Isa Nacewa On The Best Munster V Leinster Game He Played In & The Best Munster Player He Faced
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Battle of the provinces.
Isa Nacewa’s name will never be forgotten in Leinster with the New Zealander widely-recognised as the province’s greatest ever import.
The former Auckland Blues man spent five seasons at the club from 2008-13, winning three Heineken Cups and racking up an impressive 126 caps before coming back out of retirement in 2015 for three more seasons, winning another Heineken Cup and 60 more caps.
In his second spell, he became club captain and helped usher in a new era of dominance before finally hanging up his boots at the end of the 2017/18 season after winning an unprecedented league and cup double with the province.
This weekend he’ll be a fan like the rest of us as Leinster get set for their first game back following the enforced break and what a game that’s going to be. The eastern province will take on their southern rivals Munster in the biggest game in Irish rugby.
Nacewa played in many a game against Munster but which one was his most memorable?
“Probably this one on my wall, I don’t know if you can see! The ’09 match,” Nacewa told us.
“I’ve only got one picture on my wall and it’s that Munster one. Why it was so memorable was just running out to Croke Park and the whole stadium was like a chessboard.
“I remember running out with Rocky Elsom and saying, ‘What the hell are we doing here, this is outrageous.’ There weren’t too many blue bums on seats at that stage but as kick-off came, they must have all come from the pubs a little bit later.
“It was a phenomenal game and just such an occasion, something I always look back fondly on. It’s the one picture I have in my office, that one.”
In terms of the best Munster player, he played against during his time at Leinster, it wasn’t so much an individual… More so a tag-team.
“I remember being at the bottom of a ruck with Mick O’Driscoll, he had a knee in my… let’s say my neck, it was probably my neck and it was just that era of forwards – Mick O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, and the likes – they know how to control a match, which was pretty phenomenal,” Nacewa recalled.
“That locking pairing at the time, I remember losing a match down there and they were able to run the clock down with about four minutes to go and we were desperately trying to get the ball back but there was no way in hell it was going to happen.
“They just calmly navigated that last four minutes, had full control and they knew how to handle a match. You don’t come across that too often but that old-school Munster era of forward pack was so experienced and so physical and they understood each other. That’s really hard to play against when you’re playing against the quality of those guys.”
Roll on Saturday. It’s going to be an absolute cracker.
Pictured celebrating rugby’s return this weekend is former Leinster player Isa Nacewa, who has teamed up with Guinness to reveal limited edition Guinness x BuJo Rugby at Home Kits, perfect for the ultimate rugby at home celebration. To mark the return of those moments where people can collectively hold their breaths in anticipation and to ignite that friendly rivalry between the two provinces, Guinness, in collaboration with BuJo has created two limited edition burger kits, one for Leinster and one for Munster, priced at €40 each. To purchase a limited-edition Guinness x BuJo Home Kit and savour the return of Irish rugby people can visit https://shop.bujo.ie/bujo-home-burger-kit-guinness-rugby to order for delivery nationwide while stocks last.