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    VanLarkTreeBall

    I must say, I have been very impressed with the impact Larkham is having on our attacking structure already. Despite an ugly, nervous win against the Ospreys at the weekend, I felt we played more rugby in that second half than we did in a lot of last season. At one point, a stat came up (early on) that we had offloaded the ball 10 times to Ospreys nil. We seem to have 2 to 3 options on every play, and as a result we are making great linebreaks, but also finding soft shoulders regularly, and as a result breaking the gainline with ease. You could tell there were significant jitters in the first half, and our timing was quite a bit off in terms of runs and passes. Obviously the Irish players will take a few more weeks to get up to speed, but when they do, and when we click, it looks like we could tear a team like Ospreys apart at home or away.

    As another poster mentioned on the matchday thread, that TOD lineout down the blindside, was a Larkham call based on him identifying a gap when we played them in Cork a few weeks back. It's obviously early days, but we may have unearthed a Joe Schmidt type coach that isn't afraid to play off the cuff rugby. Very exciting times... let's hope he doesn't have a 6 month break clause in his contract then
    Last edited by Sketchy; 18-November-2019, 09:49.

    #2
    Originally posted by Sketchy View Post
    a Joe Schmidt type coach that isn't afraid to play off the cuff rugby.
    You don't hear Joe Schmidt and off the cuff rugby mentioned in the same sentence very often
    When things go wrong, blame McGahan

    Comment


      #3
      I'd agree with most of that, bar the Joe Schmidt off the cuff part - it's been a while since that could be said about him! A couple of examples that I've mentioned here before - first, the passing from Jeremy Loughman to Farrell to Conway for the latter's try in the Ospreys game. I'm not saying that crisp, accurate passing from a Munster prop on the gallop has never happened, but it's rare enough to provoke comment. Farrell's passing prowess has been more noticeable even since his return from Japan than it was for much of last season, when many of us could see that his skill was a real weapon but bemoaned our inability to maximise it. Together with the sort of physicality he displayed at the weekend, it makes him a serious asset for us and we appear to be making much better use of him.
      Second, the passing and run timing for Rory Scannell's try against Ulster - Haley ran a perfect dummy line, Bleyendaal timed the pass perfectly to skim behind him to Farrell, who immediately released Scannell to score the try. You might argue that this is bread & butter stuff for a well-drilled backline, but over the past couple of years we'd have been far more likely to take that ball into contact and either score the try after several phases of bashing into opposition defenders, or else turn the ball over. It's worth noting that Haley is a much more potent attacking threat now than he was for most of last season, which is great to see - if this continues, I'll be less sore about the loss of Fitzgerald. JJ has also been undergoing something of a renaissance.

      It's not that we've never seen moments like these before - we've always known our lads were capable of this sort of stuff. What's different is the frequency with which we're seeing them now, in increasingly varied routes of attack and heads-up rugby as opposed to easily-read predictability. For sure, we've not faced opponents from the very top tier yet this season, although I think the games against Ulster, Cardiff and Cheetahs were all serious tests of were we are right now and we won't be the last side to fade away after an hour of playing at altitude. There's bound to be another couple of bumps in the road like Cheetahs away, plus there are definite kinks still to be ironed out - our handling remains in the "work-on" category, and I'm looking forward to Rowntree having a positive influence on our scrum, which thus far hasn't been as reliable as it generally was last season. But we've bonus point wins in the league against the Dragons, Southern Kings, Cardiff Blues and Ospreys as well as a hard-fought home win against Ulster, plus an away bonus point win in our first European clash. I think the early signs are very positive.
      Tis but a scratch.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by mr chips View Post
        I'd agree with most of that, bar the Joe Schmidt off the cuff part - it's been a while since that could be said about him! .
        ha! Poor drafting on my part, what I meant was Larkham has Schmidt-like power plays (TOD example) and on top of that (and unlike Schmidt) he’s not afraid to play off the cuff instead of a strict system.

        And yeah, Haley is a different player to last year, and Scannell has been playing much more as a distributor and kick option. I like what I hear when Larkham talks - very measured and chilled. Can’t remember which player said it but they said he’s fantastic at getting his message across in a simple way.

        Comment


          #5
          Just as importantly, Larkham has presence. His 2 minutes in game piece to the BT (SPIT) feed was made with an expressionless face, with a tone that suggested he intended to be listened to and not asked inane questions (he wasn't interrupted once), and without taking his concentration off the pitch. He looks like, and behaves like the man in charge.

          Great addition to the Munster group.

          Rowntree has a very different persona. Let's hope he sorts our scrum woes out.

          meant to quote you Sketchy-- it was POM who described Larkham as being excellent at getting the message acrosss.
          "Fineen Wycherley was everywhere. When I watched this video back late on Saturday night I half expected to look up from my laptop to find him in my kitchen ' TRK Nov 3rd 2019 following Cardiff v Munster

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by FORWARD.... View Post
            Just as importantly, Larkham has presence. His 2 minutes in game piece to the BT (SPIT) feed was made with an expressionless face, with a tone that suggested he intended to be listened to and not asked inane questions (he wasn't interrupted once), and without taking his concentration off the pitch. He looks like, and behaves like the man in charge.

            Great addition to the Munster group.

            Rowntree has a very different persona. Let's hope he sorts our scrum woes out.

            meant to quote you Sketchy-- it was POM who described Larkham as being excellent at getting the message acrosss.
            Nice one Forward.

            I knew Larkham was the right man for Munster when I heard he had fallen out with Cheika. Anyone that has the backbone to fall out with that man is alright by me

            Comment


              #7
              I've been really impressed with Larkham so far. The increase in tempo as well as the deeper running lines, options and decoys all keep opposition defences guessing and along with the workrate of the players to get into position to offer support to the ball carrier it makes for potent attack. The problem now is trying to get the internationals up to speed with the system and cut down on the errors as they do.

              Below is a link to a piece i did for The Examiner after the Ospreys match on it.

              Some additional things i couldn't quite fit in the article.

              - Munster look way more threatening the less the scrum half pops up at the base of the ruck. Forwards picking and going, varying the point of attack and not giving the defence time to reset just means that when the ball is spun out wide the depth the backs have coming onto the ball gives them time to read whats in front of them and exploit the space created.
              - the options and decoys are key to Larkhams system. Last few years we didn't have much variation. Now we seem to be playing with significant variation of tip on passes, pull backs offloads etc. Even with blitz defences, we are forcing them to read and evaluate so many potential options that they pause slightly. Munster can run the same play a few times in the same match so that the defence think they know whats coming but the variation and reading of the play from Munster can kill them for guessing.
              - JVG mentioned in his post match BT Sports interview that he is having to manage the training time of some of the players and the focus is getting players onto the pitch. Its another reference to the state the internationals came back in and another reasons why the performance on Saturday was disjointed. This will take time.
              - Larkham is creating plays and patterns to get our best players into space or one on ones. Conway and Earls will thrive in this structure.
              - Rowntree needs to prove his worth and solve the scrum pens. The Ulster game was a case of the ref getting it wrong but Cronin and Munster couldn't change his mind. The Ospreys got on top of our scrum. What was a weapon 2 seasons ago is moving down a slippery slope to becoming a weakness. Rowntree needs to resolve that and fast.
              Headline Munster players getting up to speed with Larkham’s new hurry-up offence
              Last edited by overthehillprop; 19-November-2019, 10:59.
              \"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


                #8
                Originally posted by overthehillprop View Post
                I've been really impressed with Larkham so far. The increase in tempo as well as the deeper running lines, options and decoys all keep opposition defences guessing and along with the workrate of the players to get into position to offer support to the ball carrier it makes for potent attack. The problem now is trying to get the internationals up to speed with the system and cut down on the errors as they do.

                Below is a link to a piece i did for The Examiner after the Ospreys match on it.

                Some additional things i couldn't quite fit in the article.

                - Munster look way more threatening the less the scrum half pops up at the base of the ruck. Forwards picking and going, varying the point of attack and not giving the defence time to reset just means that when the ball is spun out wide the depth the backs have coming onto the ball gives them time to read whats in front of them and exploit the space created.
                - the options and decoys are key to Larkhams system. Last few years we didn't have much variation. Now we seem to be playing with significant variation of tip on passes, pull backs offloads etc. Even with blitz defences, we are forcing them to read and evaluate so many potential options that they pause slightly. Munster can run the same play a few times in the same match so that the defence think they know whats coming but the variation and reading of the play from Munster can kill them for guessing.
                - JVG mentioned in his post match BT Sports interview that he is having to manage the training time of some of the players and the focus is getting players onto the pitch. Its another reference to the state the internationals came back in and another reasons why the performance on Saturday was disjointed. This will take time.
                - Larkham is creating plays and patterns to get our best players into space or one on ones. Conway and Earls will thrive in this structure.
                - Rowntree needs to prove his worth and solve the scrum pens. The Ulster game was a case of the ref getting it wrong but Cronin and Munster couldn't change his mind. The Ospreys got on top of our scrum. What was a weapon 2 seasons ago is moving down a slippery slope to becoming a weakness. Rowntree needs to resolve that and fast.
                Your piece was/is excellent OTHP, read it and then saw it was yours! massive smile broke out


                Keep it up horse
                I am the million man.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Nice one OTHP - I'd actually posted up an excerpt over in the Racing thread. Hope you'll be doing more of the same! Reading your additional comments, I keep nodding in agreement, especially about how Earls & Conway should thrive and how the scrum needs work.
                  Tis but a scratch.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the feedback lads. Delighted to get a platform to write it on. Must start posting back on here more.
                    \"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


                      #11
                      The pass from Loughman to Farrell doesn't happen last year unless they were up by 20 points. That to me is all one needs to know if one is asking whether the effect Larkham has had on the attack is noticeable. That fact that a prop felt free to sling it out wide at that stage of the game shows what the philosophy is and what they are working on in training. Hopefully JVG doesn't mandate a tightening up of things in big games. Let these guys play and trust the defense to stand strong.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Some excellent innovations, some very positive play also.

                        I really like the idea that we have a coach in Larkham who understands inside out the most pivotal position on the pitch and I think it’s the first time that JJ is now being coached by a former and high quality 10, no offense to Felix, but a 15 isn’t the best person to have coaching a 10, and we know that JJ, Tyler and Joey haven’t been hitting their peak over the last few seasons.

                        In a number of ways we have also been lucky, it looks like Sarries pretty much overnight won’t be the force in Europe that they were last season, and our PRO14 conference is a lot easier with edinburgh instead of Glasgow and the Kings instead of the cheetahs. When put with our early form we should be able to stay on course for a Home Semi in the league and the possibility of better Hcup placings for next season.

                        A BP against Racing now would be nice

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post
                          The pass from Loughman to Farrell doesn't happen last year unless they were up by 20 points. That to me is all one needs to know if one is asking whether the effect Larkham has had on the attack is noticeable. That fact that a prop felt free to sling it out wide at that stage of the game shows what the philosophy is and what they are working on in training. Hopefully JVG doesn't mandate a tightening up of things in big games. Let these guys play and trust the defense to stand strong.
                          I see your point, but things tighten up to some extent against better teams anyway. Everything ratchets up, compared with playing a weaker team, so things like space and time to make the bigger play are more rare.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post
                            The pass from Loughman to Farrell doesn't happen last year unless they were up by 20 points. That to me is all one needs to know if one is asking whether the effect Larkham has had on the attack is noticeable. That fact that a prop felt free to sling it out wide at that stage of the game shows what the philosophy is and what they are working on in training. Hopefully JVG doesn't mandate a tightening up of things in big games. Let these guys play and trust the defense to stand strong.
                            Yeah the players seem to be more comfortable with the philosophy than I would have expected at this stage. Although our timing was off considerably in the first half, I think the only only offload we tried that wasn't actually on was the Ryan offload. All the other attempts were definitely on, and went to hand. Loughman pass a great example of the new freedom and willingness to go wide on turnover ball.

                            The last time we tried a gameplan this expansive was under Penny, and it took us quite some time to get used to his vision, and our forwards looked very uncomfortable with the passes they were being asked to make. I remember Killer really struggling with pullback passes to pods, whereas, was it the Ospreys or Ulster game where we went the length of the field after a JJ break? - prior to that break KOB pulled back to LOC who flashed it back to JJ without hesitation. Class to see, and an indication that the Loughman pass wasn't a fluke or a flash of genius from a single player.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Sea Horse View Post

                              I see your point, but things tighten up to some extent against better teams anyway. Everything ratchets up, compared with playing a weaker team, so things like space and time to make the bigger play are more rare.
                              True, but I'd hate to see them revert to just plowing it up the middle with one out runners and endless box kicking just b/c they are playing a stronger opponent.

                              Comment

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