Not since early memories of my first Munster support season on my Dad, Tom’s coat-tails when he was branch president in 1974, through the ‘nearly days’, the ‘glory days’ and implied ‘has been days’ can I recall so vividly a season like no other.
The outpouring of sadness following Anthony Foleys untimely passing when somehow in a week of mourning leading up to the opening champions cup match against Glasgow has the resolve of the players, trainers and supporters been tested and a new team shaped and hammered out on a blacksmiths anvil to once again ‘Stand Up and Fight’.
I was lucky enough to take an early interest in this Munster season watching them play a Worcester team in Musgrave Park on August last.
To see the Munster A conquer a Rotherham team in Ennis and an eye catching second half turnaround in the B&I final against the Jersey Reds.
I can safely say the Munster conveyor belt is switched on and motoring and a good few gems are shining through.
The vision of the coaching staff to drive and shape the squad, generously release players to clubs for All Ireland league matches has to be applauded and not to blame international injuries on the team performance is by Rassie Erasmus’s own philosophy “moan” about things, but where is the value? Is true to what Munster Rugby ‘Is’.
The trilogy of Thomond Park matches showed solidarity in round one against Glasgow, maturity against Leinster on St. Stephens day and player attrition against Toulouse in the quarter final.
The excitement of occasion and hunger against an all-conquering Saracens in Lansdowne road with the PRO 12 final still to come bodes well for the many rugby seasons ahead.
When in the last game of the previous season you have to beat the team to qualify for the Champions cup for the next season and have to play them for PRO 12 honours in the last game of this season, when your stalwart players retire or move on, your coach and legend player is promoted to heaven, you lose a European semi-final to the outright winners and end up top of the PRO 12 league back at the top table of European rugby then you have to say t’was ‘A Season like No Other’…
Scrum on Munster, ‘Stand up and Fight’ and thank you for sharing a remarkable season with us ...