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Munster Squad 2019-2020

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    and continued

    Second row

    Billy Holland [34, 227]
    Jean Kleyn [26, 70]
    Fineen Wycherley [22, 39]
    Tadhg Beirne [28, 25]
    RG Snyman [25, 0]

    The signing of World Cup winner RG Snyman looks like have a game-changing effect for Munster, with his physicality, set-piece skills and power in contact rounded out by excellent offloading and passing ability.

    Snyman and Jean Kleyn both scrummage on the tighthead side of the second row, with the latter having earned a spot in Ireland’s World Cup last year before a neck injury meant he was unavailable for possible Six Nations selection under Farrell.

    Jackal supreme Tadhg Beirne’s 2019/20 campaign was ended early by an ankle injury so he will be eager to establish his status as a key man again. He can also play at blindside flanker and may fill that slot at times. If not, a second row pairing of Beirne – who can call lineouts – and Snyman could be complementary for Munster.

    West Cork’s 22-year-old Fineen Wycherley is another option at loosehead lock and brings an abrasive edge for the province as he continues to improve in all aspects of the game.

    34-year-old Billy Holland is still an important member of the set-up thanks to his leadership, lineout skills, doggedness, ability to scrummage at tighthead lock, and more. He is determined to win a trophy with Munster before his career ends.

    Meanwhile, it would be a shock if the highly-promising Ireland U20 lock Thomas Ahern doesn’t feature for the senior team in the season ahead having underlined his potential earlier this year.

    Back row

    Tommy O’Donnell [33, 177]
    CJ Stander [30, 141]
    Peter O’Mahony [30, 133]
    Jack O’Donoghue [26, 116]
    Chris Cloete [29, 40]
    Gavin Coombes [22, 14]
    Jack O’Sullivan [21, 7]

    Jack O'Donoghue, Peter O'Mahony, Gavin Coombes, and Chris Cloete are among the back row options.Source: Munster Rugby/INPHO

    Ireland number eight CJ Stander’s relentlessness makes him an obvious pick at number eight for Munster whenever available but he and captain Peter O’Mahony will likely have their minutes well managed during the season ahead, as usual.

    That said, it will be intriguing to see how Munster select their back row for the biggest games. With Beirne a live option at blindside, O’Mahony could shift into the number seven shirt as has been the case at times in the past.

    However, Jack O’Donoghue is coming off a superb season in 2019/20, earning a return to the Ireland squad. With his lineout and maul skills having improved impressively, he offers lots of different skills and is also a possible future Munster captain.

    It’s still a little unclear what O’Donoghue’s ‘best’ position is, or if O’Mahony is an openside, but the reality is that van Graan and co. simply need to select three back row players [plus replacements] who best fit their specific game plan each time they play.

    With that in mind, Chris Cloete’s breakdown threat may be useful, particularly with the refreshed breakdown interpretations, and Munster will challenge him to deliver more consistency and better discipline.

    Tommy O’Donnell will be keen to use his experience and work ethic to remain involved in the biggest Munster games, while the younger senior squad back rows – Gavin Coombes and Jack O’Sullivan – will be very keen to impress when given opportunities

    Coombes could potentially also cover the second row, while there is real excitement about O’Sullivan’s potential after he won his first Champions Cup cap last season. Promising academy back row John Hodnett also got senior exposure earlier this year and will hope for more minutes in 2020/21.

    Comment


      And the backs and Academy

      Scrum-half

      Conor Murray [31, 137]
      Neil Cronin [27, 23]
      Nick McCarthy [25, 8]
      Craig Casey [21, 7]

      31-year-old Conor Murray will be motivated to earn a Lions place next summer. He may not have been at his 2018 heights last season but there is an increasing tendency to overlook his qualities, particularly his strong kicking and excellent defensive work. He will be out to prove a point.

      21-year-old Craig Casey is the up-and-coming prospect. Small in size but a vocal and fiery presence, his rapid-fire passing is impressive. Having only made his Champions Cup debut last season, he still has huge amounts to learn but Munster fans are expecting to see him feature extensively.

      25-year-old Nick McCarthy will be hoping to improve on a first season with the province that never really got going as he might have hoped. He had four starts after his move from Leinster so will be battling Murray, Casey, and Neil Cronin all the way.

      Cronin has delivered for the province when called upon over the last two seasons and offers tactical maturity at scrum-half.

      Out-half

      JJ Hanrahan [27, 121]
      Joey Carbery [24, 17]

      JJ Hanrahan [second from right] will likely start the season as Munster's starter at 10.Source: Munster Rugby/INPHO

      With Tyler Bleyendaal forced into retirement, Munster come into the season with only two recognised out-halves in their senior squad. With Joey Carbery not due back from injury until September, JJ Hanrahan will likely start the campaign as first-choice number 10, a role he filled in Carbery’s absence last season.

      Hanrahan had perhaps his best season ever in 2019/20, is still only 27, and will feel he still has plenty of growth left in his game, although it’s clear that Carbery is the province’s first-choice when fit. The talented Ireland international will be hoping his cruel injury run is at an end when he returns from the latest ankle and wrist issues.

      If Carbery does get fully fit and returns to the Ireland fold, Hanrahan will remain a central figure for Munster but will obviously require back-up.

      Inside centre Rory Scannell is another possible option for Munster at out-half, having played there previously, but Year 3 academy man Ben Healy earned his first three senior caps last season including a Champions Cup appearance, showing his potential.

      The promising pair of Jake Flannery – who also plays at fullback and made his senior debut last season – and Jack Crowley provide further options in Munster’s academy.

      Centre

      Rory Scannell [26, 124]
      Dan Goggin [25, 58]
      Chris Farrell [27, 35]
      Alex McHenry [22, 1]
      Damian de Allende [28, 0]

      The signing of Damian de Allende means Munster now have one of the best midfielders in the sport in their squad and it seems clear that the Springbok will team up with Ireland international Chris Farrell in the centre combination for the biggest games.

      However, the ultra-consistent Rory Scannell is likely to remain a key member of the squad at inside centre and will hope that Stephen Larkham’s growing influence can allow him to be the ‘second five eighth’ style player he has always aimed to be.

      Dan Goggin has recently undergone ankle surgery but provides a strong option in both midfield positions, with underrated skill levels to match his physicality.

      Alex McHenry steps up from the academy this season having impressed with Cork Con in the AIL and will be eager to add to his single senior cap. Meanwhile, back three players Shane Daly and Keith Earls also provide cover at outside centre.

      Back three

      Keith Earls [32, 170]
      Andrew Conway [29, 124]
      Darren Sweetnam [27, 83]
      Mike Haley [26, 41]
      Calvin Nash [22, 21]
      Shane Daly [23, 17]
      Liam Coombes [23, 3]
      Matt Gallagher [23, 0]



      Keith Earls is a key man in the backline.Source: Munster Rugby/INPHO

      Mike Haley has established himself as Munster’s first-choice fullback since arriving from Sale Sharks in 2018 and won an Ireland cap along the way, but he will face strong competition from new arrival Matt Gallagher.

      The Irish-qualified Gallagher has joined from Saracens and brings a more physically powerful game from fullback, although he will have to go on the same journey as Haley – who is currently nursing a calf injury – in being pushed to act as an option at first receiver in phase play.

      23-year-old Shane Daly had a promising season with Munster in 2019/20 and can play on the wing or at fullback, meaning the battle for the 15 shirt should be tasty.

      Andrew Conway can cover fullback too, of course, but it’s clear that he is seen as a wing, first and foremost, and it could be that he, Keith Earls, and one of Gallagher or Haley will make up the first-choice back three.

      The other contenders will be thinking differently. Darren Sweetnam will be hopeful of putting his injury travails well behind him and fulfilling all of his remaining potential, while Daly is ambitious and got a brief Champions Cup debut last season.

      22-year-old Calvin Nash – who has a wrist injury at present – is an aggressive and confident option out wide, while academy graduate Liam Coombes is rapid and will be aiming to shift swiftly up the pecking order on the wing.

      Academy:

      Dynamic openside John Hodnett, out-half Ben Healy, and fullback/out-half Jake Flannery have already featured for the senior team with Munster and will be among those with strong ambitions of featuring again in 2020/21.

      Munster’s Year 3 crop includes the aforementioned Thomas Ahern – who looks sure to be involved in the Pro14 at least – and two promising loosehead props in Josh Wycherley and James French.

      Back three prospects Jonathan Wren and Sean French might have hoped for senior caps before now but will plan to push on this season, while Kerryman Jack Daly and hooker Eoghan Clarke have plenty of talent but also plenty of players in front of them.

      Munster fans are very excited about new academy recruit Jack Crowley, who impressed at out-half for Cork Con and the Ireland U20s last season.

      Year 1:

      Scott Buckley [hooker]
      Alex Kendellen [back row]
      Jack Crowley [out-half]

      Year 2:

      Paddy Kelly [second row]
      Eoin O’Connor [second row]
      Jake Flannery [out-half/fullback]
      John Hodnett [back row]

      Year 3:

      Thomas Ahern [second row]
      Ben Healy [out-half]
      James French [loosehead prop]
      Josh Wycherley [loosehead prop]
      Sean French [wing/centre]
      Jonathan Wren [back three]
      Jack Daly [back row]
      Eoghan Clarke [hooker].

      Comment


        Strongest squad since 2009 and the last few years the academy has been its strongest ever.
        The squad has a good age profile too with only 9 players 30 or over.


        What I'll be hoping for is Larkham having a bigger influence. They've had months to soak up Larkhams gameplan so they should be all singing off the same hymn sheet. Conway mentioned that the returning internationals didn't have enough time with Larkham last season.

        Comment


          Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post

          i'm not a medical professional, but a guy his age who has been rehabbing a single injury this long (he was never 100%), is a terrible sign. The wrist is a whole other issue. I get the sinking feeling that he's going to have to be "managed" game to game by the medical staff for him to just be able to get out there. He presumably hasn't played contact sports in over half a year and he's still rehabbing the ankle. Kind of absurd tbh when the reports were never "this is a catastrophic injury" the way Dan Leavy's was.
          That's like wallabies lost some of good players because of the knee injuries issues. Personally, I've heard a story of one teen guy from one of our Sidney junior teams, his name is David Mallas (you can Google it, very sad story actually) who got an injury during the game and was completely pulled out of the junior league championship in Australia and spent half of the year recovering. It's sad to see when a young talent loose an opportunity to grow further in his skills. The good friend of mine works as a volunteer at one of the Sidney clinics that helps with sport injury rehabilitation and so he was in constant contact with him, helping to overcome this.

          Comment


            Originally posted by dropkick View Post
            Strongest squad since 2009 and the last few years the academy has been its strongest ever.
            The squad has a good age profile too with only 9 players 30 or over.


            What I'll be hoping for is Larkham having a bigger influence. They've had months to soak up Larkhams gameplan so they should be all singing off the same hymn sheet. Conway mentioned that the returning internationals didn't have enough time with Larkham last season.


            I don't think we can say that confidently about a squad that has no current international tighthead, no current international openside and only two senior fly halves, one of whom appears to be made of glass.


            Teams with that squad profile don't win trophies.

            We need several young players to deliver very rapidly on their potential, and several relatively old hands to find another gear this year.

            I think, all disruption aside, our season will be decided in those three positions. You have to have a test quality option that you can depend on for 20 games a season in all three of those shirts.


            "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

            "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


            "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

            Comment


              Originally posted by Balla Boy View Post



              I don't think we can say that confidently about a squad that has no current international tighthead, no current international openside and only two senior fly halves, one of whom appears to be made of glass.

              We really need to be going after VanDerFlier, Leavy or one of their other monsters.
              I am the million man.

              Comment


                Originally posted by Cowboy View Post

                We really need to be going after VanDerFlier, Leavy or one of their other monsters.
                We were linked with Will Connors last year. With a Tommy in his mid 30’s and Jack Daly not having had much of a look in, I can see that deal being resurrected


                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                \"In a world gone mad, only a lunatic is truly insane\"

                Comment


                  Originally posted by Colliniho View Post

                  We were linked with Will Connors last year. With a Tommy in his mid 30’s and Jack Daly not having had much of a look in, I can see that deal being resurrected


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                  Obviously Connors is further along in his development but Hodnett looks promising at seven, and with a lot of bigger players coming through at six and eight maybe Jack O'Sullivan would be better served moving to seven.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by Fetcher View Post

                    Obviously Connors is further along in his development but Hodnett looks promising at seven, and with a lot of bigger players coming through at six and eight maybe Jack O'Sullivan would be better served moving to seven.
                    The big question for me is around cloete. He was in an article last week on “most unlucky players not to get a springboks cap”. If he can sort his discipline and stay fit it could yet be problem solved


                    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                    \"In a world gone mad, only a lunatic is truly insane\"

                    Comment


                      Don’t see any great need for a 7 now or in the future, tbh. We have Peter O’Mahony - who most people predict will be our starting 7 going forward, Chris Cloete and Tommy O’Donnell as our opensides next year. Jack O’Donoghue can also play there and has started most of our big matches there over the last few years. Two of our biggest underage stars in recent years will also most likely end up at 7, in John Hodnett and Alex Kendellen.

                      I would love to see Chris Cloete have an injury-free season. Don’t understand how a guy who was in Springbok contention and won the most turnovers in a competition featuring David Pocock, Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, can suddenly be confined to just a squad filler.

                      Signing an experienced, proven number 7 is one thing, it’s another thing signing a guy from our big rivals (Will Connors), who is only a few years older than our own big prospects and who is yet to prove himself beyond pro14 level. Not sure about the message it would send to the younger Munster guys, particularly when Hodnett arguably made more of an impact at Ireland under-20 level than Connors.

                      Comment


                        Gents i think you maybe getting sidetracked slightly by the backrow when looking at the forwards. The back row itself contains two test Lions (one a test captain) and is the one area in the national team where Munster have consistently have more than their fair share of representation over the last few years. Given our options with CJ and POM i think we could afford to accommodate a non international forward into the back row IF, and thats a huge IF, the tight five was comparable.

                        Of the tight five only Killer is what would be close to being considered to a regular international starter. The rest of the tight five are all solid good pro's who do a terrific job for Munster but haven't made the green jersey their own. Thats the area that needs to be fixed. We need Knox, Salanoa, Wycherley, Ahern, etc and a hooker to really start pushing for international honours to upgrade our pack further.

                        Synman will obviously be a huge boost but as we've seen too many times in the past we can't win trophies if we don't have parity or better upfront and is a change at openside going to do that?
                        \"God gave me the talent but the forwards gave me the ball\" - Jannie De Beer

                        \"I hesitate to use words like spiritual or religious, but to see what rugby means to Munster people is very moving\" Shaun Payne

                        I look back on 2008 at the Millennium Stadium as the highlight of my career because, although being capped by New Zealand and playing for the All Blacks was fantastic, this was special. - Doug Howlett

                        Comment


                          So all being fit we'd be looking at something like

                          1. Kilcoyne (Loughman)
                          2. Marshall (O'Byrne)
                          3. Ryan (Knox)
                          4. Tadgh Beirne
                          5. 'RPG' Snyman
                          6. Pete
                          7. Jack O'D
                          8. CJ
                          9. Murray
                          10. Carbery
                          11. Earls
                          12. de Allende
                          13. Farrell
                          14. Conway
                          15. Gallagher

                          Kleyn, Tommy, Rory and JJ cover everything with the possible exception of scrumhalf.
                          Good carrying power at centre, lock and front row and the ability to mix it up, as and when, with ball players at hooker and lock. And look at the talent left out! Hodnett, Cloete, Billy, Cronin ...astonishing
                          Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2020.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by rathbaner View Post
                            So all being fit we'd be looking at something like

                            1. Kilcoyne (Loughman)
                            2. Marshall (O'Byrne)
                            3. Ryan (Knox)
                            4. Tadgh Beirne
                            5. 'RPG' Snyman
                            6. Pete
                            7. Jack O'D
                            8. CJ
                            9. Murray
                            10. Carbery
                            11. Earls
                            12. de Allende
                            13. Farrell
                            14. Conway
                            15. Gallagher

                            Kleyn, Tommy, Rory and JJ cover everything with the possible exception of scrumhalf.
                            Good carrying power at centre, lock and front row and the ability to mix it up, as and when, with ball players at hooker and lock. And look at the talent left out! Hodnett, Cloete, Billy, Cronin ...astonishing
                            Plus Niall S
                            "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


                              I reckon Jacko is nailed on as our starting 7, He was easily our most consistent player last season.
                              When things go wrong, blame McGahan

                              Comment


                                It could easily be Haley at 15 too, he looked great at times last season. Good to have him and Gallagher competing for a starting place. Conway is excellent at 15 too when ever we need him. Sweetnam competing hard for a wing spot too
                                "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

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