Sinking feeling began at half-time

Ash McGregor says he knew just after half-time the All Blacks were going to lose to Munster 30 years ago.

McGregor, who farms at Shingle Creek, between Alexandra and Roxburgh, played No 8 for the All Blacks in their famous loss to Munster.

McGregor, who played for Southland and Otago, said yesterday Munster tackled like demons throughout the match.

"We went out there and made all the play, but Munster's game was based around defence. They knocked us over time and again," he said.

"[All Blacks coach] Jack Gleeson had this plan to play an expansive game and we did that the whole game, but that played into their hands . . .

We deserved to lose. If you don't score any points then how can you win?"

McGregor said the Munster team did not rub in the defeat at the after-match function and it was a very jovial occasion.

"It would have been worse if it had been the Welsh. They would have really rubbed it in."

McGregor said the more the game went on, the more the crowd got in behind the side, and grew in belief Munster could win.

He had seen the play Alone it Stands, about the Munster match, and was impressed.

He had never gone back to Limerick, and said there had been talk of a reunion, but nothing had eventuated.

All 15 Munster players are still alive and expected to be at the match tomorrow.

McGregor (55) said the loss changed the tour and without it the Grand Slam would not have been secured.

Tactics changed, with first five-eighth Doug Bruce coming back into the side - he missed the Munster match because of the flu - and more kicking from the All Blacks.

McGregor played just three games on the grand slam tour, and he said he was a victim of the tactic of playing two openside flankers - captain Graham Mourie and Southland's Leicester Rutledge - so a tall No 8 was needed, with Gary Seear fitting the bill.

"But I still look back at it as a great time. Sure I only played three games, but that is more than a lot of people."

Otago loose forward Wayne Graham played blindside flanker for the All Blacks against Munster and Otago midfield back Lyn Jaffray played second five-eighth.

Neither could be contacted yesterday.


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