Munster primed for Maori All-Black showdown

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Munster primed for Maori All-Black showdown

MUNSTER will hope to take inspiration from Ireland's historic first win over the All-Blacks in Chicago when Rassie Erasmus' side host the Maori All-Blacks at Thomond Park this Friday, 7.30pm.

The Munster trio of Man of the Match Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Simon Zebo all bagged tries as Ireland finally ended their 111 year wait for a win over New Zealand with a sensational 40-29 success.

Munster second-row Donnacha Ryan turned in an outstanding display in Ireland's engine room as Joe Schmidt's side ended the World Champions 18-game winning run in international rugby.

There was an especially poignant moment before kick-off at Soldier Field on Saturday night when, as the All-Blacks formed their usual triangle to carry out the haka, Ireland captain Rory Best and his team-mates settled into a figure of eight, with Munster players Murray, Stander, Ryan and Zebo at the front.

Afterwards CJ Stander said: “We spoke about it during the week and for me, Murray, all of the Munster boys, to be at the front of that was big.

“We just wanted to give something back to him (Anthony Foley) and he meant a lot to me. He was really a rock in my rugby for the last four years and he helped me a lot with what he’d learned over the years. I think he pushed me to the next level.

“It was an unbelievable performance from all the boys and it gives us a bit of a confidence boost. But they’re coming over in two weeks’ time and we’re going to have to pick up the stuff we left on the pitch.

“There was a few mistakes here and there, and stuff we did good. We have to build on that.”

Ireland captain Rory Best said of the team's tribute to Anthony Foley: "It just felt like the right thing to do and it was our way, as an Irish national team, just to show a mark of respect to Axel and his family

"Obviously, there was a lot of emotion and the Munster boys got a lot from that. It was just an emotionally-charged day for us. Ultimately, we did a lot of our work earlier in the week so we could draw on a bit of that emotion."

Munster who thumped the Ospreys in the Pro12 in Cork on Friday face the Maori All-Blacks at Thomond Park in a glamour friendly on Friday, 7.30pm.