A Maori Prayer for Donal Caniffe’s Dad

I recently learned something wonderful about the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team from 31 years ago. It was kindly sent to me by former Ireland and Lions sensational wing forward, Fergus Slattery whom I met in South Africa during the Lions tour this summer.


Munster made history when they beat the mighty All Blacks by, what was in those days, an emphatic beating, 12-0.

Moments after the final whistle was blown, Donal Caniffe, the Munster captain, heard the news that his father had died suddenly . He left the stadium immediately. When the New Zealand Maoris heard the news they did a ritual prayer tribute in their dressing room and were joined by the non Maori team members as a tribute to Mr. Caniffe’s memory.

Do you know of any stories like this, where honour, nobility and humility take over from human dejection and despair which is sometimes suffered by losing a big match?

Another sportsmanship story from that famous 1978 game – All Blacks Snow Whites ‘Go On The Lash’.

Yet another sportsmanship story from the rich heritage of Munster v All Blacks games – ‘you could hear a dog bark’.

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    […] All Blacks were fantastic sportsmen after the 1978 Munster defeat – in several ways (see Maori prayer for Dona Caniffe’s Dad; and at the after match dinner marching in on their knees singing […]

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  3. Rugby World Cup 2015 – A Photographic Celebration Of Sportsmanship | Great Moments Of Sportsmanship - November 12, 2015

    […] A Maori Prayer for Donal Caniffe’s Dad (the Munster captain’s Dad died of a heart attack after the above game). The ABs knelt in their dressing room and said a ritual Maoir prayer for him. Thanks to former Irish wing forward Fergus Slattery for this story. […]

  4. Magnificent Maori Gesture at Start of Munster Game | Great Moments Of Sportsmanship - November 12, 2016

    […] A Maori Prayer for Donal Caniffe’s Dad […]

  5. Lions Touring Stories | Great Moments Of Sportsmanship - May 31, 2017

    […] A Maori Prayer for Donal Caniffe’s Dad […]

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