Munster went down to Leinster on Saturday evening 16 points to 6 at the RDS Dublin and in truth if Leinster were a lot more clinical it would have been a lot worse. ‘If it was a boxing match the towel would have been thrown in’ What do Munster have to do to return to the top table of European rugby?
Munster won two European Cups in 2006 and 2008 and their neighbours Leinster have gone on to win four. This is something that does not sit easy with Munster people, not that Leinster are winning all these trophies but why are Munster so far off the boil?
The question has to be asked of the coaching set up in Munster. Australian World Cup winning fly-half Stephen Larkham was brought in to coach the backs and former Leicester and English prop Graham Rowntree to looks after the forwards. All led by Johann van Graan. Van Graan has been managing Munster since 2017 and have have Munster progressed under the South African? Would it have been a different game if Joe Schmidt was coaching Munster on Saturday?
It was announced during the week that Munster will be signing another South African 2nd-row in Jason Jenkins to me this is very worrying. On Saturday there was seven players on the Munster team that were actually from Munster, I would prefer Munster to lose with 10/11 Munster lads on the field rather than all these foreign imports. The purpose of the provinces is to feed into the national set up while being successful along the way themselves. Yes there has been some great ‘foreign imports’ to the provinces including Trevor Halstead, Felipe Contepomi, Ruan Pienaar etc… But really two South African 2nd rows are not need, I don’t care how good they are.
Munster have a good crop of youthful players coming through including Jack Crowley, Thomas Ahern, Craig Casey and Fineen Wycherley to name but a few. Why weren’t these lads brought through more this season? Look at Leinster and Ryan Baird and their players, Baird 21 years old and straight in and on the Irish squad already, same as as Thomas Ahern.
It’s been a long time since Munster enjoyed a bit of silverware and drank at the same table as the very best in Europe and it looks like it’s even longer away going by Saturday’s performance. It’s not getting any easier with Toulouse to come this weekend at Thomond Stadium, head to Bets22 where you can get Live Betting odds for the weekend’s action. What do Munster need to do to return to the glory days? Encourage more youth, look at the club game more and make the schools more competitive. And finally the coaches have some big questions to be answered at the end of the season.