Laurie Fisher and Tony McGahan
Laurie Fisher and Tony McGahan
The Oz Factor
11 November 2010, 1:17 pm
By Trish Drinan
Munster have not played Australia since 1996, however, there are more than a few connections between the Munster and Australian teams and management involved in next Tuesday's game.
While off the pitch the players and management will renew old acquaintances, all will be cast aside as the battle on the pitch ensues. We take a look at just some of the different connections below.....

Van Humphries who broke into the Australian squad this year at age 34 is a former Garryowen player. He came to the Limerick club for the 1997-98 season through a Garryowen connection in Australia and played second row for the season. While he didn't win any silverware, he did play in the AIL final against Shannon in 1998, which Shannon won 15-9. His former club mates recall a memorable moment when Van experienced hailstone for the first time during an AIL game against Blackrock at Stradbrook. Incidentally, Van was coached by Munster's Tony McGahan while playing for IBM in Japan.

Current Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald was the coach of the Munster team that defeated the then World Champions Australia on October 21st 1992 in Musgrave Park. Peter Stringer was a ballboy at that famous victory.

Munster Squad Advisor Mick Galwey was a member of that 1992 winning team, and captaining the Australian side on that same day was David Nucifora, who is an Assistant Coach with Australia today. Mick Galwey went on to captain the 1996 Munster team that were defeated by Australia with current Munster Assistant coach Anthony Foley also in the side.

Munster Director of Coaching Tony McGahan is from Warwick in Queensland, a teacher by profession, he played Rugby Union (inside centre) with Queensland Schoolboys and Eastern Districts and Rugby League with Queensland U16's/19's, Australian Universities as well as professionally for two seasons with the Brisbane Broncos.

He taught and coached Paul Warwick at St. Joseph's Nudgee College, Brisbane. He also taught and coached current Australians Rocky Elsom and Richard Brown, and as mentioned earlier, coached Van Humphries in Japan at IBM. While at the Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane, he taught and coached David Pocock.

Tony joined Munster in February 2005 as Defence Coach, and the following season - with his role expanded to Defence/Backs/Skills Coach - played a central role in Munster securing their first ever Heineken Cup title along with Jim Williams.

Munster Forwards Coach Laurie Fisher was Head Coach to Super 14 ACT Brumbies from 2005 to 2008. He played representative rugby with Australian Universites, was coach to Australia A team (2007), Australian National University (1st Grade) and also coached the Australian Under 21's (2003/2004).

Laurie will be renewing a number of old acquaintances having either worked with and coached no less than 23 members of the Australian touring party. Laurie coached with Australian Assistant Coach David Nucifora at the Brumbies, and also played alongside him at Queensland University.

While at the Brumbies he also worked alongside Bob Egerton (Australia Team Manager), Warren McDonald (Team Doctor), and Nick Smith (Australia Team Media Manager). Laurie also coached 18 of current Australian squad either at the Brumbies, Australia A and Australia U21's including Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Mark Chisholm, Huia Edmonds, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Matt Giteau, Salesi Ma'afu, Luke Burgess, Drew Mitchell, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Dean Mumm, David Pocock, Lachlan Turner, Stephen Moore, Peter Hynes, Richard Brown and Rocky Elsom.

Munster's Paul Warwick was a pupil at St. Joseph's Nudgee College, Brisbane while Tony McGahan was on the staff as Coach and a teacher. Paul is a former Sevens international, playing alongside Adam Ashley-Cooper and Drew Mitchell.

Paul played with Van Humphries and Nathan Sharpe at the Queensland Reds. Paul counts Mark Chisholm as a good friend, having played against him at schoolboy level, and with him on the Australian U21 team. As a student of the famed Nudgee College, Paul was schoolmates with Rocky Elsom's older brother Sam and when he moved to Manly in Sydney, Paul played alongside Matt Hodgson.

For more Oz Connections, make sure to get your hands on the Munster v Australia Match programme next Tuesday night in Thomond Park.

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