The Mighty Blackness vs Munster
18 November 2008

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This is it, the BIG game everyone has been waiting for, and one Tim and I nearly missed out on! But the Gods smiled upon us and at the last minute we managed to get tickets to the hottest game of rugby this side of the Blackness winning the World Cup in 2011!

This was truly the best game of rugby I have ever had the good fortune to watch. Not only was it a cliff hanger BUT the crowd showed respect that I never knew could be shown! Unlike the clowns at Twickers (fair weather fans at best), these guys didn't boo or hiss or shake it all about during the Haka or when place kicks were being taken...and god help the fool who did make noise! The Munster fans were rugby fans in the truest sense and even though their team came second, rugby was the winner on the night!

The game was held to mark the 30th Anniversary of Munster beating the All Blacks back in 1978. It was also the official opening of the new Thomond Park, the pride and joy of Munster rugby.
The match ball was brought in by helicopter.
The crowd was huge and vocal BUT, unlike every other crowd we have experienced in the UK, respectful! If someone dared to make a noise during a kick or otherwise the closest 10,000 fans around the person would shhhhhh them up! :)
The big pre-match talk was around whether the kiwi's in the Munster line up would challenge the mighty Blackness with a Haka. Led by Doug Howlett, we weren't disappointed!
The Blackness responds!
First try to the Blackness. Donald steps through to score under the posts. Pity he couldn't kick a dead cat on the night!
Munster strikes back!
Sequence leading up to Munster's history making try, the only try scored by any team during the Blackness's blackout of the Home Nations!
Rocokoko scores in the last minutes of the game. As Joe scored his try, I was jumping up and down asking who the daddy was, when I suddenly realised I was the only person in a stand of 20,000 people making any noise! So I sat down! About 20 seconds later a guy twice the size of Tim and me put together starting blaming me for the Blackness scoring because the Ref had missed a knock on in a ruck leading up to the try. I wasn't going to point out to him the ruck was about 100m away, on the far side of the field down by the AB line :)
The Munster players had run themselves in to the ground, whilst covering themselves in glory!
Heart break for the Munster supporters.
The Munster players showing respect
God bless the Irish, they sure know how to build stadiums! On every level were a number of bars, and as we strolled past them we got stopped by Irish lads wanting to talk about rugby over a couple beers! Pretty much everyone we met was at the game in 78, and I mean EVERYONE we met were there (even the 20 year old lads!:)