Munster’s third win against Australia in five encounters, and among those in the starting line up was Ger Earls, father of none other than current Munster utility player Keith. "Hopefully the fact that Keith's father played on a Munster side which beat the Wallabies in '92 is a good omen,” Tony McGahan, Munster coach has said. “We will be looking to everything we can gather and put into that. If the Earls name and Earls factor comes into that, it will be brilliant.”

2008 Thomand Park - Munster 16-18 New Zealand

The 30th Anniversary of Munster’s victory at Thomond Park was a magnificent occasion. The provinces’ four New Zealand players contributed the ferocious atmosphere before the match by performing the haka before the All Blacks (see below). Barry Murphy scored a try in the first half (the only one New Zealand conceded in their entire tour).

Paul Warwick scored two penalties, a drop goal and a conversion and an upset seemed to be on the cards with Munster leading 16-13 with only four minutes to go. Blues winger Joe Rokocoko scored a late try, however, as the All Blacks sneaked victory 18 points to 16.