The Ha’Penney Place

So here we are in the middle of the Six Nations, the day before the pivotal game in Ireland’s campaign, about to blog about provincial concerns.  Hey, come back, readers!

The announcement that Rob Penney was to leave Munster came as a bit of a shock to the system.  It was one of those things we just expected to be ironed out, with a positive announcement emerging in the next month or so.  When there was talk of Penney’s contract being up in the air before Christmas, it looked like navigating qualification from the Heineken Cup pool would be critical.  With that box ticked, and the bonus of a home quarter-final secured, the rest looked like a formality.  Alas, no.  Penney is off, apparently to Japan where he has been offered a three-year deal and he has cited greater proximity to his native New Zealand as a reason for moving.

So, did he jump or was he pushed?  Yesterday’s statement, where he said ‘I just have to take this opportunity [in Japan]’ would indicate that Penney is driving the decision to leave.  But consider that he has only been offered a one year deal, and maybe he felt he wasn’t getting a great offer.  The one-year contract appears to have become the new PFO in rugby, a bet-hedging exercise from the paymasters that neither takes the drastic action of sacking the coach, nor particularly backs them to the hilt.  McGahan left Munster under similar circumstances.  With the future of European rugby and now the Pro12 shrouded in more doubt than ever, one can sympathise with those in charge of such matters, but all the recently contracted players signed on for two years and more, so Penney would surely have expected at least the same terms.

So where does it all leave Munster?  In a slightly odd position.  It looks like Penney is leaving a job half-done, and what direction the new coach takes them in will be interesting.  Penney had a pretty fixed idea on how to play the game, his Cantabrian rugby philosophy being somewhat dyed in the wool.  He spoke about the group being ‘un the put’ with regard to learning a new skills-based, high-mobility approach to attack, involving pods of tight forwards hanging out wide.  At times Munster struggled with it, but it looks as if he is departing just as the work was starting to bear fruit.

Munster find themselves top of the Pro 12, with 10 wins and just two losses, and after a careless opening weekend in the Heineken Cup, have navigated their group with ease.  While they may not have had to play especially well to win any of those matches, it’s worth casting one’s mind back to just what a rabble the team was in McGahan’s final season.  His final game was an embarrassing pasting at the hands of Ospreys in the Pro12 semi-final, by which stage he had reduced one of his best players, Conor Murray, into a confused mess who couldn’t seem to remember whether he was a scrum-half or a flanker.  Under Penney, a number of officer-class players have flourished, Murray included.  Peter O’Mahony’s rise has been swift, but it may be more instructive to look at Tommy O’Donnell, who was blown off the park in the decisive game of McGahan’s final season (the home defeat to Ulster in the Heineken Cup but has gone on to work his way to the fringes of the test team.

It looks like a decent body of work, but it’s hard to untangle how much of it to put down to the coach and how much to attribute to the group of players.  For all the good results, Penney’s Munster still struggle to execute the game plan he wants to play.  Occasionally it flickers into life; Earls’ superb team-try against Gloucester showcased Penneyball at its best, but for every moment of clarity, there are entire games where the passing across the backline is too substandard to get anything going.  At times they look doomed to remain ‘un the put’ until they can find a pair of centres who can pass the ball more than five metres.  For all the talk of Cantabrian total-rugby, Munster’s greatest asset is still their unyielding unwillingness to accept defeat, and ability to grind out wins.  Hey, what’s new?  Has this really come from the coach, or is to be attributed to the espirit de corps inherent in players like Paul O’Connell, Donnacha Ryan and Peter O’Mahony?  Forget ball skills, feel the pishun!

The following quotation from Paul O’Connell is hardly a ringing endorsement:

“I think Rob leaving doesn’t make a massive difference. I think a lot of the bits around my decision to stay are still firmly there. You’d love to think and I hope Anthony would remain, whether it is as head coach or forwards coach. I suppose he is one of the main guys I would have worked with the most in Munster.”

Against all that, though, if the team is consistently winning matches, the coach has to get some credit.  Too often in the meeja, poor performances were put down to his tactics not being right for Munster, while good ones were down to the senior players taking the lead. Calls for ‘up-the-jumper’ rugby in the ‘Munster tradition’ appear misplaced, with the pack now totally diferent in make-up and skillset from that which Kidney and McGahan presided over.  The Quins and Clermont games looked like pure Penneyball, with Caey Laulala’s lines of running and offloading to the fore, but it was Rog and Paulie who got the credit. It feels like something isn’t quite right, and dark murmurs of Penney’s unhappiness with commentary from outside the camp refuse to go away. Still, he’d hardly care if he had a 2-year extension, and the assumed ironclad backing from the top brass.

So where next?  Get someone in who can continue on the Penney-ball path (who, exactly?) or rip up the last two years and start again?  No doubt the ROG-Axel ticket will be trumpeted in certain quarters, but is either coach really ready?  ROG has had precisely one season coaching and would almost certainly deem it to be too soon for him.  Axel, on l’autre hand, appears to have the backing of the players, and looks a solid bet for the main gig.  He missed out last time, so presumably now they give it to him or he goes.  What his relationship with Penney is like, or his views on Penneyball we don’t know, but in all likelihood we are about to find out.

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39 Comments

  1. I know it’s an act of extreme pedantry but I really think there’s a difference in offering a one year contract (which is indeed a PFO) and activating the pre-agreed option for an extra year under the current contract.

    I don’t blame Penny for leaving or looking to what’s best for his family, though.

  2. A couple of small corrections first… We got absolutely pasted by Ospreys in the semi-final of McGahan’s last season, not the final. That was the final Biggar won against Leinster with the last kick of the ball, converting Shane Williams’ written in the stars try. Also, McGahan was actually offered a two-year extension, he simply turned it down because of the competing offer from the Australian national team. Little did he know what a joyous time was to be had on the coaching staff with Robbie Deans.

    The actual offer Penney received is shrouded in mystery, with vague allusions and mutterings among the press corps and online. The presumption seems to have been that he wasn’t offered more than a one-year extension. I don’t have any inside track, but this may not have been the case, apparently. I don’t think we’re going to know the full story for some time.

    Otherwise, good piece. Generally speaking, as a Munster fan, I’m gutted. I’d be less ambivalent than most as to the amount of credit he gets. For me, it’s lots. The progress in a season and a half has been remarkable in all sorts of areas, and it looked like things might be about to start clicking. Still, hopefully this will give the squad and the staff a powerful incentive to move from potential to silverware over the rest of the season, a maximum of sixteen games. I’m genuinely quite optimistic, and excited. If we give it our best shot, we can close the book on the sadly short-lived Penney era having learned a lot and ready to move onward and upward under Foley (because it will be Foley). How bad.

    • Thanks thoughtless. Trying to work out exactly what goes on in these contract negotiations is next or near impossible. They’re murky waters for sure.

      It’ll be interesting (fascinating in fact!) to see how the Munster players respond. They sleepwalked through the final couple of months of McGahan’s reign. Better will be expected this time.

  3. Probably worth mentioning ROG has ruled himself out based on it being too soon. He also made a good point in that it shouldn’t be a forgone conclusion that Foley gets the job.

    I thought Penney had done enough to stay on, but I’ve heard rumblings around Mannix being told to pack up at the end of the season and Penney sticking with him.

    I think Foley’s “done his apprenticeship” as so many people are keen to point out, but his choice of support staff will play a key role as well.

    • Yes, some money should be set aside for a top-class backs/attack coach, ideally a New Zealander, to build on the work that’s been done over the last season and a half in particular. Someone like, but not necessarily, John Haggart, maybe.

    • Thanks for that Phil Tran. A sensible move on ROG’s part, he’s still learning his trade.

      Plus, we want him for more Six Nations punditry!

  4. connachtexile

     /  February 7, 2014

    Eddie O’Sullivan for Munster! He lives near to Limerick and he’s a really good coach just ask Tony Ward and Vince Hogan. With his experience etc he’d be perfect for Munster.

    • Mary Hinge

       /  February 7, 2014

      I do think O’Sullivan is an option. Particularly after not even being considered for the Connacht gig last year.
      I mean, how much more does he have to do to get back into a coaching job in Ireland. Another one for the shortlist would be Michael Bradley, Con’s Favourite Son.

      • ruckinhell

         /  February 7, 2014

        Whatever about the well documented failings of O’Sullivan, at least he can point to a strong resume of technical innovation when he was bossman of Ireland. Bradley has never delivered anything of note at any level and I would be absolutely disgusted if he was put in the frame for the Munster job. Surely Noisy can get Son In Law a cushy number in the Con clubhouse, allowing him to pull pints of overpriced stout and yammer away about his soft caps for Ireland.

        • I think you’ve bought (and spat for that matter) a dummy there, ruckinhell. Exile and Mary: well played lads.

          • ruckinhell

             /  February 7, 2014

            There are some things you don’t joke about. A Son in Law run Munster is definitely one of them.

          • connachtexile

             /  February 7, 2014

            Thanks Salmson! 😉

  5. I’m with ye on every points, lads. It’s always hard to figure out how much influence a coach has in terms of a team’s performance. Studies on the NBA and NFL indicate that there’s only a really important difference between the very best and very worst of coaches, in terms of producing wins at least. Schmidt seems to be of the former variety, a man whose eye for detail and enthusiasm for the game has the capacity to utterly transform a team’s ceiling and style of play. I don’t think I’d put Penney in either category. In his favour, the largely young pack is playing marvellously, and if anything taking to the off-loading game better than the backs; furthermore, they’re winning matches. Against him…the pack is taking to the off-loading game better than the backs. Obviously I’m the five millionth person to note this, but the interaction between forwards and backs is simply not at the level I would expect it to be at this point, and those gorgeous moments when the team puts it all together are as rare as media members uttering the phrase “Let’s cool it on Gatland/O’Driscoll stuff, lads” will be this weekend. Simply put, the progress isn’t so great that I feel like removing the coach will do massive damage, and as we’ve often seen in the past, a fresh voice can bring fresh impetus (e.g. Kidney, ’09; Schmidt, ’13, please whatever gods you pray to).

    A lot of comments in less nerdy publications have suggested that Foley, as a coach, would bring Munster back to the dark ages, but I just can’t see any evidence for this. Munster’s pack under Foley has been a fairly flowing, modern thing, and by far the best aspect of their play in the past two years. I’m sure Penney contributed to that, but if so, I imagine Foley was at the very least paying attention. If a high-quality backs coach was brought in (and much as I enjoy Dougie, I don’t think it should be him – the man has almost literally no experience), I’d be pretty excited about Munster’s prospects. I think they’ve been paper tigers to an extent this year, and I say that as a Munster fan – they’re at the top of the Rabo on record, but their performances largely tell a different story, and as we saw against Ulster at Ravenhill, against a top quality team, even one that’s not quite on song, they have the capacity to be torn asunder (even if they did almost bring it back). Against Ulster or Leinster in the playoffs, I wouldn’t fancy them. I think they’ll be lucky to get out of the QF in the HCup, even at home. But with that said, there are definitely the seeds of something there – Munster will certainly have more representation in the coming seasons’ Six Nations panel based on the performances of some up and coming players like James Cronin, and obviously, the one who walks on water (but not touchlines). I’ll wait and see before I form my optimism, but whoever replaces Penney has a lot to work with – albeit also a lot to work on.

  6. hulkinator

     /  February 7, 2014

    As a Munster fan I think its a huge blow. They just needed 2 new centres for next season and they were looking good.

    Penney is too advanced for Munster rugby. The former players want Munster to go back to a simple grinding type of game. Its amazing these clowns get any air time. Keith wood in particular have been on Penney’s case since Penney first came to Munster. Its more important that his buddy Foley gets the job.

    As for Foley – Munsters next head coach – I think he has a good rugby brain and is certainly no fool. The type of rugby he introduces is my main concern. I think he might be forward thinking but maybe not!

    • Scrumdog

       /  February 7, 2014

      There seems to be a bit of an incestuous set up in Munster rugby and undercurrent of conspiracy and that is probably what helped Penney decide to take up the 500,000 coaching gig in Japan. Who’d want to be used to keep the seat warm for former players with zero international coaching experience, for another year? Coaches have eyes and ears and are clued in to what’s going on around them. Penney was doing a great job at bringing Munster rugby out of the ‘dark ages’…but now what…for continuity? Besides, Munster has no money to bring in the two new centers needed, let alone a new high quality coach. If ever Munster needed to win the Heineken Cup, its now, not alone for the pride, but for the money this time!
      Foley might consider acquiring an assistant coaching job overseas for a breath of fresh air, maybe in New Zealand, to broaden his horizons and really get his coaching career going with international credentials….like the Kiwis do coming up here with the aim of returning to compete to coach the All Blacks. Foley must have learned something from Penney…and what that’s likely to be is that he has a way to go before he can be a head coach,

      • Lop12

         /  February 10, 2014

        Just on one point, Foley has International coaching experience, in fact far more than Penney does.

    • As a Munster fan, seconded. I had no problem with Penneyball as I could see it was a work in progress. Disgusted that he’s leaving with the transformation unfinished. Wouldn’t mind if Foley gets the job as long as he gets a top class backs coach, but we still need to advertise the post and get the best available candidate.

  7. kevin

     /  February 7, 2014

    I don’t see the fuss. He was always signed as a stop gap to take the flak for 2 years with a very average group of players until Foley had enough experience. I think ye consistently give Penney far too much credit on the blog. Nearly 2 years in and they still can’t pass the ball, hardly a ringing endorsement for a coach who prides himself on skill development. (Maybe this is all Mannix’s fault, but then I would ask why Penney allegedly stuck by such an obviously incompetent member of staff). While Munster have certainly improved, and Penney has done well with a poor squad, developing the players ye mentioned, I still think the recent feel good factor is mainly due to the fact that theyve played one decent side all season (Leinster). While its true you can only beat what’s in front of you I seriously doubt Munster would have qualified from Leinster or Ulsters pool, and would have struggled in Connachts, and to a lesser extent Clermonts. It would have been very interesting to see how he got on in his third year but I reckon Foley could take over seamlessly enough. For god sake invest in a proper backs coach though! Could do a lot worse than EOS, who would take it if he was offered minimum wage and a few pound for petrol

    • The issues regarding skill levels and execution of game plans were addressed in the piece. And the low standards of the Pro12 this year and benign draw in the Heineken Cup have almost certainly helped mask a fw failings. But I’m not sure it’s a good idea to make or not make decision on the head coach based on parallel universes in which the Heineken Cup draw was totally different. They’re top of the league and at home in the Heineken Cup quarter final. It’s a better position to be in than, say, Leinster!

      • kevin

         /  February 7, 2014

        Hmm ye say a better place than Leinster. In terms of QF draw then yes absolutely, but if you look at the bigger picture Leinster and Ulster are streets ahead…I agree ‘what if’s shouldnt be criteria for awarding contracts but if you lose to edinburgh and stumble past perpignan and Gloucester then I think it’s fair to assume youd truggle with a proper side. And on a Munster related note, may I request a blog post on the curious situation of CJ Stander ?!

  8. Leinsterlion

     /  February 7, 2014

    Completely agree WOC, Munster branch, in essence, are jettisoning a proven coach with a track record of bringing through young attacking talent, for what? the whims of pundits and senior players soon to retire? If that is the case something is seriously wrong down south(and im not talking sloped foreheads), Penny was a progressive step at the end of the day, losing him is a blow.
    They need to replace him with a similar coach. Just LOL, if the clamour for Snackbox comes to fruition, Munsters regression will begin, terrible for Irish rugby of course, all those promising outside backs comdemned to a life chasing kicks.?Im sure Conway is crying into the sod of turf he’s using as a pillow.
    As for EOS. no one else has offered him a job, he’s a busted flush, a dinosaur obviously, even Mike Ruddock had a shot in the EP with Worcester, why would Munster go for Connachts rejects? It would almost be as bad as returning to Kidney.
    As for the suggestionsBradley….Jesus wept.

    The best solution would be to go to a SR team and nab an assistant coach, but if the Cork Con mafia forced Kidney on Ireland for that dark age of modern Irish rugby, I can see a similarly bad appointment drowning out any renaissance men that exist in the Munster branch, “shure didnt ten man, ball up de jumper win us a two Heineken cups!”.
    For the sake of the national side the IRFU has to give them a nudge in the right direction, screw indigenous coaches for the sake of it, its a pro game, we need unified playing style and the best coaches at provincial level, not jobs for the boys.

    • I’m absolutely not a fan of Yoda, but his “Dark Age of Modern Irish Rugby” included a Grand Slam and Ireland’s best (well, least worst) World Cup. If Uncle Joe’s Age of Enlightenment tops that we’ll be dead happy.
      And don’t be so sniffy about Connacht rejects, sure isn’t their backline stacked with Leinster rejects!

      • Mary Hinge

         /  February 7, 2014

        Not so sure EOS should be rejected out of hand Leinsterlion. An innovative backs coach in his day allegedly and a proud son of Munster to boot!

      • Leinsterlion

         /  February 7, 2014

        A GS won with minimal changes to EOS’s team, ten man rugby. Yeah 09 was a high point from a silverware point of view, but performance-wise it was dire and only got worse. As for our WC performance, it was just that, one performance against Australia. Kidders was a one trick pony, his reign descended into farce very quickly.
        As for EOS, the fact no one outside or inside Ireland has touched him speaks volumes.

    • Anyone, including Munster dinosaurs and LeinsterLion*, who thinks “ten man up the jumper” rugby won Munster either Heineken Cup is seriously deluded. Munster had some truly excellent backs on either team; unfortunately, none of them, bar Earls, were IQ. I’m thinking of Trevor Halstead, Rua Tipoki and Dougie Howlett. Either of the first 2 are far better centres than the current incumbents, James Downey and Casey Laulala. Obviously, of course, the strength of the team was the Test-standard pack and half-backs.

      *I note that the “best team in Europe”, still winless away in the Top 14, contrived to lose at home yesterday, to boot.
      That Peter O’Mahony – how does he even get near the Ireland XV bench? Not to mention that Trimble fellow. That Schmidt character is a total rugby know-nothing – unlike yourself -, eh, LL?

  9. Dec1798

     /  February 7, 2014

    It’s a funny one to be sure. It does appear the old boys stuck a knife in him. POC Woody and others were pretty like warm on the news. Foley seems to be the biggest winner and isn’t that the rule when judging who has launched a political coup. Who is to benefit the most.
    So are we to expect a return to Munster ‘values’ up the jumper ‘pub talk’ rugby.?
    An Irish team has to play more like Leinster rather than 2006 Munster to win the big cup now.
    As a Leinster nut living in Munster it strikes me that a lot of Munster fans want it this way. After all that’s not a million miles from how Clermont and Toulon play. Muscle ball. Except they have huge recruitment budgets which a broke Munster will not have anytime soon. Even if they do, their recruitment has been horrendous over 10 years past. The current more mobile Munster pack, and soon to be brilliant back row aren’t the piano shifter type. (The weakest front row of the HEC 1/4 finalist teams)
    On the money point (are they, arnt they broke?) will a home grown coach (foley, kidney, Bradley, any mix of the above) be a lot cheaper, right?
    Finally recent pub talk found the perfect solution to the Munster / Leinster coaching / outhalf issues. Simply swap them. Penny and keatley would be much more suited to Leinster and all the running angles and offloading. Leinster Matt with his ‘pragmatic’ approach and kick it long down the middle when in you’re own half’ attic is Munster perfect. Jimmy gos with his kick first and goal kicking abilities seems to have been born under the shadow of st johns castle.
    Could never happen, right?

    • In the last ten years, Munster have signed Christian Cullen, Federico Pucciarello, Trevor Halstead, Paul Warwick, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi, Doug Howlett, Andy Kyriacou, Julien Brugnaut, Jean De Villiers, Nick Williams, Sam Tuitupou, BJ Botha, Casey Laulala, and CJ Stander. Not all of them were successes, but I think it’s fair to say that’s an extremely impressive set of players, six of whom I would describe as outstanding, unqualified successes. So our recruitment probably hasn’t been “horrendous” over the last ten years.

      Also, I have no idea where you’re getting the notion that the front row is particularly weak. This is probably the most impressive scrum I can remember Munster having. We’ve been scoring scrum penalty tries for the last two seasons, including a crucial one in Perpignan, something which almost never used to happen for Munster. I assume you haven’t actually been watching the games.

      • The 6 out and out successes are: Federico Pucciarello, Trevor Halstead, Paul Warwick, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi, Doug Howlett, right? In which case we’re still talking about a long sequence of disasters – Andy Kyriacou, Julien Brugnaut, Jean De Villiers, Nick Williams, Sam Tuitupou – followed by more recent, modestly successful ones?

        • Don’t think Jean de V was a disaster – he was very classy at times, particularly in that startling win away to a much stronger Perpignan than the current version – but I don’t think he really wanted to be here and he didn’t “buy in” to anything like the extent of, say, Nacewa or Rocky Elsom at Leinster.
          Cullen, unfortunately, was a disaster, simply because he was always injured. Never saw the best of him.
          Nick Williams has been a good player at Ulster, so not sure what went wrong down south.

        • First, I didn’t say they were all successes. I said quite the opposite. But they were all very good players, even if they didn’t succeed for whatever reason. Your list of disasters is risible, though. Kyriacou and Brugnaut were good back-ups, and I have no idea where the notion that De Villiers was a disaster came from (he struggled to settle into the team for the first few months but ended as our top try scorer that season). Sam Tuitupou was at worst underwhelming. Nick Williams was a disaster, but not because he was a poor player but because he had serious lifestyle issues at the time.

          Oh, and I actually was including Botha as one of the six out and out successes, but if you’re that sanguine about Mafi, we’ll call it seven.

          I’m sure you can enlighten your southern neighbours as to a good signing policy. Connacht can’t even do a proper medical examination of their prospective players, it seems, if Craig Clarke’s insane ten concussions in the last two years is anything to go by. And that’s in addition to the array of luminaries you’ve brought in: Matt Jarvis, James Loxton, Niva Ta’auso, Ofisa Treveiranus, Mike Roberts… What a set!

  10. Scrumdog

     /  February 7, 2014

    If the next Munster coach is not of the ‘renaissance mold’ to fit in with the direction Irish rugby is headed, less and less Munster players will make the Irish squad because they will not have the required skill sets to play in Schmidt’s squad. This would be a serious blow to Irish rugby. Munster and the IRFU are going to have to find the money to acquire a top notch coach or everything is going to stall heading into the RWC. Joe Schmidt should be consulted and have input on whomever this new coach might be so he is made aware of, and understands, the plot for Irish Rugby going forward.

  11. Yossarian

     /  February 7, 2014

    Munster rugby strikes me always as being very club based in nature. I am reminded of Andy wood in clontarf who missed out on an AIL title when in the final after a draw they lost for not scoring first. The know it all’s in the club house felt former player jackman was the one needed to kick on, wood out-jackman in, clontarf relegated the following year!
    I don’t think it will be tht extreme if foley does get in but there seems to be a similarity to it all.
    Could it be financial?1 million deficit last year on Munster books apparently. Saving here to be made on salary?wouldn’t expect any big signings next season particularly with the mad money that will be in France after their new tv deal.

    • toro toro

       /  February 7, 2014

      That is… a version of what happened at Clontarf.

  12. red*razors

     /  February 7, 2014

    I think Penney has done a lot of “unseen work”, to coin a phrase. The ball-handling skills of the forwards under him have come on in spades. Until very recently, POC would get the ball and then immediately take it into contact, go to ground, and so on and so forth. He has been producing some lovely offloads this season, to my utter surprise. I don’t think we even need to mention Donners. Penney has also made a big deal of developing younger members of the squad, which is obviously advantageous for the whole we’re-in-the-shitter budgeting thing. Munster absolutely need someone who will continue to push the players out of their comfort zone and move away from the grinding pick and drive schtick we are in fairness good at. Rugby has moved on, and so must Munster. It’s essential stuff, of course, particularly useful in tough, tight matches. But I would rather see Munster become a genuinely good team across the board, rather than the one-dimensional side of 2 years ago. They became almost a parody of themselves in McGahan’s last year, and not even a good parody at that. Let’s never go back there again.

  13. Capt Hindsight

     /  February 8, 2014

    Ah yes, Peter O’Mahony, the player Woc claimed was ‘overhyped’ two years ago, cos of course they know more than the media

    • Ah yes. One definitely can’t go from over-hyped to correctly hyped after two years of production. We must always keep our opinions constant no matter how the facts change – that makes much more sense

  14. Bueller

     /  February 10, 2014

    Good piece but an awful lot of nonsense being spoken here in the comments. For anyone who believes Foley will be in any way a “regressive style” coach did they ever see the man play? He was an extremely clever footballer and is to this day one of the highest try scoters in HC history (and the highest forward by a long shot). Munster never played “bosh/up the jumper rugby” as many above seem to believe. They played extremely clever forward orientated rugby. They never had the bulk to outmuscle any of the top English or French sides but did have exceptionally clever footballing forwards. Leamy Wally Quinny and Foley were not exactly bosh merchants (well maybe Wally was but he didn’t rely on it). The current Munster pack is testament to foleys coaching ability and play a similar style to the ‘liginds’ – you don’t have to be massive to get on top of opposing packs. They will need a backs coach but foley is a much shredder operator than most above seem to want to give him credit for and it certainly wouldn’t be just a case of ‘keeping it in the family’ as alluded to.

    • osheaf01

       /  February 10, 2014

      No point trying to disturb their prejudices, Ferris…

  15. L.P.O

     /  February 11, 2014

    De proiydge ind de prijudice!!!

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