11 Dec, 16:22
Anticipation is building in the Munster camp ahead of the second half of the crucial Heineken Cup double-header against Perpignan.
"Those were the days we didn’t have professionalism or the European Cup to look forward to so we just played our Interpros and you played the odd touring side. It was a game everybody wanted to play in because Australia were World Champions at the time having come off the World Cup and Bob Dwyer was bringing them over, so there was an air of apprehension about it really, not knowing what to expect, but great excitement."
Build up and support....
"It seemed to grow, it wasn’t the greatest of days, there was a big crowd there and it seemed to swell as the game went on, and people started to pour in as the game got tighter.
The Wallabies that year had been great, winning the World Cup, they called it the "Gold Rush" and they played fantastic rugby, Bob Dwyer was also a controversial enough character, and as a touring side they brought a swagger about them, and everybody was keen to see them in the flesh so certainly there was a big interest."
"The All Ireland League had kicked off and Munster clubs were dominating it at that stage and that gave us a belief in ourselves. There was a self belief that we knew how to manage a game and run a game, and to win pressure type games.
We’d a very strong side, I suppose all born and bred in the Munster tradition which was great, all home-grown fellas from the coaching staff to all the way through the players. We were from all walks of life, everybody worked and hopped into their cars to travel to Limerick or Cork or wherever to train and that was the way it was.
This was a huge opportunity for us to play in front of a big crowd against World Champions and just put it out there to see how good we were."
"Fights broke out alright, I was one of the younger players, but I think everybody was involved. I even think Richard Wallace was kicking their mascot at one stage! But the thing about it was rugby was a different game back then, we didn’t have citings we didn’t have cameras.
It was certainly as physical as it is today but there was more to it so you certainly had to be a bit streetwise about things and the Aussies bought into that as well. They were aggressive and in your face a little bit, and to an extent we had a pack that day that you didn’t mess with either, so it was going to fray at some stage particularly when it was so tight and they weren’t getting their own way and we gave as good as we got, and the rest is history really."
"There was a momentum building all the way through the match, the pack were superb, we put a lot of pressure on them on a difficult day and we just got a sense that maybe we wanted it a bit more.
We had super players, who didn’t necessarily go on and get any great honours afterwards but the likes of the Ger Earls and Ger Clohesseys and Derek Tobin, and Jim Galvin came into the side halfway through the game and had a huge effect on the outcome, dropped a great goal.
We got it to where we wanted it to be, it was a real Munster cup type environment, great crowd there, baying for blood to a certain extent and we got a sniff of it and we weren’t going to leave it go. It was all about pressure and who would crack first.
We won a great ball in the middle of the park and Derek Tobin threw it back, I banged it down the pitch, it bounced in, Ben Cronin won the lineout and Jim dropped the goal! Everybody was involved all the way through the game at some aspect of it and that was a great thing afterwards that everyone had a sense of ownership of what had gone on. It was kind of selfless stuff from everybody for the greater good."
Celebrations went on for a long time, it started straight after the game, and we were a bit late for the official festivities but it was something special on the day. We had all grown up in the legend of the All Blacks and the team in ‘78, and we just felt we added something to that Munster tradition and the Munster way to a certain extent."
"That’s the great thing about Munster, there’s a great inner confidence and belief that Munster can compete regardless of where they play or who they play against if they get it right mentally. I think it has always been a trademark of the side and the squad and with the professional era they have taken it to a whole new level.
Whoever goes onto the pitch and pulls on that jersey will try and leave something in it that stands testament to what’s gone before it."
Eighteen years later...
"I will be heading along to Thomond Park absolutely! I remember when I was finishing up Peter Stringer came up to me afterwards and told me he was a ball boy that day in Musgrave Park, so it's nice to see things have come full circle really. It will be great to go along this time and just enjoy watching the game!"
1992 Munster Team v Australia: Charlie Haly (Cork Constitution), Richard Wallace (Garryowen), Brian Walsh (Cork Constitution), Philip Danaher (Garryowen), Jack Clarke (Dolphin), Dan Larkin (Garryowen), Derek Tobin (Young Munster), Paul McCarthy (Cork Constitution), Terry Kingston (Dolphin, Captain), Peter Clohessy (Young Munster), Richard Costelloe (Garryowen), Mick Galwey (Shannon), Ger Clohessy (Young Munster), Ben Cronin (Garryowen), Ger Earls (Young Munster). Replacements used: J. Galvin (Shannon) for Larkin, E. O'Sullivan for Costelloe.
Munster play Australia for the ninth time on November 16th in Thomond Park at 8pm, show your support for what will surely be a night to remember! Buy tickets online here.