Paul O'Connell was a guest on the latest episode of the Rugby Inheritance Podcast, with Ed Slater and Sam Roberts, and the Ireland forwards coach gave a wonderful insight into his beginnings as a player in Limerick and with Munster.
The Irish rugby legend could not speak highly enough of the environment created by the likes of Mick Galwey, John Hayes, David Wallace, and Anthony Foley, in his early years at the province.
This era of Munster rugby was defined my an unmatched passion and fight which often saw them produce 'miracle' results, and play above the sum of their parts.
As O'Connell describes, a lot of this emotion came from playing for thei local side, and while it was mostly associated with Munster, it was true, and still is, for all four provinces.
One of our biggest strengths at Munster was how much it meant to us, and how important it was to us.
I think that one of the Irish province's big strengths is that a lot of the players play for the provinces, they're from that area, they're playing for their home team.
Or else sometimes they move provinces and they're playing for their dad's team. They've made a move and this will be the only move they make. The transfer system isn't as fluid over here as it might be in the UK or France.
Paul O'Connell On The Shortcomings Of Munster Passion
However, O'Connell points out that there were negative aspects to this passion, and that it may have affected their calmness in critical moments.
While Munster were one of Europe's most successful sides in the 2000s, they did have their share of tight losses, with two Heineken Cup final defeats and their loss to Wasps in the 2004 semi-final epic.
"How much it meant to us was a big strength of ours, but it meant sometimes meant that we played with a an awful lot of emotion, and I wish we started talking a little bit earlier about being able to be calm in the big moments so that we could see the pass or find the space a little bit better than we had.
"I think it was our biggest strength, and I wouldn't say our biggest weakness, but it was a bit of weakness as well. I would have loved to have started to have that discussion earlier about being calm in the big moments.
"I would have been good at it at kick-off receive time, at line out time, probably not as good at it in open play."