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How close are we to winning the Heniken Cup?

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    How close are we to winning the Heniken Cup?

    So now that Munster are officially out of the 2020 Heineken cup, what is the feeling amongst the majority of our fans? Are we (A) closer to winning the Heineken cup than recent years, (B) as close as we were last year, but just unlucky to be in a tougher pool or (C) further away from winning the Heineken cup than previous years?

    Do we continue with our policy of adding one/two top quality players to the full-strength squad or do we rebuild the first-team with players that are better suited to the new coaches’ game plan? Do we ditch guys that are not of the required Heineken Cup winning standard and take a gamble on younger players that may/may not reach the required standard?

    What does the next Heineken cup winning Munster team look like and when does it happen?

    #2
    To answer my own questions, I’m in camp B. I think we are as close this year as we were last year, but through a combination of injuries (Carbery, Beirne, Kilcoyne … ), bad form of players returning from the RWC and a tougher pool, it looks like, on paper anyway, that we are an inferior team to last year.

    Having said the above, I don’t see us closing the gap on Leinster and teams with greater budgets unless we take some drastic action. Personally, I would like to see us spend the next 15 months or so, building a new team. Sacrifice results in exchange for building new Irish internationals and players that will eventually be a part of our next Heineken cup winning team, if needs be. As others have said, the lack of Irish Internationals coming from Munster over the last four years is a worry. Every time an Ireland squad is named, if feels like there is a new Ulster/Leinster wonder-kid in there.

    To answer the last question and on a more positive note, I do think the talent is there. I think we could be realistic challengers for Leinster in the not-too-distant future. Look at how quickly success followed James Ryan and Dan Leavy’s break through for Leinster.

    Munster’s current crop of young players are as good as we have had in 10 years, in my opinion. It’s the year 2024, Munster have just won the Heineken Cup, and the successful team is:
    1. James French 2. Niall Scannell 3. Keynan Knox
    4. Thomas Ahern 5. Rg Snyman
    6. Gavin Coombes 7. John Hodnett 8. Jack O’Sullivan
    9. Craig Casey 10. Joey Carbery
    11. Johnathan Wren 12. Chris Farrell 13. Sean French 14. Shane Daly
    15. Jake Flannery

    Comment


      #3
      Closer than we have been in a long time. For me 3 things need to happen.

      1. Larkham getting more time to implement his game plan. He did it with the squad at the start of the season but the internationals coming back were we a completely different wavelength after spending months in camp Joe. By next season I think we'll see a more fluid and more dangerous attack from Munster.


      2. Sort out the second row. Snyman on paper at least is one of Munsters best ever signings. If he does come. So that's a good start. Hopefully Tom Ahern will be ready to play a few games too.


      ​​​​​​3. Blood the next generation and allow them compete with the seniors. Reward form. That should give the whole squad a boost.


      Point 1 is the most important. One out runners is very easy to defend against if you can match a side physically.

      Comment


        #4
        A for me. Because it’s the luck of the draw and we need a favorable draw. Home qtr and then take it from there. This was our hardest ever. Saracens are no more. They will lose their squad. Toulon are no more. Our two rwc winners. Will make a big difference. Maybe we could do with a bit of world class in the front row. Bar killer I think we are weak there.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by BigLad View Post
          A for me. Because it’s the luck of the draw and we need a favorable draw. Home qtr and then take it from there. This was our hardest ever. Saracens are no more. They will lose their squad. Toulon are no more. Our two rwc winners. Will make a big difference. Maybe we could do with a bit of world class in the front row. Bar killer I think we are weak there.
          Agree regarding front-row. Looking at the Munster academy and senior squad, it's the one area I'd have concerns about moving forward. I think we are ok for looseheads, but there is a lack of quality hookers, outside of the big-three (Scannell, Marshall and O'Bryne). With Saracens dropping down, it might be worth pursuing Tadhg McElroy, who is currently on loan at Bedford, I think.

          At tighthead we are also struggling. French seems to be playing at 3 a lot this season, so maybe that's a permanent switch? I also think Loughman should be converted back to a tighthead, as we have plenty of cover for loosehead.

          Comment


            #6
            I think Munster are demonstrably further from winning a HCup than the past few years. That's why Munster are out before even their last game of the group stages....
            not winning games, not getting losing bonus points, not sealing wins at the death, indiscipline, frustrating game management & tactics, etc, etc, etc are all indicative of an overall less effective outfit this year.

            Munster aren't absolutely crap, just worse than they have been for some years imho. I hope they improve a good bit, God knows, they need to!!
            Last edited by Daithi; 19th-January-2020, 10:47.
            ____________________________________________
            Munster were great when they were Munster.

            alas they are just north munster now.......
            ____________________________________________

            Comment


              #7
              Why isn't there a Pan-European Salary cap?
              Last edited by ustix; 18th-January-2020, 23:22.
              Gwan Joe!!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by ustix View Post
                Why isn't there a Pan-European Salary caps?
                Why is there any salary cap?

                Rugby is a business, it sold its soul a long time ago.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by glorob View Post

                  Why is there any salary cap?

                  Rugby is a business, it sold its soul a long time ago.
                  B/c they don't want the whole thing to become stale with the same four to five teams winning it all the time. If there was no cap, Wray would have signed 3/4 of the England team, a bunch of boks and all blacks and ran even more roughshod over everyone than he did. Leinster is up right now, but these things tend to go in cycles; they'll have a "down" period again.

                  The NFL is a business as well, and they implemented the cap b/c they realized that it was necessary to level the playing field. They also have a draft of players coming out of college, which the IRFU will be looking to copy in some way in the near future if Leinster keeps churning out the most pro-ready talent year on year. They are going to have logjams at almost every position soon enough but will never move a centrally contracted player on and you can't just play them for Ireland although Sexton comes damn close to that.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Mumhain View Post
                    To answer my own questions, I’m in camp B. I think we are as close this year as we were last year, but through a combination of injuries (Carbery, Beirne, Kilcoyne … ), bad form of players returning from the RWC and a tougher pool, it looks like, on paper anyway, that we are an inferior team to last year.

                    Having said the above, I don’t see us closing the gap on Leinster and teams with greater budgets unless we take some drastic action. Personally, I would like to see us spend the next 15 months or so, building a new team. Sacrifice results in exchange for building new Irish internationals and players that will eventually be a part of our next Heineken cup winning team, if needs be. As others have said, the lack of Irish Internationals coming from Munster over the last four years is a worry. Every time an Ireland squad is named, if feels like there is a new Ulster/Leinster wonder-kid in there.

                    To answer the last question and on a more positive note, I do think the talent is there. I think we could be realistic challengers for Leinster in the not-too-distant future. Look at how quickly success followed James Ryan and Dan Leavy’s break through for Leinster.

                    Munster’s current crop of young players are as good as we have had in 10 years, in my opinion. It’s the year 2024, Munster have just won the Heineken Cup, and the successful team is:
                    1. James French 2. Niall Scannell 3. Keynan Knox
                    4. Thomas Ahern 5. Rg Snyman
                    6. Gavin Coombes 7. John Hodnett 8. Jack O’Sullivan
                    9. Craig Casey 10. Joey Carbery
                    11. Johnathan Wren 12. Chris Farrell 13. Sean French 14. Shane Daly
                    15. Jake Flannery
                    5. Don't think Snyman will be here for that long

                    10. That's a bit of wishful thinking.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Long way away.
                      ​​​​
                      Head coach major questions, not enough young talent coming through particular forwards from Limerick and this will take a long time to fix.
                      Our NIQ signings have been poor, Botha, Cloete.
                      No proper identify. Our best players are coming to the end, POM, Earls. Stander is miles away from the player he was a few years, ditto Murray. Can the next generation replace them as internationals bearing in mind we have won little with those players?
                      Jack o Sullivan, Knox, Daly? Where are the 2nd rows? We haven't produced a decent one in 10 years.

                      We're bringing in two big SA signings for 2 years so hopefully that will be a start and Larkham and Rowntree are quality coaches based on results.
                      Last edited by Tobyglen; 19th-January-2020, 00:28.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by glorob View Post

                        Why is there any salary cap?

                        Rugby is a business, it sold its soul a long time ago.
                        Because the financial power of the NH is greater than the SH, and as a result without a cap England and France, which have wealth and population, would destroy world rugby, and decimate it at a local level.

                        i don’t believe rugby has sold its soul, although it came close with the Wrays etc., more like a kidney.

                        Comment


                          #13

                          I think the additional reason for the salary cap is because the governance of rugby clubs is appalling, and without one they'd bankrupt themselves and the sport.



                          In response to the topic, I'd say roughly in the same place, balancing out what's improving and what's getting worse.

                          The negatives are well rehearsed I think. Our head coach is unproven. We're light in key areas, particularly the pack. Flannery was talking on a podcast about European champions needing 12 starting internationals in their team. We have 4. Maybe count Killer too. There was hope a couple of seasons ago that the Scannells, Cronin, Ryan, Kleyn, TOD, Carbery, Beirne, Conway, Farrell, O'Donoghue, Sweetnam were there or thereabouts to be at that level. That would have made us contenders, I think.

                          Now, some of those guys are just blocked by selection. Killer, Farrell and Conway are clearly at the level. But...Ryan, Kleyn and Scannell seem to be headed out of the international frame and the others haven't made that step up.

                          If Fla is accurate about the bench mark, that leaves us a long way short, even with two additions from SA next season. It's not fixable by developing the young players we have, imo, because POM, Stander, Murray and Earls aren't getting any younger. And we can't acquire that volume of talent.


                          So the hope has to be that Larkham, Rowntree and JVG can get the broad base of players I've mentioned above upskilled, up-powered and pointed back towards test level. Whether it's been the game plan, the coaching or whatever, the risk is that we're about to see a whole generation of players never really meet their full potential, I think.

                          For us to compete for a European title in the next couple of years, the bare minimum I think is that Niall Scannell, Ryan, Kleyn, Carbery, Beirne, Farrell, JOD are operating at Test level (whatever happens with Irish selection). Add that to Earls, Murray, POM and Stander hopefully fit and firing, add De Allende and Snyman to the mix and we have a core that can push for a title. Bring through talented young players around that and we're looking ok.


                          But as far as I can see it's the only remedy. We can't bring through 8 test level players from the academy in two years. A lot of our most promising youngsters are coming through in areas where we're already covered. We also can't buy it in.

                          The coaches have to maximise the talent of the players that are already in situ.
                          "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


                            #14
                            I think we're a fair bit off the required level. Our resources aren't big, and the talent pool is poor. There is great hope the 2 Saffers will help next season, but they need to turn up first and that's not certain.
                            Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue,
                            Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              To sum things up:

                              - we need an expansive gameplan. That means: quicker, wider, taking your chances, creative, get over the gameline each time, be effective

                              - improve our ball handling. This was always a strong asset but as we play an expansive game it becomes more important and this year it did not click.

                              - improve defense. Again this was always a strong asset. With an expansive gameplan you need to change the way you defend.

                              - improve penalty count. Again one of our strong assets but this year we haven't seen this much. We need to restore this.

                              - top class Flyhalf. Every team that one in recent years had a world class Flyhalf. There are not more than a hand full of these players in Europe. Carberry has this potential but he has to stay fit.

                              - the Academy needs to generate at least 5, but preferable 8 player at European level in the next three years. This will also minimize the impact of injuries. Every team has to deal with injuries. It's part of our game. We do not have the depth as the French teams so we need to back it up like Leinster does.

                              - More luck with the draw. This year's was a disaster and previous years years was also not good. A lot of people forget that we've actually not done too bad when realizing which team's played and how close we came to beating them at home versus previous years. I believe the new seeding rules heavily favor us but it's in our own hands to finish as high as possible in the pro14 to take advantage of this.

                              - The signing of De Allende and Snyman will add a winning mentality and strength to get over the gameline. Especially a center that does this will help us. Just look at that Racing center last week and you see what we are missing. Also a world class lock will add a lot of beef in the front 5.

                              - a whole season including preparation with the full coach team. Larkham has done some amazing things in the past. I was hoping to see his impact straight from the beginning but I might have been unrealistic. We have seen glimpses of chance but not more than that.

                              - I really don't know what is going on with Murray. As it looks like right now he does not have the ability to adapt to a new gameplan. In fairness he's not the only one but at Scrumhalf you do stand our more. Either he goes back to his old Glory or Casey reaches his potential.


                              ​​​​​​The above points are not impossible but are also not an easy task.

                              Comment

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