The State of Denmark

Leo Cullen and Shane Jennings were considered something of a bellwether for the health of Leinster rugby in general in the noughties. When they jumped ship in 2005, it was considered a damning indictment of where Leinster were, and where they were (not) going. After two seasons abroad, their return was an endorsement of Cheika – the Wild Geese had bought into his vision for the province and were in a position to bring knowledge of one of the best professional setups in Europe and stand apart as exemplars of standards within the squad.

It was a model for successfully on-boarding a host of young Irish players of Lions standard that would backbone the team for a decade and more (Healy, O’Brien, Heaslip, Sexton, Fitzgerald, Kearney) handily augmented by selected foreigners like Rocky Elsom, Nathan Hines, Pippo Contepomi, Isa Nacewa and Brad Thorn. And of course, his BOD-ness.

Last year, Leo Cullen retired and joined the coaching staff as forwards coach and Shane Jennings is now repeating the trick – although he is getting out of rugger altogether and joining the big bad world of business instead. Cullen’s transition into the tracksuit has been difficult – Leinster’s on-field play has been as un-structured and aimless as it has been since before he left for the Tigers and the pack has been dragged along by Jamie Heaslip for much of the season – but the large stock of goodwill built up over the years has insulated him from much of the criticism being directed at the rest of the ticket. While it can be hard to parse exactly who deserves criticism for what, he should be reasonably culpable.  The stock-in-trade of most team’s forward play – mauling, rucking, set-piece, has been as poor as any of the other elements of Leinster’s play.  Against that, it’s his first season going it full-time and he needs some time to learn his trade.

As an insider, we are unlikely to learn Cullen’s true thoughts on where Leinster are right now – but that isn’t of course the case with Jennings, who can fire bazookas all he wants now he is getting out. And he took the opportunity to do just that, in conversation with O’Reilly on Sunday. Not many were spared:

  • He doesn’t see “selflessness” from Leinster’s international cohort where they work as hard as the non-international folks when they return from duty
  • On the flip side of that, he hasn’t seen the non-internationals take ownership of the team during November and February/March
  • He sees “guys” (players, coaches, both?) who have come into a HEC-winning environment without understanding what it took to get there

It was pretty damning stuff, which we would love to link but for the Times paywall, and it certainly should be very concerning from a Leinster perspective. The squad are certainly suffering from losing the on-field leadership of Cullen and BOD this season, and now they have someone considered something of a squad muse filleting the players’ attitude on the way out. It’s clear that whatever is going on at Leinster is not working on the pitch, and one has to suspect it isn’t working off the pitch either – while it’s fair to ask whether there is any residual bitterness over no longer being as close to the first XV in the past, the vast majority of Leinster fans would take Jennings’ thoughts at face value.  He has always appeared a thoughtful, considered type, and not one to throw his toys out of the pram.

The supreme irony of this is that Jennings’ official send-off to the fans came at half time in front of a half-full RDS in a damp squib of a game in which Leinster failed to score at home to Treviso for over an hour. He deserved better, and his parting words should be heeded by all.

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66 Comments

  1. Yossarian

     /  May 12, 2015

    There seems to be a correlation between Leinster now and Leinster 2005 which he left. Talented players who look like they lack the stomach for a fight. Do Leinster need a Cheika type head coach or risk falling back into the “Lady boys” category? I don’t think we have fallen so far. Like Ireland recession 2007 vs recession 1980’s we are coming from a stronger position(if that analogy makes any sense!) The infrastructire is there we have just had a bit of a bad patch. The players are still able to do it in green for Joe so no reason under the right guidance they can’t do it in blue.

    I did feel there was an element of rebuilding for the team(i avoid the dreaded “transition” phrase) but for Jack McGrath/Martin Moore to start and win with a tough examination of the scrum in France vs Castres. For Toner to be the main man without Leo at lineout time etc there was a number of lessons that had to be “re-learned” in the team. with the spine of the side that is there (Healy,Heaslip,SOB,Kearney) i don’t think that this re-learning phase should have been as painful as it has been.

    Worrying times ahead and with the media wagons circling no sing of a new head coach coming.(though i have enjoyed Neil Francis articles on the matter-when he is the sane voice of the media you know things have gone quite far!)

  2. D6W

     /  May 12, 2015

    Leo has certainly escaped some criticism, but not entirely. It is particularly galling to see our lineout function so poorly when we have one of the tallest forwards in world rugby jumping in it. It must be diffiicult to make transition from player one season to coach next, particularly forwards coach when the head coach is primarily a backs coach.

    Btw, I see that one of the categories WoC has assigned to this article is Matt O’Connor, when he is not mentioned in the article. Is WoC now buying into the LeinsterLion argument of all Leinster problems begin and end with MOC?

    • Nope. But the buck stops somewhere. We don’t have a category for Dawson, but perhaps we should!

      • D6W

         /  May 12, 2015

        I do hope Dawson and Co. are looking at coaching options for next season. Wonder could Jackman be tempted? In contrast to Leo, he went out of comfort zone abroad to learn his trade.

        • Yossarian

           /  May 12, 2015

          look at how Grenoble are actually doing before thinking of him as an option. could easily be relegated.

          • SportingBench

             /  May 12, 2015

            Why is EOS not a realistic option? Seems to have been paying a heavy price in Irish Rugby for unknown crimes

          • D6W

             /  May 12, 2015

            Have not really be following them, but he helped get them promoted into top 14, and has kept them there for 2 seasons, which is some achievement.

          • D6W

             /  May 12, 2015

            EOS alleged “crimes” are hardly unknown, regardless of whether agree or not. That said, he is with Biarritz now, he would be mad to come back to Leinster.

        • Leinsterlion

           /  May 12, 2015

          Anyone with a clear vision of how to play rugby(+a consistent track record of doing so) and a willingness to drop players for non performance(but conversely, the bottle to stick through growing pains of young players, if they have the talent) would be welcome, eg not MOC.

          • Yossarian

             /  May 12, 2015

            Eddie has Biaritz in 6th in Pro D2.Not in play-offs. These names get trotted out because they are pro coaches and nothing else. Not of the caliber that any of the provinces are looking for.

    • Leinsterlion

       /  May 12, 2015

      Leinsters problems began when MOC threw his lot in with Gops sitting deep behind the gainline and basing our gameplan around his (aimless)kicking, you cant play rugby with your ten in the pocket unless you have Scharnhorst-ian backs imo, which we dont. Everything stems from his decision to play aerial football and rely on other teams mistakes as a tactic of getting into the opposition half, we have been at it unsuccessfully for two years now, I dont think laying the charge, that that is the cause of our decline, is unfair on MOC.

      • SportingBench

         /  May 12, 2015

        To be honest, in rugby as in most sports it is generally not what you do but the way that you do it. I agree that the tactics are a bit out of date as the game has moved on from 2007 when SA won the WC playing that way but the biggest problem Leinster have is they are executing the game plan badly. Missed tackles, a poor kick chase and bad passing aren’t the result of the choice of tactics but on poor execution and players not being held responsible for it.
        To be fair though, we are arguing here whether MOC is most guilty of a being a poor strategist or a poor leader. Truth is he is guilty of both at the moment.

        • D6W

           /  May 12, 2015

          Agree with both these comments. It is not alone that we have a game plan devoid of any kind of initiative or adventure, but that we also execute our chosen gameplan in such a half-hearted and inexpert way way. Both charges can be squarly laid at MOC’s door.

      • osheaf01

         /  May 14, 2015

        “Scharnhorstian”? Reference to naval warships of the same name, or to the Prussian general of the same name?
        Munster did quite well with ROG sitting in the pocket but, then, they had a Test level pack capable of outplaying most opposition they encountered.

        • Leinsterlion

           /  May 15, 2015

          Reference to the battleships, every top level European side has a big pack, you cant play kick chase without a backline of heavy hitters, lowest common denominator rugby requires beef to be effective. Having Mads at 12 at using him on the crash, or as initial carrier as we do on countless occasions is painfully ineffective. I would love to be at Leinsters season review, “So, Ian, how do you feel your season went?”, “Well, I learned that I can just about reach the gainline when I carry mindlessly into midfield traffic….”, “Anything else”, “Yeah, I lack game management from 12, so I shouldnt be playing at ten, or even given a shot, on that basis”.

          Also, the rules have changed massively since ROG’s heyday, its just not a viable way to play, as seen by our dire form all season.

          • Peter Daly

             /  May 15, 2015

            ROG was also a genius kicking ball out of hand. Gopperth is a best an average tactical kicker.

    • One of the tallest forwards? Not according to our American chums!

  3. Leinsterlion

     /  May 12, 2015

    This all smacks of talk of paassshuun, pride, liginds etc, pure shite in other words. Talk about “selflessness” all you want, but when does “selflessness” supersede an obviously piss poor gameplan? How does “selflessness” come into play if you are Luke McGrath getting a few minutes here and there as the two incumbents visibly segue into aimless boxkicking decrepitude before our very eyes?
    Jenno, sad to say has morphed into another press briefing/leinster insider as he dances around the elephant in the room, substandard coaching, and WOC, you are right , Cullen is very much a part of that. Gibbes came straight from playing and clearly is/was a good coach, Cullen, not so much. Cullen’s head must be on the same block as MOC’s, some people just are not cut out for coaching. Look at Gatland and Gatty ball, he can come in and mould whatever he has to hand into his gameplan and image, Schmidt with Ireland, Mourinho in foootball, that is how you coach, make what you have better. Cullen has the forwards in reverse in every facet under his remit. As it stands the only coach who deserves to stay on after this season, imo, is Caputo.
    Every other area(scrum aside) of our game has atrophied beyond all recognition, you can blame the squad guys for not being “selfless” all you want, but that is an impossible problem to fix, does anyone actually have suggestion on how you would go about instilling “selflessness”( beyond bringing teams of psychologists and some trips paintballing)? the hard thing to do(clearly, as MOC has not managed to do it) is to morph someones “will”, how does Jenno suggest it happens? Its all utterly ephemeral talk, that ignores tangible and clearly fixable problems like stupid tactics and selections, but going down that route brings it back to the coaching team, best leave it alone and berate spoiled unmotivated rugby players through the press, ITS SURE TO WORK!!!

    • but LL, your passion for how the game should be played is what makes your posts compelling! https://www.theblizzard.co.uk/articles/football-to-remember/ check this out for Klopp’s frequent references to emotion
      “This is the most emotional football region in Germany,” Klopp continues. “And even though there are some people 30 km from here, in Schalke, who will vehemently deny it, I would say Borussia is the most emotional club.”
      “There are some regions where you have to play and live the game in a certain way,” says Klopp, “where you have to charge, where you can’t sit back and just knock the ball about. There are some places where, when you do that, people will say: well, if that’s your football, I’d rather have no football at all. And this here is one of those places. Here, you have to give the people a certain kind of football, the kind that is close to my heart: intense to the last minute, highly emotional. Football you will remember.”
      My point being that if the emotional side is of vital importance even in a completely global, extremely well financed game like football, it definitely is in rugby.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  May 12, 2015

        Interesting piece, and I’d agree with most of it. But it doesnt excuse using words like passion, selflessness, hunger etc in isolation. Simply pointing out the lack of “it”, without mentioning that “it” needs to be harnessed in implementing the actual plan, Kloop plays a high tempo pressing game, “it” needs passion and direction, its not headless chicken stuff, passion and hunger by itself, is irrelevant. Jenno calling out players whilst ignoring the aimless kicking and poor structure(some of which could be down to hunger(eg missing tackles)) is a cop out imo. You cant criticise or analyze solely based on emotion. A will to win definitely drives players, but there are so many intangibles surrounding that, its hard to know if a player has it(barring seeing obv laziness or fear) without being in the camp. Is it the nationalist passion that makes Leinster players under Joe suddenly play with precision? somehow i dont think so… Chekia wears his heart on his sleeve and smashes up booths, but he is an astute mind, and a winner, he doesnt get by on raw emotion.

        Reading that article is basically how I felt the next few years would go( before MOC was appointed), “”All of this is almost too good to be really happening, too perfect to be true,” says Daniel. “This whole season is surreal.” It rarely happens that a football club as big as Borussia is represented on the pitch by a young, hungry and inexpensive team that is hugely popular with the fans. And it also rarely happens that a football team plays breath-taking attacking football game after game and dominates more or less every opponent it comes up against. ”
        We had an academy that is the envy of most teams in Europe, a potential superstar at ten in Madigan, yet its all fallen apart, our players(young and old(though Kirchner got a new deal)) are not good enough(according to MOC) and Mads is playing like a drain at twelve. Sure we had some holes, but we had a mobile, young, attacking team and we have regressed completely from that. And its clear to see that regression whether its on TV or in the stands. Every match, I feel like Brian Moore, shouting at the latest pointless, stupid kick to nothing. Its a bizarre state of affairs.
        Also, the complete lack of atmosphere at the RDS reflects the complete lack of verve on the pitch, fans and players have a symbiotic relationship, its no surprise that as our displays verge from inadequate to anemic the crowds dwindle and go quieter. The only emotion Leinster have evoked in me recently is rage and exasperation at how bad we are, and I cant see how it will change, unless we get our own Jurgen Kloop.

  4. Ireland's Answer (allthingsrugby1)

     /  May 12, 2015

    Leinster next season will have a terrific squad. Up there with the best in Europe particularly the pack.

  5. SportingBench

     /  May 12, 2015

    To a certain extent every successful team gets lazy and forgets the hard work that gets them there. Often it is the retirement or aging of the players that sets the train in motion and the next gen aren’t quite as good or as hungry. Think with Leinster it is just a hunger thing and to me, it is up to the coaching team and / or the senior players to stamp on it. The standards being set by the coaches just doesn’t seem high enough hence players continually missing tackles and dropping /poorly executing passes are not being held accountable. Nor do the leadership group of players seem to be reacting, in fact they are part of the problem. Interesting that Jennings made the point that the younger & non-international players don’t own the team when the stars are away. In their defence, some of the younger players and fringe players have been messed about by injury but also importantly by inconsistent selection. Not giving players a chance when others are not performing is the route of all evil (ask EOS after 2007).
    I think the evidence that it is a lack of hunger and of standards comes from the better performances in the Heineken Cup (I can’t remember what it is actually called these days and can’t be bothered checking). Rather than showing that things are well and a bright future awaits as some pundits have claimed these sporadic performance show a talented team simply not turning up in games and attitude becomes harder to fix the longer it is left untreated. It does appear all problem roads lead back to MOC & the coaches here.

  6. Watching from Sydney

     /  May 12, 2015

    I think Jennings is alluding to something more sinister in the players coming through. Leinster are reverting back to a pipeline of talented, yes, but self entitled private school boys who think they’ve been ordained with greatness by virtue of coming through the academy. Their attitude is what stinks. MOC has lost the classroom by not kicking arse and cutting this out at source.
    Cheika has achieved greatness by doing this originally at Leinster and again at the waratahs. The similarity between the Sydney private school conveyor belt to the waratahs and that in Dublin with Leinster is striking. The consequences of failure have been the same. Cheika killed that weed immediately in Sydney on his return and another set of ladyboys down under got an enforced attitude adjustment and won a S15 title, way overdue for such a talented franchise.
    MOC actually improved the defense last year with tactical oversight but defense is an attitude and mongrel trait, first and foremost. That has ebbed away this year with the loss of some leaders but I strongly suspect it’s mainly due to MOC not having his foot on the players throats. We’ve all had that new teacher that once we saw the weakness in delivering discipline, anarchy and disrespect quickly ensued. MOC should go because he didn’t maintain an iron fist and not because of his tactical and coaching ineptitude. Same outcome but now a light has shined on the players. Thank you SJ.

    • Hairy Naomh Mhuire

       /  May 12, 2015

      Good insight re Cheika.

    • If Leinster needed someone to give their players regular leather enemas then replacing Johnno Gibbes with a just retired player might not have been the way to go. No fan of MOC – this season he’s pretty much replicated Connacht’s results with 3 times the budget and 4 times as many internationals – but the major coaching difference between last year’s trophy winning mongrels and this year’s labradoodles is Cullen.

  7. Hairy Naomh Mhuire

     /  May 12, 2015

    In terms of ‘leadership’ the BOD / Leo departures are a bit of a red herring.The simple fact about Leinster this year is that any lack of leadership cannot be attributed to a lack of leaders. Kearney / O’Brien / Heaslip / Healy / Dorce and more are seasoned, utterly committed pros. One must deduce therefore that they do not understand what is required of them – they are ready to lead but know not where to go. Assuming MO’C remains in situ for next season it is reasonable to conclude that this state of confusion will remain. And then you add his grumpiness Monsieur Sex-Bomb to the mix? He won’t share the squads professed loyalty to the coach, not to mention ‘Dawson & Co’. He’ll be coming back in a hurry to make his mark and prove a point. And he’s not the most patient at the best of times. End result could make Saipan look like a love-in.

    • If that’s what it takes, Hairy, then bring it on!!! As the Germans say: “Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken, als ein Schrecken ohne Ende” (“Rather a horrifying end, than a neverending horror”.

  8. I think Leinster need a new head coach a.s.a.p. Allowing the current decline to continue could cause massive damage to the club. Attendances at the Aviva matches this season were way down on previous years. The poor turn-out for Jenno’s farewell and potentially Darce’s last match in blue was heart-breaking. We’re not just talking morale here but cold hard cash. The Toulon semi was a blip Leinster can in no way considered a top European team anymore. In last Sunday’s Observer I read that Northampton have sold out every home match this season. How does that compare with the RDS? We all know the answer. The main responsibility for this malaise lies with MO’C for the reasons Leinsterlion above and Neil Francis in the Indo have elucidated. One doesn’t have to be Enda McNulty to see the team no longer believe in the coach, the proof is out on the pitch in front of our eyes. As an immediat solution I suggest Mike Ruddock as head coach with Girve the swerve in charge of the backs for next season.

    • Billy

       /  May 12, 2015

      Wait, MOC is responsible for the poor turnout at the RDS for the Jennings/D’Arcy send-off??

      I hear he’s campaigning for a No vote too!

      If you choose not to cheer for your team because you they’re not winning/you don’t like the coach/it’s wet out you’re not a supporter, you’re a consumer, which is totally fine but let’s not confuse the two.

      • That is a snide misrepresentation of the point I was trying to make. For your information, I’ve been going to Leinster matches since when Ollie Campbell was our outhalf. Nor have I at any time suggesting anything other than continued cheering for the team. Why otherwise would I have referred to the poor turnout in the RDS as “heart-breaking”. Criticism of the coach at the end of our worst season I do think is legitimate. Is that so hard to understand?

      • Leinsterlion

         /  May 12, 2015

        I was at the RDS for the “send off”(lets not call it that, Jenno was dropped(classless) and Darce was on the bench)and tbh I wouldn’t begrudge, or call out anyone who doesnt buy a ticket for next year, it was painful(made even more painful by missing the only try by about a minute as I was late arriving). I thought Dragons was the nadir, was I ever wrong, there was nothing to cheer in that game, I sat in the damp drizzle surrounded by glum faced fans actually disbelieving that it could get any worse. I laughed more then I cheered such was the ineptitude on display, terrible options taken, bad hands, awful kicking, endless one out runners, it was a Declan Kidneyesque Dantean nightmare, an exhibition of pure rugby nihilism. I’m still having flashbacks, I wake up in a cold sweat thinking im still in that north stand and we are all trapped there, there scoreboard frozen, sort of like a rugby limbo, doomed to watch shanked kicks and one out runners forever. there were loads of kids at that match, if not a single one decides to ever come back, would you blame them? It was the worst advertisement for rugby in history.

        I would wholeheartedly lay the blame at the turnout for our utterly depressing style of play, which stems from the head coach and his pet Gops, anyone who wants to go watch that rubbish(I’m clearly an idiot, I go) does not make them a “bigger fan” or “supporter”. In the same way people who wont buy tickets for next year are still fans. I’m not going to watch the Edinburgh match if Mads is not at ten, does that make me less of a fan?

        • osheaf01

           /  May 14, 2015

          “it was a Declan Kidneyesque Dantean nightmare”

          What does the other half of your new Leinster Rugby Ticket think of that?!

          Just sign Ian Keatley and you’ll be grand.

  9. Roundy

     /  May 12, 2015

    If the current coaching ticket is left for another year it will surely be their last (MOC in 3rd year of contract). So another year wasted. How long will it take a new coach to instill his ideas on the squad. So no change next year will see at least two barren years ahead. None of our International class players are getting any younger. Can we afford to waste precious resources (players) in this way?

  10. andrew097

     /  May 12, 2015

    A talented squad playing poor rugby both in execution and strategy, of course people will stop turning up. It’s frustrating to watch players you know are better playing a game which has been found out. Doing the same thing as results go south.
    Chances are grumpy will return and play a territory game slightly better. Then matt will be looking for another three years, it’s my recurring nightmare.
    O,Connor has been a disaster for Leinster it’s really that simple and part of that disaster is he can’t change the way his team plays rugby.
    I think the Ruddock Dempsey move would be our best hope.

    • Billy

       /  May 12, 2015

      So you want your team to do badly next year so the coach gets sacked…? You should go for Supporter of the Year mate.

  11. Any thoughts out there on the “MOC out” campaign the hosts of the Facebook page Leinster Live started on Sunday via change.org? I signed it, but it seems quite a few fans were put out, claiming “it’s not the Leinster way” and what not. As a result the lads withdrew the campaign yesterday after about 24 hours. I thought they should have stuck to their guns, ‘cos if there’s one thing Leinster have been missing this year it’s stickability. But there you go….

  12. @shelflife68

     /  May 12, 2015

    Ive always had a lot of time for Jennings. Very shrewd and intelligent player. His comments need to be taken seriously IMO, I dont think its spitting out the dummy either.

    Maybe theres a sense of entitlement creeping back in, maybe theres a sense of arrival with younger players coming though who once they get the tracksuit they think they have it made. Maybe theres a sense of whats the point as players arent getting game time yet dont want to leave.

    Either way theres a problem.

    One point re Cullen, as a player I hated to see him play against us, a serious disrupter and a pain in the hole to play against but someone id have loved to have on our team.However bringing in a coach with no experience in coaching to one of the top teams in Europe was plain madness.He should have been sent off somewhere to learn his trade with a view to coming back.

    Big difference between playing and coaching !

    • Peter Daly

       /  May 12, 2015

      Totally agree with your point re-Cullen. Not saying he lacks the skills or makeup to be a good, even great coach but more than the transition from teammate to coach is a very difficult one to master for both the coach and his players. A move abroad or even to another province would’ve done him the world of good ala Jackman, ROG and others.

  13. Did I miss a post – not a mention of Saturday’s Ulster Munster match

  14. Len

     /  May 12, 2015

    Ok arriving late to this particular gun fight. I personally think the biggest difference between this season and last is Gibbs. Last season we still had one remnant of the JS coaching team. We’ve gone from a demanding coaching set up operating very structured form of rugby where players knew what was expected of them in every instance to a set up where we’re playing a very unstructured and heads up rugby. I think it’s safe to say after two years it’s not really working at Leinster and standards have dropped. Also where there was competition under JS there’s really very little under MOC with few academy players being given game time despite the lack lustre displays from some of the senior panel. I would agree that the coaching ticket needs to go. It might be harsh on Leo who is a Leinster great but that was as a player not coach and really he should have had to cut his teeth with the a team like Dempsey. Ruddock and Dempsey could be worth a punt next season as caretakers until a suitable coach can be found.

  15. Peter Daly

     /  May 12, 2015

    Is it just me or is what Leinster are going through at the moment strikingly similar to what Munster started going through a few years and are still working their way through? Both teams lost a string of once in a lifetime players (in Munster’s case a unit more than individual talents) in fairly rapid succession after a sustained period of success. Just as Munster were coached through this period of transition by a rotund, dour faced, supposed back-line guru from Australia in the shape of Tony McGahan who struggled to replace a coach who inspired cult like devotion, Leinster have a similarly rotund, dour faced, supposed back-line guru from Australia struggling to replace Saint Joe. And in this period of decline where Munster had two phenomenal players and leaders in ROG and POC to ensure they remain relevant, Leinster will have Heaslip and Sexton. Throw in the jibes from retiring players/former players about a lack of selflessness, ownership and so on and it really does remind me of Munster at the turn of the decade.

    • SportingBench

       /  May 12, 2015

      I see your point but I think the remaining Leinster team has better quality and depth than the equivalent team at Munster.

      • Peter Daly

         /  May 12, 2015

        Oh I totally agree with that. There’s also much more quality coming through at Leinster. The problem is the quality of the top teams and the cash available in France and England is so much more than when Munster went through it. For me it’s just so striking how similar the dynamics of it all are.

        • Seiko

           /  May 12, 2015

          For the record, ROG says Tony McGahan is the best coach he has ever had. He said his attention to detail was second to none. He mentioned that you would know he was a teacher as well.

          As for Leinster – its pretty easy to understand how most of this team maybe lack motivation – they have won everything at this stage. Heislip is a bit too airy fairy to be captain. Someone like Ruddock (who hasn’t won a huge amount) might be a better choice.

          • curates_egg

             /  May 21, 2015

            Ruddock has one exactly the same trophies as Heaslip (6 Nations, Heineken Cup, Pro12), just less of them.

        • Lop12

           /  May 13, 2015

          Much more talent coming through at Leinster? I think there is limited evidence of this in actual terms outside of looking at international underage representation. Very disappointing that Byrne, Ringrose etc didn’t get more gametime. But the famed Leinster academy hasn’t come close to digging MOC out of any holes, when he is going to the AIL for Fanning and McGrath to cover the back three it says something.

          I actually think leinster will have a big problem next season during the RWC. Who exactly is going to play ten and direct (a presumably) very weakened side. Gopperth will be gone, Madigan and Sexton at RWC. Whats next, Nacewa at ten (far from his best position) with no rugby under his belt in two seasons or you look to throw Ross Byrne in at the deep end with average players inside and out?

          • Roundy

             /  May 13, 2015

            Cathal Marsh would be the stand in outhalf. He got no game time with the senior team this season. The planning which brings Academy players into the senior team has stalled completely. To be honest do we really want these players exposed to MOC ball? How long will it take to undo the damage!

          • Peter Daly

             /  May 13, 2015

            You make a valid point and I think it’s praticular relevant to the backline. When I said Leinster had more talent coming through I was thinking of the likes of Moore, McGrath, Furlong, Coman, Jordi, Murphy, Ruddock and so on. When Munster lost their top tier talents the replacements coming through were the Tony Buckley’s, Niall Ronan’s and Danny Barnes’ of the world.

            As for the net generation that’s an ongoing problem in Irish rugby where there seems to be a log jam where it takes longer for youngsters to break into the senior set up. Unfortunately struggling in the Pro 12 and the demands of qualification means coaches are less likely to throw the kids in at the deep end.

    • Yossarian

       /  May 13, 2015

      The Munster team went from having 8/9 international forwards available to about 2 in the space of 2 seasons. Leinster still have 20plus international standard players in the squad. So while there are similarities with a possible leadership vacuum the quality available is different.

      • Peter Daly

         /  May 13, 2015

        Agreed. My point was more that the general optics of the situations were the same rather than it been an exact replica of what happened in Munster

    • osheaf01

       /  May 14, 2015

      Agree with this, eerily similar, down to the “unlucky” away losses in France in Heino semis while playing like drains in the league. Hanging on to liginds way past their sell-by date – Radge, Dorce.
      Leinster will get a nasty draw in next years Champions’ Cup, which will really open their fans’ eyes as to how far they’ve fallen.

  16. George

     /  May 13, 2015

    Its gotta be tough on the Leinster lads. Think of it playing for Ireland someone like Cian Healy would be playing to a play where on the 4th phase of an attack he’d get possesion and be given a choice, if you match up well to the defender on you (like Richie McCaw) smash him, if you are outnumbered look to pass to relieve some pressure (theortically pass 🙂
    For Leinster the plan is that on second phase stand statically and wait for some slow ball and then just smash you body into whatever is there and spend the entire match just smashing into a wall …. I think what you are seeing is a Leinster team physically exhausted from smashing into walls …. I mean seriously we actually turn teams into a wall!
    Its not just healy – even the Treviso bus caught this bug :Z

  17. TipperaryExile

     /  May 13, 2015

    I think the root of the malaise is down to attitude. There is no question that the ability and pedigree needed for success is present in this group of players. The reason for the poor attitude is open to discussion (my own suspicion is that it is down to poor squad management and lack of opportunities for younger players which in turn promotes an environment of competition and performance) and to my mind has manifested itself in very poor execution of basic skills. I have scarcely ever seen such poor handling, kicking or tackling from a Leinster team. The coach has to be responsible for the performances of his team and whinging about player availability is purely making excuses. He who excuses himself accuses himself. There seems to be very little chance that MOC is capable of the introspection needed to honestly assess the problems.

  18. osheaf01

     /  May 13, 2015

    MOC Must Stay.

    Yours sincerely, The Munster Supporters Club.

    • Get up the yard!!! Soon as we’ve our dreadnought up here on the Irish Sea back on an even keel, we’ll be directing our cannons towards a certain town on the Shannon…..

      • Lop12

         /  May 14, 2015

        POC & ROG be our headcoaches by then Id say!!

  19. andrew097

     /  May 14, 2015

    Leinster will improve next season  because Sexton is a pretty good ten at kicking territory  not because of the coaching insight from MOC.
      The new seasons  improved league position and a heroic exit in Europe in a play off or tough group will be presented by the “I backed MOC” grouping as “I told you he needed time to mould  Leinster into his way of playing”.  The issues such as player retirements, bad refs, player availability, injuries, and missed drop goals or even stupid fans will be presented  in hindsight as reasons rather then excuses. MOC will be exonerated. Leinster will then return to underachievers,  always failing at the business end of the season. MOC will then look for three more years. 
    Leinster will return to the world of lots of talented players but too many cracks in the general game plan and execution to win finals. Its those cracks that Checka and Schmidt fixed, they had the insight and ability to fix the broken bits. It was those “small margins” that made the difference.
    MOC does not have that ability, if he did Leinster would not be playing the way they have for the last two seasons. 

    It reminds me of a conversation I had ten years ago on the 46a when leaving Donnybrook with a very pretty girl who saw my Leinster scarf and  asked me ” did we win?’  I told her  Leinster won well but there were two many flaws in our game to win the H cup. “So the better teams will beat us at the 1/4s ” she replied. We were both right.
    I then suggested to her that supporting Leinster was like a date with a really beautiful girl who was not that into you. Oh how? she asked. Very pretty to look at and quite exciting to go on but by the end of the evening you would just feel disappointed. She laughed, she knew exactly what I was talking about.  

     

    • Lop12

       /  May 14, 2015

      I actually think Leinster are in for an awful time of it next season. Your assumption above about Sexton would be correct in three out of every four seasons. Unfortunately he will be coming back from the RWC likely mentally and physically shattered. As will another huge tranche of the best of Leinsters squad.

      With the help of god it will be November before they are finished in the RWC and all will need a break. It will in all likelihood be European cup time before any of the Irish internationals see club action, MAYBE 80 mins in the Pro12 prior to that.

      Leinster will be most badly affected of all provinces escpecially when you consider it is certain, that barring injury
      – all 6 of your first choice front rows will be RWC
      – as will your best 2nd row
      – probably three, possibly four best back rows
      – And your four first choice half backs
      – and Rob Kearney

      (not taking Luke Fitz, Dave K, Darcy, Furlong into account all possibly be there or on standby at least).

      I just don’t see how any coach, let alone MOC will be able to piece together a season whereby he will not have access to any of these guys for preseason and first two (minumim) months of the new season. Integration, rehab etc..it is going to be a nightmare. I think that is one of primary reasons why MOC will be there next season; who would take that on?

      Note: I haven’t factored in Leinsters “pool of death” in Europe either!!!!

      Im sorry, but I cant see how next season will be an improvement on this one, results wise at least.

      • Yossarian

         /  May 14, 2015

        Very true regarding Sexton. Leinster success has been built on the second tier being better than most teams firsts and a coach to maximise them. i can see the large irish contingent becoming more interested in how Ireland do than Leinster(which is preferable to the club being put before country) By the time they recover from World cup they will be out of Europe(it starts 2 weeks after the final or some ridiculously short window) and will just be recovering/re-focusing in time for a tilt at a 3rd 6 nations title.

      • Roundy

         /  May 19, 2015

        There will be a lot of teams with their top players away on International duty. Personally I think the Leinster setup should be able to benefit from such a scenario. In previous seasons we have. I have my doubts that MOC can utilise the ‘second string’ players to good effect though. If he persists with the style of play he had us playing (?) this year we are doomed. However if the Dempsey style is allowed come into the setup with the newcomers (and Isa’s input) then we could see an upturn in fortunes. In the Pro12 anyway, the HC is a different matter (pool of death!)

    • SportingBench

       /  May 14, 2015

      Am I the only one who is now more interested in this mysterious ‘very pretty girl’?

  20. andrew097

     /  May 14, 2015

    Very pretty, loaded down with BT bags and knew her rugby too.

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