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Munster's victory over South Africa 'A' in November was the catalyst for their URC title win a few months later, according to defence coach Denis Leamy.

The start to Munster's season was anything but promising, as they only managed three wins from their opening eight matches, all at home.

Munster lost to the likes of Cardiff, Dragons, Leinster and Connacht on the road, and narrowly lost to Ulster at home in those first two months of the United Rugby Championship.

The first half of the season was so poor that many began to question whether Munster would even qualify for the Champions Cup, let alone challenge for any sort of silverware this season.

However, one victory over a select XV touring side was enough to spur the team on to eventually lift their first piece of silverware in 12 years by beating the Stormers in Cape Town last month.

The victory was that over South Africa 'A' in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in November, two days before Ireland would do the same to the defending World Cup champions, the Springboks, in Dublin.

Speaking on Off The Ball, Munster's defence coach Denis Leamy revealed the impact that that one win had on the psyche of the entire squad.

"It was very important in our season," Leamy said. "It was a different pressure. There wasn't huge pressure on us, it wasn't league, it wasn't Europe. It was a one-off game against a touring side.

"The boys could go out and enjoy the atmosphere, a huge amount of people in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. There was no pressure, no matter what happened that night.

'Whether we won or lost, it wasn't going to impact us hugely."

'You can do some really special things in a Munster jersey'

Leamy was a major part of Munster's 'golden era' between 2006 and 2009, winning the Heineken Cup twice in that time. However, many of the current Munster squad did not know how it felt to win a big game for the province.

That all changed when they channelled Munster's long standing history of beating touring sides that night in November.

"I think what it showed the boys was how special it was to win big games for Munster," Leamy said. "Once you get a feeling for that and a hunger for that, you want more and more, and it drives you.

"That opened some of our younger players' eyes in terms of what you can do in a Munster jersey. You can do some really special things in a Munster jersey.

"Punch above your weight and beat teams like South Africa. It was so important from that point of view. It gave us belief, gave everyone a little bit of a pep in their step, and we kicked on.

"There were tough games, and tough times after that, but we started getting more positive moments than negative."

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