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    Coaching Team

    Is anyone convinced our current coaching ticket has what it takes to bring (what is a very talented team/squad) to the next level?

    For me personally, I think we are scraping our way through this season, based on individual performances from the likes of Beirne, POM, etc. Our gameplan seems outdated and telegraphed at best, and I feel if/when we get to the semis of both competitions, we will come unstuck against the real contenders. Is it the players or the coaches? For me it's the latter. In reality, we are trying to keep up with the ridiculous squad Leinster has, with inferior coaches. Felix might make a great coach in years to come, but it's madness to think he can contend with the likes of Lancaster. Not to pick on Felix, but the comparison to Lancaster is unfortunately where we are at. Also, JvG, lovely guy no doubt, but i'm never convinced when I hear him talking about rugby.

    #2
    I think the fact that this is JVG's first full season in charge still deserves to be considered, and certain things are going well - we have a pretty mean defence (second or third best in the league, I think?) and a fairly good try scoring record under him, even if the latter is slightly skewed by one or two outliers such as our record win against Ulster early in the season. However looking at things in the round, JVG has actually been with us for over a year now and while we've overcome a poor pattern of win at home/lose away in the earlier part of this season, in the past few games I certainly feel as though we have been less than the sum of our parts. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect better from our squad than scraping a late win over a hugely disrupted Ospreys (who went on to lose against Connacht 46-5 the following week) and a failure to score a single try in losing to a depleted Scarlets side whose gameplan consisted of defending a narrow lead for over an hour.

    Felix has been with us as a coach for three years, initially with the title of Technical Coach (a remit I admit I would struggle to explain in detail) and subsequently as Backs & Attack Coach. Rassie wanted him to go and join him in South Africa so it's fair to say that he should know his stuff - better than any of us here, at any rate! - yet to my untrained eyes, our attack so often seems disjointed. I thought Cowboy expressed it perfectly in the other thread when he said we don't have a lockpicker who can get through opposition defences, but I think we also suffer from a lack of continuity - for a fair while now so much of our play when in possession has been to take contact, ruck, recycle, boxkick, repeat. Stop-start, stop-start, stop-start ... We actually have some incredible talent behind the scrum, but it's all too rare that we get to see what Keith Earls or Andrew Conway can do with ball in hand. Can someone like Dan Goggin add a little bulk and develop an offloading game akin to what Chris Farrell and Stuart McCloskey do so effectively? Can Mike Haley be developed so that his first instinct is to pass to the man outside him instead of going to ground and setting up yet another ruck? Do our players have the mindset and instinct to always ensure there's a support runner ready to receive the ball and keep a quick attack going? As with Ireland recently, we are increasingly predictable and a growing number of sides have figured out how to close down/slow our attack, to the point that I seriously wonder whether we'll manage to win our upcoming games against Treviso and Connacht.

    Even if we do, it's hard to see us making it beyond a semi-final in either competition this year without something changing. Can we find the space behind onrushing defences with a better-judged/more varied kicking game? Is there a lack of ideas at the top, or is it more an inability to get players to implement an attacking strategy or accept an attacking philosophy? Perhaps there's a failure to evolve and react to refereeing trends such as the recent apparent abandonment of the offside rule in relation to the hindmost foot, which was supposed to create more space for attacking teams and which has been a key factor in nullifying our attack. Or is there some other issue entirely?

    I'm an optimist by nature and this isn't a doom-mongering rant about how awful we are and how we should get a whole new coaching ticket - that would be hyperbolic nonsense, and the last thing we need is more upheaval and disruption at the top after the last five or six years. But we definitely need to see some sort of addition or evolution to take us on the next stage of the journey from being a top five side, i.e. perennial semi-finalists, to a top three side, i.e. a side which wins trophies.
    Tis but a scratch.

    Comment


      #3
      Some great points made there Mr Chips. I wouldn't disagree with any of it. For me, there is a serious lack of cohesion in our attack play. The players seem confused, and as a result we have a huge number of handling errors in games, and it only seems to be getting worse. The more phases we go though the worse the outcome. Whereas when you look at the top teams, the more phases they go through the more they exploit a disarrayed defence. Not to bang on about Leinster too much, but they are masters at not allowing defensive lines to reshape.

      When Munster get into the redzone we still seem incapable of spotting space out wide, and the first instinct is to truck it back into traffic ad infinitum. How many years have we been watching one out runners, followed by kick chase? That was fine when we had a limited squad, but we now have a fantastic squad but not the gameplan to get to the next level. The POM, Murray, Earls, Stander generation are reaching their peak, and we need to capitalise on this before the dreaded "in transition" phrase is bandied about again for a decade.

      Not sure what the answer is, but our results seem to paper over clear cracks in our attack. I would love to see an experienced head being brought in to mentor Felix, and help bring him and the team to the next level. He is only 31. It's mad to think he is attack coach for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, having no experience at any level before taking the role. Leo looked fuqed before Lancaster was brought in, and now look at how far they re ahead of the pack. Coaching is everything.

      Comment


        #4
        Is I realise what both posts are saying- our attack looks predictable and ineffective. However, PRo14 stats this year show 78 tries scored, three Deere than Glasgow and five fewer than Leinster, our 42 conceded is second only to Glasgow (38). In HCUP we have conceded fewer tries than anyone else, our tries scored (14) is way down joint 13th out of 20 teams. That’s harder to interpret because the groups are very different from each other.

        All of that acknowledged (which means I think we are effective attackers, and fierce defenders) I too would prefer we looked more coherent, tactically versatile, and just, well, convincing. I believe we can beat any of the teams we are likely to face in the HCUP, given neutral venues for semi and final, as long as we don’t have to face Leinster in Dublin, the same is true of the Pro14. Maybe I am dreaming.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jagawayagain View Post
          Is I realise what both posts are saying- our attack looks predictable and ineffective. However, PRo14 stats this year show 78 tries scored, three Deere than Glasgow and five fewer than Leinster, our 42 conceded is second only to Glasgow (38). In HCUP we have conceded fewer tries than anyone else, our tries scored (14) is way down joint 13th out of 20 teams. That’s harder to interpret because the groups are very different from each other.

          All of that acknowledged (which means I think we are effective attackers, and fierce defenders) I too would prefer we looked more coherent, tactically versatile, and just, well, convincing. I believe we can beat any of the teams we are likely to face in the HCUP, given neutral venues for semi and final, as long as we don’t have to face Leinster in Dublin, the same is true of the Pro14. Maybe I am dreaming.
          I agree that on our day we can probably beat anybody, but for me that's down to the individual brilliance of our players, as opposed to the game-plan/tactics implemented by the coaches. If we had a better system, I think we would go from beating anybody on our day, to being genuine title contenders, who expect to win every day.

          Comment


            #6
            I think we have done very well at times this season, and at other times not so well, the factors that have decided that are typically what players are available or not

            The Good:
            Beating Leinster and in the fashion we did so was a welcome performance.
            We would have gained a home QF had the game in Castres been refereed correctly, or not even correctly but any way less badly.
            We got a result in terrible conditions against a great Exeter side without Murray, the coaches have to take credit for a lot of that
            We hammered Glaws home and away
            We have come on a lot since last season, a lot of that is due to the shrewd signings of Beirne, Carbery and to a lesser extent Haley and Alby, overall the additions to the squad have been excellent and that goes back to a lot of the work Rassie did. I cant remember the last player we signed that was a waste...??

            We cant expect to be as good a team when combinations of player like Killer, Ryan, Beirne, Kleyn, POM, CJ, Murray, Earls, or Farrell are not available.


            The Bad:
            There is a lot of Rotation, we know who our best 9&10 are, but we have no clue who the best backup 9&10 are. OH's need consistency and currently Tyler, JJ and BJ are geting game time at 10 while Cronin, Alby and the Dunc are playing at 9, and limiting each others which cant be good for the players playing outside them.

            The season kinda goes like this, your best players come back late, you get 80%-90% of your best team on the pitch in the two games before the HCUP games, you have your best team for the HCUP group games and then you spend the rest of the season juggling resources, managing time, reintroducing players post injury, giving new players minutes or else hoping you can get someone to cover a position well enough while also suffering from players being rusty. Then after the 6N you take stock of who is available and its all out for HCUP QF and hopefully Semi and Final, while also trying to maintain or improve your League position.

            The biggest disappointment for me is the performances of our League team in some games as opposed to our cup team, because we can still field great players who are there or thereabouts international level like Marshall, Kleyn, Holland, Cloete, Alby, Tyler, Scannell.

            I dont have an issue with the coaches, yea it would be nice to score more flashy trys, but its not the be all and end all.

            Comment


              #7
              Considering we have 4 guaranteed starters in the Irish side and a rake of guys who flit in and out I think we are already defying the level of the squad by making semi finals and finals.

              We won 4 trophies9 or 10 years ago with the Irish test 1 to 10. 4 titles for all that blood sweat and toil


              I always get a feeling of far away hills are green when these threads crop up. Rassie wanted to bring Felix to SA, are the guys who make these decisions a bit more equiped to discern good from bad coaches? Probably

              WE SHOULD GET GRAHAM HENRY! when the small matters of money, player quality and stability are just incidentals

              Wish it was as easy as changing a lightbulb
              I am the million man.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Cowboy View Post
                Considering we have 4 guaranteed starters in the Irish side and a rake of guys who flit in and out I think we are already defying the level of the squad by making semi finals and finals.

                We won 4 trophies9 or 10 years ago with the Irish test 1 to 10. 4 titles for all that blood sweat and toil


                I always get a feeling of far away hills are green when these threads crop up. Rassie wanted to bring Felix to SA, are the guys who make these decisions a bit more equiped to discern good from bad coaches? Probably

                WE SHOULD GET GRAHAM HENRY! when the small matters of money, player quality and stability are just incidentals

                Wish it was as easy as changing a lightbulb
                Well then what is the problem in your view, or do you think we should be happy with our lot? Munster has always been a team that strives to be more than the sum of its parts. We may have only won 4 titles with the Golden Generation, but that was at a time when the level of competition in Europe was fierce. The English teams are now universally beatable with the exception of Sarries (a fading light at that), and there are one/two decent French teams. The dynasties of old have all fallen, and now it is our neighbours that have emerged to make hay. Go back prior to Lancaster's arrival though, and they were relatively ordinary.

                I'm not too bothered by what Rassie did or did not try to do, we've all been watching enough rugby to be able to know that we're not getting the best out of our current crop of players.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Sketchy View Post

                  Well then what is the problem in your view
                  There isn't one.

                  If you can show me any of the 4 teams who make the final of league or cup who would have Billy Holland, Stephen Archer or Hanrahan on their respective benches ahead of their own subs I'd be genuinely surprised. I'm not hammering those three but the top sides have a top 23 and we are not there, yet.

                  We drew in Exeter
                  Battered the ****e out of Leinster
                  Beat Exeter after destroying Glos

                  We qualified for a quarter final and a playoff in the league is more than likely, we are ticking along just as we should be

                  We've one loss in ten
                  I am the million man.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Williams hasn't featured for us in ages, not since we played Edinburgh in November - any time Murray has been absent, it's been Mathewson-Cronin with Williams playing for Con in the AIL. Hopefully that's a sign that Cronin is on the path to being our backup scrumhalf for next season (assuming Alby definitely leaves at the end of this one). Obviously with JJ having had another spell on the physio table until recently, any time Carbery's been away the 10/22 jerseys have been filled by Johnston/Bleyendaal, but now that JJ is fit again one of the key decisions the coaches will have to make over the remainder of the season is who will get the nod. Correct me if I'm wrong, but over the course of the season I think that of the games involving Bleyendaal, he has usually started at 12 rather than 10 or else has been on the bench. While there was a lot to be dissatisfied about our trip to Llanelli, IMO starting Johnston was one thing we got right and I hope he'll continue to have more time invested in him between now and season's end.

                    For sure, scoring flashy tries isn't the be all & end all - however when our usual route one approach doesn't pay off, it'd be good to have another couple of strings to our bow and when we have the talent on the wings in particular, it's just daft that we don't make full use of them. Losing to Scarlets was one thing, but the nature of our away wins against Ospreys (13-19), Dragons (7-8) and even the one over Connacht all showed up a trend for losing control and/or failing to dominate physically (or at least, translate physical dominance into points on the board). We fell over the line in those games, especially the ones in Wales. While it's true that in the earlier part of the season we might have actually lost them, (I'm thinking in particular of the losses away to Cardiff and Glasgow, where we simply failed to turn up), other than the away wins over Cheetahs and Edinburgh we still haven't reversed the trend of playing poorly away from home against any but the weakest opponents.

                    Too often, when it comes to possession and territory we've either been ahead or almost equal, but failed to reflect that dominance/parity on the scoreboard. E.g. in Cardiff, we had 51% possession and 52% territory, but lost 37-13. In Rodney Parade, those numbers were 66% and 65% respectively, yet we won by just a single point. In Glasgow, they were 49% and 48% but we were comprehensively beaten 25-10. In Dublin, we had 65% possession and 68% territory and still lost 30-22.

                    What this means is that all too often, we are blunt - ok at hanging onto the ball, battering away at the opposition defence inside their 22 but ultimately too predictable, too easy to defend against and so failing to turn all that possession and all that territorial advantage into scores. We simply have to maximise our playing resources and develop our attack to be sharper - not because it makes for good highlights clips, but because without doing so we aren't on the road to a trophy. It's great being a contender but to quote Eric Elwood, "I want to f*ckin win".
                    Last edited by mr chips; 7th-March-2019, 13:30.
                    Tis but a scratch.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mr chips View Post
                      Williams hasn't featured for us in ages, not since we played Edinburgh in November - any time Murray has been absent, it's been Mathewson-Cronin with Williams playing for Con in the AIL. Hopefully that's a sign that Cronin is on the path to being our backup scrumhalf for next season (assuming Alby definitely leaves at the end of this one). Obviously with JJ having had another spell on the physio table until recently, any time Carbery's been away the 10/22 jerseys have been filled by Johnston/Bleyendaal, but now that JJ is fit again one of the key decisions the coaches will have to make over the remainder of the season is who will get the nod. Correct me if I'm wrong, but over the course of the season I think that of the games involving Bleyendaal, he has usually started at 12 rather than 10 or else has been on the bench. While there was a lot to be dissatisfied about our trip to Llanelli, IMO starting Johnston was one thing we got right and I hope he'll continue to have more time invested in him between now and season's end.

                      For sure, scoring flashy tries isn't the be all & end all - however when our usual route one approach doesn't pay off, it'd be good to have another couple of strings to our bow and when we have the talent on the wings in particular, it's just daft that we don't make full use of them. Losing to Scarlets was one thing, but the nature of our away wins against Ospreys (13-19), Dragons (7-8) and even the one over Connacht all showed up a trend for losing control and/or failing to dominate physically (or at least, translate physical dominance into points on the board). We fell over the line in those games, especially the ones in Wales. While it's true that in the earlier part of the season we might have actually lost them, (I'm thinking in particular of the losses away to Cardiff and Glasgow, where we simply failed to turn up), other than the away wins over Cheetahs and Edinburgh we still haven't reversed the trend of playing poorly away from home against any but the weakest opponents.

                      Too often, when it comes to possession and territory we've either been ahead or almost equal, but failed to reflect that dominance/parity on the scoreboard. E.g. in Cardiff, we had 51% possession and 52% territory, but lost 37-13. In Rodney Parade, those numbers were 66% and 65% respectively, yet we won by just a single point. In Glasgow, they were 49% and 48% but we were comprehensively beaten 25-10. In Dublin, we had 65% possession and 68% territory and still lost 30-22.

                      What this means is that all too often, we are blunt - ok at hanging onto the ball, battering away at the opposition defence inside their 22 but ultimately too predictable, too easy to defend against and so failing to turn all that possession and all that territorial advantage into scores. We simply have to maximise our playing resources and develop our attack to be sharper - not because it makes for good highlights clips, but because without doing so we aren't on the road to a trophy. It's great being a contender but to quote Eric Elwood, "I want to f*ckin win".
                      Spot on, however the pebble in my shoe is that if you sent what Eddie calls the 'full metal jacket' to Rodney Parade, The back pitch in Cardiff, or Galway in a key game over the next two months they would obliterate these sides with gay abandon.

                      I dont subscribe to hitting the panic button when a side containing mostly fringe guys struggles to win away in the league during the 6N window.

                      I DO subscribe to hitting the panic button if we go flaccid in yet another semi final, nothing else really matters because its been plain as the nose on my face that Munster can make the knockout of the P14 without ever taking it too seriously.

                      I cant comment on our bluntness until we see more of the attacking threats in the side, namely Beirne Carbery Farrell, with some semblance of stability and not injury.

                      Its just a bit too early to determine where we are at, because what we are doing for the last two games won't matter a trupenny **** - most of the team will be changed up for the remainder of the campaign. I'd be confident that even IF munster were to be drawn away for a league knockout they'd beat the opposition.


                      TLDR: The shadow Munster side is a bit meh, the first XV is better than its been in years. Just watch this again and tell me we are not at the races

                      Last edited by Cowboy; 7th-March-2019, 13:43.
                      I am the million man.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Cowboy View Post

                        There isn't one.

                        If you can show me any of the 4 teams who make the final of league or cup who would have Billy Holland, Stephen Archer or Hanrahan on their respective benches ahead of their own subs I'd be genuinely surprised. I'm not hammering those three but the top sides have a top 23 and we are not there, yet.

                        We drew in Exeter
                        Battered the ****e out of Leinster
                        Beat Exeter after destroying Glos

                        We qualified for a quarter final and a playoff in the league is more than likely, we are ticking along just as we should be

                        We've one loss in ten
                        Ah come on now, we stuttered our way through that Leinster game, and looked afraid to really go for the juggler against them. The intensity was great, but the performance lacked a killer edge for me. And that home Exeter game that we won was one of the worst performances of the season if you ask me. It literally exemplified all that is wrong in my view. Gloucester are a nothing side on the grand scheme, and in any case, we still huffed and puffed in Thomond despite the Cipriani red card. It's certainly not doom and gloom, i'll certainly agree to that, but as i've said already, I just think we could get more from that group of players. And it's not about being flashy as Chips said, it's about converting opportunities in the redzone when they arise.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by mr chips View Post

                          What this means is that all too often, we are blunt - ok at hanging onto the ball, battering away at the opposition defence inside their 22 but ultimately too predictable, too easy to defend against and so failing to turn all that possession and all that territorial advantage into scores. We simply have to maximise our playing resources and develop our attack to be sharper - not because it makes for good highlights clips, but because without doing so we aren't on the road to a trophy. It's great being a contender but to quote Eric Elwood, "I want to f*ckin win".
                          +1

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Sketchy View Post

                            Ah come on now, we stuttered our way through that Leinster game, and looked afraid to really go for the juggler against them. The intensity was great, but the performance lacked a killer edge for me. And that home Exeter game that we won was one of the worst performances of the season if you ask me. It literally exemplified all that is wrong in my view. Gloucester are a nothing side on the grand scheme, and in any case, we still huffed and puffed in Thomond despite the Cipriani red card. It's certainly not doom and gloom, i'll certainly agree to that, but as i've said already, I just think we could get more from that group of players. And it's not about being flashy as Chips said, it's about converting opportunities in the redzone when they arise.
                            You’re forgetting that we could also have beaten Leinster in Dublin in October, apart from a dodgy decision to say Sammy knocked on passing to Earls who ran in unopposed, plus the extremely harsh decision to award a YC and a penalty try against Earls early in the game
                            "There are a lot of points that we’ve left behind and this is with a young group. That probably tells you what they’re capable of and that they’re a very good side.

                            Probably next year or the year after next they will take some stopping"

                            Anthony Foley, May 2016. Axel RIP

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I think most of us posting on this are on the same page, we would like to be doing better than we are and we probably need to be in order to turn results into trophies, and it is trophies rather than semi-finals we want. However, some poor performances aside, how many more tries do you think we should be scoring more than Glasgow or Leinster? Or is it more expansive tries we want to see?

                              I'm with Cowboy in saying that we need to see how we do at the business end of the season before making a call on whether our coaching and/or squad isnt good enough. Thus far, with a rake of injuries, international calls, player management it's genuinely hard to say.

                              I'd also add to Lawrence's "The Good" by noting the introduction of, or added experience the likes of Fineen, BJ, Goggin, Coombes, Cronin, and a few more have had this season. It hasnt always been through choice, but we are developing some fine young players as well as getting towards the end of the season more or less where we'd like to be at this stage, and were last season...second (until Glasgow play Leinster) in the pro14, and a winnable quarter final in HCUP... but with a noticeably stronger side.

                              Comment

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