A Return to Traditional Wigan Values

Munster’s European campaign hit the buffers at the weekend after a feeble defeat to Stade Francais Paris.  In spite of playing against 14 men for the entire second half, it was Stade who glossed the scoreline and ran away with the match.

There were shades of this last season when Munster’s hopes depended on them going to Saracens and winning, but the effort was similarly toothless.  It feels like something of a tipping point among their fanbase with regard to their affection for the coaching ticket headed up by Anthony Foley, with most fans angry and unsympathetic – no much surprise given how they have been blamed by Foley and his chums in the meeja for not coming in enough numbers to see the team.

So what went wrong?  Pretty much everything.  CJ Stander, who was about the only player who performed close to his level, afterwards admitted that although the team talked at half time about what they had to do – play at pace and make the extra man count – they just didn’t do it.  He described them as lacking energy, walking to lineouts.  That speaks to a lack of belief and stomach for the fight, and Alan Quinlan was unsparing in his post-match criticism.

Another who launched a scathing attack on management was none other than Johne Murphy, but for many that sounded like a hatchet job, a chance that Murphy was only dying to take to get one over on a coach who never really took to him.  But if indeed that is indeed the case, it raises a point worth thinking about.  Murphy, as we all know, came in for personal criticism in the infamous player-assessment email that was accidentaly distributed just a few weeks into Foley’s tenure, which is presumably a factor in his bitterness towards Foley.  But he wasn’t the only one, so are there other players around the squad who still harbour resentment towards the coach?  It certainly doesn’t appear as if the team are playing for their lives, or for the coach’s future – Simon Zebo’s performance in Paris smacked of a man with the south of France on his mind, and both Earls and Donnacha Ryan are not fulfilling expectations as two of the go-to veterans of the team.

Quinlan, in his article for the Indo yesterday, came up with the left-field suggestion that the province should dial 021-DECCIE and bring back the auld cute hoor for a renaissance.  After all, Deccie won two Heineken Cups and knows the province inside out.  It seems a bizarre idea, though.  They already have a coach – a whole team of them in fact! – who are hugely passionate about the province, and who know everything there is to know about Munster rugby. But it’s not really what they need – that being an experienced hand with a good technical skillset.

And seemingly the IRFU are ain agreement – the lads need a bit of help, and so they’re sending their latest hire, Andy Farrell, down south to work as a ‘consultant’ for the rest of the season.  It’s a major decision, not least because it’s obviously been foisted upon Foley and his backroom chums and doesn’t reflect all too well on them.  It’s a decent idea in theory – a voice from outside the province is certainly needed – but in practice it’s hard to know how much he’ll be able to add, especially if it’s a source of tension within the camp.  One thing’s for sure, Farrell is a strong character and will try to impose his will on the team.  Be prepared for a return to, erm, traditional Wigan values.

The sense that Munster are reaping what they sowed in appointing this group is inescapable. We blogged back in spring 2014 on Axel’s appointment and his ALL-MUNSTER ticket. While much of the critical commentary went as far as a damp Beatles-at-Shea-Stadium esque fawning over a “return to traditional Munster values”, we had some concerns:

“His main issue- as is the case for seemingly every Munster coach since the year dot – will be recruiting and developing capable centres to provide a threat and most importantly, bring the lethal strike runners Simon Zebo and Keith Earls onto the ball as much as possible.  Casey Laulala is heading for the exit and it looks increasingly like James Downey will be joining him.  Foley will need to recruit, and recruit well.” In fact – Foley has not only recruited badly (Tyler Bleyendaal, journeyman Andrew Smith) but he’s allowed JJ Hanrahan to leave, has converted Denis Hurley into the new Ma’a Nonu Shontayne Hape, and has presided over the catastrophic decline in form of Ian Keatley.

“One must say, it’s a big gamble – every member of the coaching staff will be making a step up to a position they have never been in before. Most coaching tickets you see appointed have a few grizzled veterans or older hands in there to offer continuity. The gamble Munster are taking is that Axel provides the continuity and the chaps with familiar faces and accents will takes to Munster like ducks to water, ensuring a seemless transition.” The gamble has failed pretty comprehensively, no doubt about it, and the appointment of Farrell is more evidence.

And perhaps most cutting from a fans perspective:

“He can expect an easier ride in the media than Penney got, because there will be huge goodwill behind him, and, how shall we put this, most of the key pundits are great pals with him!  But Munster fans will be as demanding as ever, and he’ll be expected to at least hit the marks Rob Penney did over the last two years.” Funny, this one turned out to be on the money

Anyway, it looks like a no-win situation for Foley – no improvement, and he’ll get the blame, they do better, and Farrell gets the credit. And an upturn in results is possible as the fixtures look relatively kind, albeit with the potential for (more) serious humiliation:

  • ERC: Stade Francais (H) – after last week, even a losing bonus point will be seen as a victory of sorts, but a victory is conceivable – Stade have only won one away game all year and have succumbed to the might of .. um .. Brive and Agen
  • ERC: Treviso (A) – surely they won’t lose .. surely!
  • Zebre (A) – see above
  • Ospreys (H)
  • Glasgae (A) – two tough fixtures, but during the Six Nations both will be denuded to an extent Munster clearly won’t, with only one player (Conor Murray) currently a lock in the Irish 23
  • Treviso (A)
  • Dragons (H)
  • Zebre (H) – 3 wins in a row would be your baseline expectation here

So not impossible that by Easter, Munster are back in the top 4 of the league with ERC qualification assured and with some sort of momentum garnered .. for which Farrell gets the credit. Foley’s team are most certainly dead ducks, and it remains to see whether the man himself is as well – both Ulster and Leinster have sacked coaches late in the season and wound up scrambling to get a coaching team in place.

That said, they’ll need to get several of the units on the pitch working far better.  The scrum has been awful all season, and there’s little that can be done at this stage short of winding back BJ Botha’s clock by five years.  The second row has been remarkably poor considering they have three internationals to choose from, and CJ Stander has been virtually a one man band in the backrow.  As for Ian Keatley, his haywire season took another nosedive on Saturday; all the more remarkable as he was man of the match against Ulster the previous week.  Meanwhile Simon Zebo’s mind appears to be halfway to Toulouse.  At least they can console themselves that they won’t lose too many players for the Six Nations.

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63 Comments

  1. Lop12

     /  January 12, 2016

    Nail hit on head pretty much there. the only two minor comments Id make there

    1. Andrew Smith was actually decent bit of recruitment IMO. He didn’t cost a fortune, knew where the try line was and was capable of defending his channel. We have signed a lot worse than him and there are a lot worse options left in the squad!!!

    2. The backrow has been a problem area but to be fair Jack O Donoghue has done ok, Dave O Callaghan has done ok both played out of position in an extremely unbalanced back row when we often started with three 8s. When all are fit we will have CJ/POM/TOD/JOD/DOC and Copeland to choose from. This is the one area id give Foley a pass, he has been unlucky with injuries. Even then, we signed a 7 (sean doyle) to cover for TOD on short term basis and apparently IRFU condition of contract was that he didn’t play unless no other Irish back row available. So he didn’t play for the first team, even once. That was poor recruitment.

    Any idea when Jackman and Prendergast are off contract? Being a semi successful, unlikely to break the bank, perhaps might be interested pairing.

    • Bit of a hospital pass though isn’t it? Would Jackman leave Grenoble for Munster?

      • curates_egg

         /  January 12, 2016

        Have you read his autobiography? There’d be some amount of words for him to eat to make that leap!
        Also, Grenoble is under-performing/delivering in relative terms in the Top 14, based on its budget and league table position.

        • I haven’t read it. Thought it was only Connacht he was critical of in the book, though I know he fell out with Cheika at Leinster too. Maybe he’ll rock up at Ulster one day (then again, maybe not).

          • curates_egg

             /  January 13, 2016

            He has good and bad things to say about his time in Connacht and Leinster (my memory of what he wrote about Connacht is overwhelmingly positive). My biggest take-away from the book was his (and other Leinster players’) singular obsession with Munster in a negative way.

    • Amiga500

       /  January 12, 2016

      Sean Doyle is IQ.

      • What was it you said, wait I remember,

        “Yes, lets all employ Rugby League attack coaches, that’s a definite way to go – I know – lets employ Andy Farrell as the Irish attack coach – he’s a rugby league legend – sure what could go wrong?
        Who is lurching from public faux pas to idiotic statement to blissful ignorance I wonder?”

        It appears that the IRFU and Munster don’t share your opinion.

        • Amiga500

           /  January 12, 2016

          Yes… and lets see how successful it is. Certainly didn’t work in his last venture.

          Note – I made the post long after Farrell had been announced as the new Irish DEFENCE coach.

          He is not being taken on as an ATTACK coach with Ireland and does not appear to be going to Munster as an ATTACK coach – which is the specific role you repeatedly highlight for retired rugby league legends.

        • Pedantics. He is a Consultant responsible for providing advice on attack, defense and more.

          • Amiga500

             /  January 14, 2016

            Bullshit.

            He failed miserably when sliding over to take on England’s attack as well as defence.

            He’s employed solely as a defence coach for Ireland – which was no doubt shaped by his earlier failures.

          • Swearing isnt going to help you save face. An insular, parochial outlook from fans who are uninformed and resort to swearing reflects exactly the reason why Ulsters trophy cabinet is empty.
            You need to do some homework on Farrells role with Munster before spewing anymore nonsense.
            Do you believe that Joe and the IRFU think that they are taking on a coach to fail with Ireland?

          • Can we keep it civil please?

  2. Have to say, I always think that traditional-values stuff (which is by no means a Munster preserve, for the record, “he understands the club” is a line that transcends sports and geography as far as I can tell) has about 10% merit and is about 90% esoteric waffle nonsense. So, better than homeopathy but not by much.

    Rob Penney has been in Japan for nearly two seasons now – when would his contract be up? Might sound like I’m joking but, no, genuine question.

    • Peter Daly

       /  January 12, 2016

      Unfortunately there’d be no way Penney would come back to the snake pit that is Munster Rugby

    • osheaf01

       /  January 13, 2016

      Penney, like JJ Hanrahan, is permanently in the “Why the F**K did we let him leave??” category, unfortunately.

  3. D6W

     /  January 12, 2016

    Has Zebo already signed for a French club? Last Saturday was hardly a come and get me performance.

  4. Hairy Naomh Mhuire

     /  January 12, 2016

    Above is bang on the money – and amply demonstrates that the current predicament was hardly unforeseen. I watched Munster a fair bit over the last few weeks and hard to know if I’m more surprised by dire execution of basic skills or the fact that so many players look resigned to their fate rather than willing to dig in and try to find a solution.
    Two points I would make. Firstly could there possibly be a role for Kidney in looking at Academy structures and role of clubs in nurturing young talent? Would appear to be badly needed and would dove-tail to some extent with the day job. Secondly Foley may have bigger concerns than Farrell getting credit for an upturn in form. Farrell has an advisory role. But advising whom? Will Foley see him as Nucifora’s man coming down to see wtf is going on? Wouldn’t be biggest shocker if he considered this structure to be unsustainable.

    • I think that’s exactly the thing Kidney is worst at. I know he’s a school teacher and all that but his time at Munster coincided with a period where they had no requirement to bring academy players through the team and he stands to be criticised for not looking after tomorrow in his time there. Kidney’s main strength has always been the day-to-day, preparing his teams for particular matches.

    • connachtexile

       /  January 12, 2016

      Eric Elwood is the Domestic Rugby Manager for Connacht so putting Kidney in a similar role wouldn’t be a huge risk, he knows the people and the province well, he’s also more of a delegator than a technician so putting systems in place and letting them work might not be the worst role for him. He’s also a canny politician which you’d need dealing with some of the folks that run the game down south. The things is would he accept it?

      • connachtexile

         /  January 12, 2016

        @Whiff I take your criticism but if he was put in with a clear brief I think he could do a job for them.

      • ruckinhell

         /  January 12, 2016

        To be fair Eric Elwood did a lot to put things right in Connacht and he left the province in better shape than he had received it. Kidney on the other hand left an absolute basket case for his replacements with laughable academy structures and little or no succession planning. This is a man whose plan for Irish tighthead for years was “Let’s hope that the Bull Hayes can survive a little bit longer……”

        Kidney is absolutely not the man to review the structures- he would propose just the kind of non-decisions masked as “compromises” which have gotten us into this position. We are competing in a hyper-competitive professional market and yet we constantly make decisions based on amateur, historic considerations. I say this as a Corkman but the bilocation of Munster rugby is absurd. We chose Limerick as the main training centre- focus all rugby related activities there from now on. Main team, academy, everything. Pawn Musgrave park off to whoever will take it and treat Cork as an outreach sector the same as Tipperary, Kerry, etc. Harsh decisions are needed and the current “appease the Conn blazers and we’ll be grand” mentality will not suffice.

        • Isn’t the problem that the main stadium was built in the wrong city – the smaller of the two in the province that got the sharp end in the great recession more than any other in the country? Surely there’s more money to chase in Cork and Musgrave should be used more maybe even extended?

          • Peter Daly

             /  January 12, 2016

            You’re probably not wrong but Thomand Park has such history and is seen as the home of Munster rugby. In pure financial terms Cork would’ve made more sense but I don’t think leaving Thomand was ever on the cards. And I don’t think it’s the stadium that’s the problem though they could do more to facilitate fans getting to and from Cork/Limerick for games. The issue is having one foot in each base at all levels. Madness.

    • Wigan innovated the Academy structure for developing young players in the UK. This goes so far back that Farrell himself is a product of that structure. Wigan is a community club similar to Munster in that they rely heavily on the local production line of juniors. Don’t be surprised to see the Munster Academy radically overhauled by next season with probably a different structure that does what it is supposed to do upskill and produce talent. The average age of the present Wigan squad is 22.

      • Peter Daly

         /  January 12, 2016

        Farrell is a strong character but I don’t think 6 months is enough time to overhaul the Munster Academy. There’s way too much sh*te going on behind the scenes to fix it in that time.

        • He will make recommendations but it depends just how much Munster buy into it.

          • Peter Daly

             /  January 12, 2016

            He’ll make recommendations but they’ll be totally ignored because what would a bloody Englishman know about Munster rugby

        • Wow. Was that the approach with Penny?

          • Peter Daly

             /  January 12, 2016

            Pretty much

          • seiko

             /  January 12, 2016

            No. This bullshit about Penney is really annoying. Penney had accepted a one year contract extension (like most coaches are offered when in their third year in Irish Provinces i.e., Joe Schmidt with Leinster), when he got offered life changing amounts to go coach in Japan. If anyone is to be aggrieved, it should be Munster Rugby, but despite that Penney seems to have left on good terms with Munster so it would be no surprise if he returned when his contract is finished in Japan as he seems to follow Munster Rugby avidly on his twitter account. He has even posted on his twitter account that if circumstances allowed he would like to come back.

          • Peter Daly

             /  January 13, 2016

            That wasn’t what I was alluding to but I’ll go with it. I don’t think the one year extension was the major issue for Penney, it was what would happen during, and most importantly after that one year. It was clear for all the see that Munster were bidding their time until they appointed Foley. Baring an incredible season Penney would’ve been out of a job the following season and who knows if a Japanese offer, or any other, would be on the table. With a young family how could he turn down a lucrative 3 year deal for a job on less wages when he’s 90% certain he’ll be shown the door in 12 months?

            He was also being constantly undermined in the press by pundits and former players who gave him no credit when things went well and layed all the blame at his door when things didn’t. He had plans to drag Munster into the 21st century but was met with countless barriers. And it’s worth pointing out this wasn’t a guy coming to Ireland chasing the money. He came here to further his career. He was an ambitious guy who’d been overlooked back home who saw Munster as a way to fulfill his goals. Moving to Japan was an option when he first came to Ireland but he turned offers down then. What changed? He realised was on a hiding to nothing. He knew it was only a matter of time before the rug was pulled from under him and that’s why he jumped before he was pushed.

            Link to his twitter account please? I’d love to give him a follow.

  5. If Andy Farrell can deal with the Joggers, and we have a few, most notably one who declared on signing for Munster that he’d be in no rush to influence things and never got out of that mindset in my opinion, and identify and promote the right kind of characters no matter what their age or experience then he’ll have done a good job.
    It’s time to put pride on the back burner and a Wigan attitude can only help things.

    • The Wigan attitude will only work if Foley and Fitzgerald can get their head around and implement his recommendations. Could be a rough ride for some. Players and coaches.

  6. This is definitely one of the worst Munster performances in a long time..
    I think a good idea would be to create a director of rugby type role and let Foley concentrate on the coaching side of things.
    Although the fact that he let a player of Hanrahans ability leave is quite mind-boggling. A player who was in the top 5 at the U20 world cup being behind Keatley is a bit of a joke, when his teammate Jackson was already the starting 10 in Ulster for a couple of years at that stage..
    There is a good blog for the Munster inclined (http://threeredkings.com) that even does a bit of Murray Kinsella type analysis with gif’s..

    • Lop12

       /  January 12, 2016

      Don’t even need to go back to age grade rugby for evidence of JJ ability. In Pennys last season he scored 150 odd points in Pro12 for us with a 95% kicking strike rate. What we would give for that now.

    • osheaf01

       /  January 13, 2016

      “Although the fact that he let a player of Hanrahans ability leave is quite mind-boggling. A player who was in the top 5 at the U20 world cup being behind Keatley is a bit of a joke”

      This. Mind-boggling is being kind. It’s like Barcelona letting Lionel Messi leave and keeping Cesc Fabregas instead. Older, nowhere near as talented, far more brittle mentally…yeah, let’s keep him and dump the talented tyro.

      • D6W

         /  January 13, 2016

        It looks ludicrous now, but some people were pushing for Keatley to be Ireland’s backup 10 behind Sexton before and during last seasons 6N. Keatleys kicking stats have never been great, but it is only lately this season that the rest of his game has fallen off a cliff.

        • osheaf01

           /  January 14, 2016

          It looked ludicrous then, and I said it to anyone who would listen that Foley was a complete arse for making that rubbish, presumably personality-based decision.

        • Lop12

           /  January 15, 2016

          As bizarre was the fact that he started a 6N game last season.

      • Lop12

         /  January 15, 2016

        Id say Keatley would be thrilled with the Fabergas comparison. Id say Jermaine Defoe would be more apt. Odd flashes of brilliance interspersed with weeks/months of fans wondering why he is at their club.

  7. Cian

     /  January 12, 2016

    All good points WoC, but I feel you may have allowed the (probably negative) connotations of the appointment for the current coaching staff to overwhelm the (surprisingly good) connotations for the actual team. As a Munster fan I’m absolutely delighted that Farrell’s coming; I really would not have thought a coach of his calibre would be rocking up at Munster in any capacity in the near future. Which is not to say he’s the answer to all our problems, but his experience and reputation are streets ahead of any of the current staff, and I can only see this working out very positively for Munster rugby.

  8. After last weekend’s performance – coming on foot of losing at home to Connacht and Leinster – the gang in Munster deserve a collective boot up the hole, and no better man than Andy Farrell to deliver it. Hopefully it will have the necessary cathartic effect. Best of luck to all involved – from a Leinster fan (no irony or facetiousness intended).

  9. Seiko

     /  January 12, 2016

    I dispute your interpretation of what Johne Murphy had to say on Newstalk. He mostly talked about how upset his former teammates would be and how he felt for them and how the loss of key leaders has been massive. His other key point was how ludicrous it was having two training centres. I’d imagine even Joe Schmidt might have difficulty coaching attack if he only had his halfbacks for 2 sessions a week as they are based in Limerick and Attack/backs coach based in Cork!

    His comments about Penney were that the first year he was rigid about playing the much criticised Canterbury way and the 2nd year he toned it down a bit. He said Foley’s philosophy was play for territory.

    I really didn’t read a lot of criticism into that, certainly nothing like what you seem to have heard.

    Rumours are that Brian Walsh & Mick ODriscoll are going back to their old careers which suggests that their appointments were stopgap until Munster moved to its new training centre in Limerick.

    • connachtexile

       /  January 12, 2016

      Yeah heard that. Rumour was the Bradley was taking over for Walsh and some S.H. coach for MOD.

    • Hmmm. He said that under Penney they got close to Clermont Auvergne because they moved the point of attack, and that Penney had a positive mindset with regard to playing the game. He described how if you made an error in looking to create space, he would praise the decision but implore you to execute, but that Foley’s attitude would be ‘why didn’t you lump it 50m down the park’. It came across as critical of Foley to these ears.

      • I remember hearing at the time that when Penny took over players were taken aback (and loved) his positivity towards them, in contrast to McGahan. Johne makes it sound like Axel is more a McGahan than a Penny.

        Which must have an overall knock on effect.

      • Peter Daly

         /  January 12, 2016

        @whiifofcordite You can be critical of someone without it being a hatchet job. Also it’s entirely possible that the ‘why didn’t you lump it 50m down the park’ line was something Foley has said to players. It’s very lazy to just dismiss Murphy’s comments just because he didn’t see eye to eye with Foley and has an ax to grind.

        • seiko

           /  January 12, 2016

          He was just as critical of Penney – said he was very rigid the first year in his thinking but he modified his approach the 2nd year. He also made the point strongly about the loss of leaders to the group and lets not forget it was ROG who was pulling the strings v. Clermont.

          Ronan Murphy: McGahan was well liked and respected by the Munster players. ROG says he is the best motivator he ever had and he would have him feeling 10 feet tall going into a match. Zebo said he also had a huge influence on him as well. Penney was a kind of father figure to a lot of the players and was always positive. Still, CJ Stander didn’t prosper under him as he has under Foley.

          • curates_egg

             /  January 13, 2016

            Anything I saw of Stander under Penney was good. Wasn’t his first season interrupted by injury and failure to be included in the Heineken Cup squad though?

        • I agree. When I heard it was Murphy that was on the show I was expecting him to be pretty ruthless. He was quite measured and level headed in his arguments, and while he was critical of Foley it certainly wasn’t a hatchet job.

          • seiko

             /  January 13, 2016

            CE – There were some good reasons why CJ wasn’t registered first season (due to injury to himself and then injury to others and not having the space in the squad), but he didn’t make his breakthrough with Penney until the quarter final v. Harlequins in HCup the following year when he came off the bench when POM was injured. Stander has said he found his first two seasons very, very difficult, but its hard to ignore how CJ has blossomed at No. 8 under Axel as coach.

          • curates_egg

             /  January 13, 2016

            Wasn’t Axel his coach under Penney too though?

          • curates_egg

             /  January 13, 2016

            Also, haven’t Munster lost 2 frontline backrow in the interim?

          • Peter Daly

             /  January 13, 2016

            Stander’s arrived in Munster with a full season’s rugby already under his belt having played in Super Rugby and the Currie cup for the Bulls which meant he didn’t arrive till the end of October. Hence he wasn’t registered in the initial squad. He then broke his hand which meant he wasn’t added to the squad.

    • ORiordan

       /  January 12, 2016

      I’d forgotten that Murphy was mentioned in Excel-gate but agree that his comments didn’t come across as a hatchet job. I don’t think he mentioned anything personal and his comments seemed reasonable ones about the difference in game plan between coaches.

  10. Peter Daly

     /  January 12, 2016

    I really don’t think that Murphy’s comments sounded like a hatchet job. The Foley comments were fairly prickly but he came across as a guy who cared about what was going on with Munster and wanted them to turn things around. He might not get on with Foley but the players are his mates. If he saw these issues then one can assume that the players have spoken about them behind the scenes.

    Munster are a professional team but are still run like a parochial team. Every decision they make has to appease the “heads” in Cork and Limerick equally. Rumours are that when Foley was appointed and brought a few Limerick guys in with him he had Walsh and MOD foisted him to balance the ticket. From next season all the rugby activities will be based in Limerick but the Admin side will be in Cork. They need an outside guy to come in as CEO with no ties to Limerick or Cork to sort out the mess. Fitzgeralds power base is Cork so he’s not going to cut the cord on them despite Limerick seeming like the place to be based.

    Quinlan’s calls for Kidney are ridiculous. Going back to Munster rugby hasn’t worked with Foley so how is going even further back going to fix anything. It’s not the 90’s anymore and Munster don’t have the money or the players to compete playing the style of Rugby so many of the old guard want to see. The issue is we had a guy with strength of character and a forward thinking way of playing rugby and he was drummed out of town. The old boys club need to bury their heads in the sand for a few years and just dine out on past glories.

  11. Declan B

     /  January 12, 2016

    My concern (it’s not concern at all; Leinster fan) is that Farrell will be simply ignored by everyone in Munster. They’re not fond of outside voices really. There also seems to be a perception (rightly or wrongly) that Munster is the most politically run or the branches. You see appointments in coaching staff on a cork/limerick devide (even player contract extensions seem to go this way. Archer got a long extension even tho Foley wasn’t picking him match day squads/ TOL slow delivery brought back from England for no appearent reason) the no.9 thing seems stark, cooney and o’donohgue in Connacht not better options?
    So what happens? IRFU bail them out with Irish players? The big Nif couldn’t seem to convince Madigan to travel south. Will he have any better luck with Furlong or Moore? Will Pat Lam be moved? Along with the entire Connacht midfield?
    All in Foley seems a dead man walking…

    • osheaf01

       /  January 13, 2016

      “TOL slow delivery brought back from England for no appearent reason”

      The apparent reason is that Duncan Williams is orders of magnitude a worse scrum-half even than TOL.

    • Lop12

       /  January 15, 2016

      The point that Munster are “not fond of foreign voices” is interesting one. Not sure its true mind, and perhaps its more on the fans side than the players. Supporters generally disliked McGahan/Fisher but the players did and still rave about the quality of the coaching they got from both. if you look at the influence fellas like Langford, Jim Williams, Tipoki, Holland,Howlett etc all had on the playing group and we are constantly being reminded by players and coaches that were involved with them about the professionalism and fresh voices they brought to the squad ..so not sure it is that correct a point to say Munster is immune to outside voices

  12. Shelflife

     /  January 12, 2016

    Sorry Whiff Murphys wasn’t a hachet job or a scathing attack. Pointed out a failing of Foley but I thought it was done in a measured way.

    • seiko

       /  January 12, 2016

      I don’t think it was even referred to as a failing, more of a difference in coaching philosophy between two different coaches. Very measured comments.

  13. Pete

     /  January 14, 2016

    This may sound harsh but I’ve always though of Munster rugby as trying to put the breaks on change.

    They seem quite insular. I was so glad when penny was appointed over axel but he was vilified for not knowing what Munster rugby was about and things that maybe didn’t go his way. He got to two semi finals with a pretty mediocre team.

    I think Munster need to think way outside of their own box.

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