Munster triumphed in the last Magners League Grand Final, beating their Irish rivals, Leinster, 19-9. Here Rugby World looks back on an epic match and we reveal exactly why the Munstermen held the trophy aloft – the secrets of their success…..
Munster had a poor season by their standards in Europe, so this was their one chance of a trophy. That determination to lift silverware saw them close out many tight games in this campaign and as Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said: “Munster needed it more than we wanted it.”
Munster conceded just 23 tries in 24 Magners League games. They showed a real determination to stop teams crossing their line all season and were just as committed in the final, forcing Leinster to opt for penalties when they couldn’t convert their pressure into tries.
The week off Munster enjoyed after their semi-final proved crucial. Leinster looked out on their feet after their Heineken Cup final win seven days earlier and the men in red took advantage. “Fatigue was obviously a factor,” said Schmidt.
As ever the crowd at Thomond Park played like a 16th man, providing their team with the extra motivation to win this match. The effect of the Munster hordes, loud when needed and silent for kicks, shouldn’t be underestimated.
After six games without scoring a try against Leinster, Munster registered three in the final. They have a more rounded game plan now, attacking flair bolted onto forward grunt, and the intensity they played at brought rewards.
Images courtesy of Inpho