In the first rugby match ever held at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Munster registered their maiden victory over a touring South Africa outfit.
In the first rugby match ever held at Pairc Ui Chaoimh – the home of Cork GAA – Munster registered their maiden victory over a touring South Africa outfit.
Patrick Patterson claimed that Munster’s historic third scalp against a southern hemisphere touring nation can kick-start their domestic campaign.
The outstanding scrum-half formed a scintillating half-back pairing with Ben Healy on a night when their belatedly firing back-line came up trumps and a boisterous pack withstood determined opposition.
“Ah it was some craic!” beamed the 23-year-old Dubliner.
“All we wanted to do was to play a bit of ball and we did that and I’m delighted. We’ve been building the last few weeks but we’ve been playing good rugby without getting results.
“We felt the pressure was off tonight and we wanted to have a go.
“The pack fronted up, some of the hits going in were insane, even in the scrum winning penalties.
It was class playing in front of the crowd. When they played “Zombie” before the kick-off, I knew it was going to be so special.”
Coach Graham Rowntree was under pressure with his side slumping to third-bottom in the URC after a dreadful start to the season but he insists this result can give his side a shot of adrenalin as some key interpros and European action beckon.
“What a night, unbeaten against South Africa,” he smiles. “It’s not all gone to plan but I have full belief in what were doing.
“There has been a lot of change in our environment and game-plan. Hard work pays off in the end and it is about keeping the belief.
“I said to the lads, enjoy this. These are special moments. We had great balance in the first-half, a lot of lads put their hands up and this will give the lads a shot of adrenalin.
“Pressure is everything in sport, look where we’ve come from, it hasn’t been ideal. This was a chance to test ourselves and Patrick was a barometer of our energy.
“Ben was calm, for such a young man, and a good kicking game and he gave us composure and he is adapting to the Mike Prendergast team.
“I was really pleased with the balance of our game. You’ve got to have everything available, in hard conditions our intent was good and we wanted to play.
“We weren’t perfect but we dealt with their defensive maul, we know what’s coming but dealing with it is another thing. That’s in our DNA, a try-line stance and technique is needed defending the pick and go.
“We turned around into the wind and we had to be smart with the kicking game and then our indiscipline crept in and that will get a warning from me on Monday.
“This was brilliant for the club, a sold-out occasion.”
Munster captain Jack O’Donoghue didn’t have many great memories watching his county’s hurlers at this famous venue but revelled in another slice of the province’s history tonight.
“I spoke to them about how privileged we are to play a touring side, to be making history here is incredible, so special.
“We need to thank the late Garret Fitzgerald, our CEO, and the staff who made this possible, and the fans too. It’s a new block and hopefully we can kick on from this now.
“From the moment this fixture was announced, tickets were being sold straightaway and credit to everyone. It was like Toulouse last year but I don’t think this will be topped.
“We butchered a few chances but it shows where we have come from, it is paying off and we just need the confidence to play our rugby, even if the conditions aren’t great.
“We have the next weekend off and then we have the interpros and Europe, we will take a lot of learnings but the main thing to do is to enjoy it.”