Sunday 18 February 2018

Pity Mafi will miss return to Thomond

Denis Leamy

Lifeimi Mafi must be gutted that he won't be playing on Sunday in Thomond Park because he loved the place and I'm sure would have given anything to get another run there.

He was a hugely popular figure when he was here, both with players and supporters, and everyone would have liked to have seen Mafs again.

He will be disgusted with himself for missing this game through suspension but I'm sure he will give a big welcome to Munster the following week – and anyone who played with him will know what that will entail.

He arrived in Munster at the start of the 2006 season and boy did he make an impact.

He nearly went straight off the plane on to the bench when we were playing Bourgogne. Mafs came off the bench and with his first ball he nearly snapped a fella's head off with a hand-off under the chin.

It was some way to announce his arrival and if we didn't know who he was we weren't long finding out. He is not a big fella but, my goodness, could he hit. He put his body on the line every time and I think he formed the best centre partnership in Europe with Rua Tipoki.

We went to Sale one time and he lined up Sebastien Chabal early doors and halved him! He was that sort of player.

He was so sad the day he left because he really bought into the Munster way of things – the way he adopted the ethos of it all, you would think he was Munster born and bred.

Irish Independent

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