While Munster fans were left heart-broken last weekend as the Toulouse faithful revelled in their penalty shoot-out victory in the Champions Cup semi-final, the game also refreshed a memory in the mind of Irish legend Keith Wood, who shared on Wednesday Night Rugby.
Wood’s recollection pertained to the 2001 Heineken Shield final between Harlequins and Narbonne in which, like last weekend, the teams were required to play extra time.
‘It was 30 minutes for extra-time then’, Wood recalled, ‘15 minutes each half.’
‘I had been out injured for six weeks, came and played the 80 minutes - which doesn’t happen any more - and then in the 1st minute of extra-time, I went to openside flanker for the half-hour.’
‘I didn’t recognise anybody at the end of the game; I’d say it took me about four weeks to get over it.’
Commenting on the recent match, Wood said:
‘You were looking at players operating in slow-motion last week,’ he added.
‘I read a few things, with some of the criticism about the decision-making and the mistakes.
‘The level of fatigue that sets in at that stage is unbelievable.
‘I’m not so sure I agree with extra-time in rugby. [The game] needs a result, but I think the level of risk for injury becomes very, very high.’
With regard to the employment of the penalty shoot-out, Wood was positive.
‘I thought they were unbelievably exciting - it was the first time in a long time that I had butterflies in my stomach watching the game.
‘They were extraordinary - not if you’re a Munster fan, of course - but it was unbelievable television!
‘But it was also nerve-wracking, it was a nerve-wracking game. All the kicks at the end - when Ben Healy had that kick from 50-60 metres out - it just brought back all of the reasons you’re interested in sport.
‘It was nerve-wracking because… [if it] goes over, everything is perfect, and if it doesn’t, there’s dread because there’s another 20 minutes.
‘I thought it was a phenomenal, exciting occasion.’