Munster new boy Casey Laulala believes his new club has a number of similarities with New Zealand powerhouses the Crusaders, revealing that proved key in his decision to head to Ireland.
The Kiwi centre, who swapped Cardiff Blues for Munster this season, made 61 appearances for the Crusaders before arriving in the UK, collecting three Super 14 winners’ medals in a team that boasted All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and fly-half Dan Carter.
And 30-year-old Laulala, who has helped Munster to two wins from their first two games of the new RaboDirect PRO12 season, can see the same sort of culture at Thomond Park.
“I look at Munster as similar to the Crusaders back at home,” ex-All Black Laulala told the Irish Examiner.
“I was blessed enough to be part of such a successful era in the Crusaders. And I just saw so many similarities between the two clubs.
“Obviously I came and visited and met the boys and from then on I wanted to be part of it.
“I want to be part of the legacy and obviously try to create my own history as well.”
And Laulala is relishing what he believes will be Munster’s first all-Ireland clash of the season on Friday against Ulster.
“Ulster are a very good side,” he said. “The crowd is a big factor especially up there and they have been a big factor in their success over the last few years.
“We’re aware of that. We’re preparing for a big match and I think it’ll be the first really big test for us as well in terms of what we want to do.”