Casey Laulala proving his worth to Munster
Laulala admits to lacking confidence in first year with the province
Which begs the question as to what the hell did go wrong last week? “We watched the game back and we did well in a lot of patches but they (Edinburgh) kept ticking the scoreboard over and next thing you know they had a sniff off the game and then things didn’t go very well in the last 10-20 minutes.
“ Edinburgh deserved their win. They threw everything at us. But we didn’t help ourselves by knocking the ball over and giving away silly penalties at crucial times.”
The net effect is to leave Munster in cup mode. “We have to win. We’ve got no other choice. We put ourselves in that position. Gloucester are a good team but we’re back at home now and our mindset is in a good place.”
As well as feeling better on the pitch, Laulala and his family are also more settled in Douglas in Cork, with wife Lydie having given birth to a second daughter, Iris Rose, as a younger sister to five-year-old Mischa, only nine weeks ago. “Lydie is good friends with Doug Howlett’s wife, and they have stayed on in Cork, and now we have two girls. It’s meant a few earlier nights and a few earlier mornings, but life is good and we’re very happy here.
“We didn’t get back to New Zealand this summer but we’d had two weeks in the sun before Iris Rose was born and we have been able to see more of Ireland. It really is a beautiful country. We did the Ring of Kerry on a sunny day and we just stopped and took in the views. On a clear day you can see forever.”
Extend his stay
Now 31 and, he says, feeling as good as he’s ever felt physically, Laulala is in the second of a two-year deal with Munster. Ideally he’d love to extend his and his family’s stay in Munster but is shy about declaring it too boldly.
“I really believe that we’ve got something special here with this group of players and I want to carry on and see where it takes us. We’ve shown glimpses of what we can do, and if you ask any good team it’s the time you have together that counts.
“The Leinster team had been together for a number of years and at the time when Munster were really good those guys were together for so long. And that’s the key to a successful team, that consistency of guys coming through to propel this great history that we have in Munster.”
As a former All Black, he’s regularly reminded of some of that history. “Oh yeah, they let me know,” he says of Munster’s famous win in 1978. “And when I ask: ‘You guys must have had a hell of a party?’ they say: ‘Yeah, and we’re still partying’.”