One of four professional rugby teams from Ireland, Munster Branch was formed in 1879. Their home games are primarily played at Thomond Park in Limerick, which seats over 25,000 fans, who enjoyed Munster’s spectacular run of no home defeats during the Heineken Cup for over ten years. The team and stadium are renowned for creating an atmosphere like no other, ranging from widly noisy to extremely silent during games.
Munster have a long, competitive history against New Zealand, which was arguably the reason why one of their most celebrated games was the famous victory over them in 1978. This was a win that no other Irish team had done before, with mega performances by Tom Kiernan and Christy Cantillon. The stunning defeat that left New Zealand at nil score inspired Alan English’s book ‘Stand Up and Fight: When Munster Beat the All Blacks’. The heightened rivalry lead to another incredible performance in 2008 on the 30th anniversary of Thomond Park, however Munster missed out with a final score of Munster 16-18 New Zealand.
The team have won several tournaments over the years, including the European Rugby Champions Cup in 2005/6 and 2007/8, the Pro14 in 2002/3, 2008/9 and 2010/11, the Celtic Cup in 2004/5, the Irish Inter-Provincial Championship in 1947/48, 1952/53. 1954/55, 1957/58, 1959/60, 1962/63, 1965/66, 1966/67, 1968/69, and 1972/73, the Setanta Challenge Cup in 2007 and 2008, and the British and Irish Cup in 2011/12 and 2016/17.