Henry and I are going to attempt to live-blog this game, though we’ll be talking around the game rather than about it. The above is a shot of Howlett doing the Haka, along with the other NZers in the side. It’s a nice touch.
The ABs look hungry to score from the kick off, Donald sending it down field after a fine run across field.
Munster are playing well, full of fire, and Donald and Tipoki nearly got into it off the back of a ruck.
There is something different about a UK crowd.
(Munster just went up 3-0 with a penalty)
Anyway, I think it comes from the Football fanatacism (3-3 now) but the crowds there just seems to be a dependance on every twist and turn of the game. At times you think it’s too much for the microphones to handle.
I was about to write that this looks a real contest, when the AB’s loosies came crashing through, but in some ways this Munster side looks more passionate and together than the Irish side. Given that the national sides in the Northern hemisphere have far less time together than the All Blacks, you get the feeling that they might prove a sterner test than Ireland, given the relative weakness of this AB side vs the test team.
Abs just tooled a fine attacking opportunity by throwing a pass over the sideline. Maybe a little too eager to set the tone.
ABs scrum penalised, got Macintosh for pushing.
I love these commentator terms like “winning culture”. (6-3) The idea that winning can be inherent in not just the way a team plays but the way they operate on a day-to-day level. Winning can become a habit though and once a team has they it can become hard to convince them otherwise.
HUGE drop goal for the Irish. Insane. 9-3. This is a team that looks like it compete at any level on any stage.
Filipo’s having a big game, tackling like a maniac and ominpresent in support.Hammers Howlett.
Donald finishes off a long period of AB possession, including a break by Toeava, with the first try of the match. Commentators having a lot of fun with Irish repectful silences. Donald converts his own try, 10-9 All Blacks.
ABs seem energised by the try, Jane makes a nice jinking run that Waldrom snuffs out by running away from his support. Forwards, man. Abs retain it, in good position here. Repeated advantages for the ABs.
Knock on, so Donald gonna slot the easy penalty. French referee is having a pretty sound game.
BAAA. Put the mockers on him, Donald misses a sitter. Remains 10-9.
I love it how they sing over there.
There is a slowness and deliberateness to the northern hemisphere game. While they seem to have few obvious weaknesses it is harder to see the possibilities of explosive changes of momentum (or even tries).
Munster playing extremely well, connecting multiple phases…
From a strong 5m scrum they roll forward, then spread it wide to a thin All Black short side defence and Murphy crosses untouched in the right hand corner. Warwick converts for 16-10, this is the best match of the tour, and Munster are showing no fear.
Corey Jane’s having a strong game, one of a number of All Blacks who seem to be revelling in looking like dodgy panel beaters from Henderson (Thomson with that terrifying ‘tache, Weepu and his rat’s tail).
“The All-Blacks have fundamentally gone nowhere”
A try each, Munster two penalty kicks up. If the uniforms were obscured, it would be impossible to tell the top team in the world from the Province.
Though I think this idea about the provinces needs a look at. Thinking of a provincial rugby teams brings up images of scrappy tradesmen battling it out on the weekends. Obviously this is no longer the case. This Munster team is a well-oiled machine, playing tough unwaivering rugby. Sponsored by the second biggest sports shoe company in the world, playing in a stadium that could house a Pink Floyd concert these are not the provinces of the past.
Particularly in the Northern Hemisphere I think franchises is the more appropriate term, especially given the Italians and New Zealanders peppering the side.
Maybe a commenter can answer this, but why is the Munster loss 30 years ago held in such high regard? As the Herald pointed out earlier in the week, the ABs have lost to plenty of provinces over the years, including their heaviest ever defeat, against Sydney (?) in 1990.
OK the All Blacks look harder and stronger after the break, MacIntosh just messed up what should’ve been a certain try, but there will be more pressure in this half. Hansen definitely looked like he wasn’t finding the scoreline nearly as amusing as Nisbett, Johnson and Mexted.
Scrum on the Munster line, ABs look very threatening, but Munster composed as hell, Stringer (who’s having a blinder) clears. ABs win an easy line out and threatening on the 22. Tipoki’s penalised t the ruck, Donald is lining it up dead in front.
This time he makes no mistake. This respectful silence thing is incredible, very unnerving. I heard Grant Fox say on Radio Sport earlier in the week that he missed his first ever kick on Irish soil because he was shaking so much, unable to mentally absorb the silence and its implications, for the first time aware of the sheer volume of eyes on him.
Clutch tackle. NZ are showing their dominance post-half. But Munster are never going to make this easy for anyone.
Here we go. Bit of biffo never goes astray in a 3 point game. Kind of weird how they threw a few punches and then pat each other on the back.
Here we go. Penalty opportunity to level the score.
MISS. Man this silence is a killer.
Who knows where this could go. Can they hold on? M are looking pretty tired but there’s not a whole lot of time left. Something needs to happen for the ABs and it needs to happen now.
Munster have the ABs trapped in their half, less than 15 to go. Could this be a boilover? The crowd are up hard, but Munster are falling down with cramp all over the park. It’s been a very quick, very physical game and both teams will be feeling it. You’d have to assume the All Blacks conditioning will be superior at this end.
Regardless of how this turns out, this is the most powerful argument in favour of a return to midweek games and full tours. No one but News Limited and the IRB thinks that’s a bad idea, hopefully the groundswell following this epic will see change in that area.
Munster are playing on raw emotion, real courage under some pretty fearsome All Blacks defence. 12 to play, and all these set pieces are eating away at the clock.
Thanks for the correction Ian, it was high foolishness of us to put Munster in that box. The crowd are in high voice here now, in answer to your question, and would rightly consider Munster the worthy leaders with 10 to play.
Munster have the put in to a scrum on the ten metre mark, but the All Blacks are all over it, and have turned it over. They definitely want it, but is there time?
What a time for the internet to jam up. Rokocoko finishes a slick backline move, and Donald misses the penalty so the score is 18-16 All Blacks, the crowd are down, but not out, a drop goal or penalty would do it. Have they got enough. A lineout just inside All Black territory with seconds out on the clock is their last shot.
Munster knock it on from the lineout, and with that goes the game. Phenomenal game, Munster played with incredible heart, and this All Black side… Shit Munster turned it over, but have kicked it into touch.
Well it’s all over, a game the All Blacks did just enough to win, without you ever feeling like the deserved it, if you know what I mean. We’re signing off now and heading in to work, thanks for your help Ian, our connection got a little glitchy there towards the end, but this was an absolute thriller, look out for the replay if you missed it, and trust that the momentum behind legit tours will be absolutely rising after this fantastic game.
– Henry and Duncan