Judging by their try-filled triumph over Sale Sharks in Limerick last Friday night, Munster have overcome their alleged aversion to the atmosphere in the new Thomond Park – which didn’t seem to pose the province’s second string much of a problem against the All Blacks.
Scoring six touchdowns against one of the English Premiership’s meanest defences was a notable feat for a team dismissed not so long ago as a kick/stick-it-up-the-jumper side. Albeit the best ball-smugglers in the business.
Meanwhile, Leinster’s hopes are still alive, just, after collecting a bonus point in defeat against London Wasps at Twickenham on Saturday evening.
Michael Cheika’s star-studded collective consistently flatter to deceive; hanging onto the belief that if Brian O’Driscoll and his stellar backline sidekicks can eventually click their potential is boundless.
It’s not that easy. As Donncha O’Callaghan acknowledges, Munster have reinvented themselves, forced to in part by the new experimental law variations, and coach Tony McGahan must be delighted with his varied attacking options, allied to the team’s innate defensive grit – a mighty mix embodied by inspirational lock Paul O’Connell (pictured), who should be Ireland captain and the Lions’ leader too later this year.