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    Munster Captain

    I figure this needs discussing after today. First off, I think the wrong decision was made just before half time. A couple of things were incorrect about it. That ROG was doing the talking was completely incorrect. He's not the captain he's kicker, when we weren't going to kick it he should be quiet. Secondary to that the "pack leader" should be saying whether he feels the pack are up to a pushover try and maybe the front row (although in fairness to Botha I'd say he'd be happy with 80 minutes of scrummaging.) If we take today's team as the general starting team we might have a solid base for this.

    First are what I think are some basic rugby ground rules that should only be turned over with a lot of consideration.

    1.) Wingers should never be captain. They're simply not caught up in the guttural aspect of the game.

    2.) Front rows especially props shouldn't be captains. They have their own small but incredibly important aspect of the game to concentrate on. Hookers are generally less involved in and caught up in their own mind games about scrummaging. The only mind game they should be caught up with is their throwing and they should be pretty much 99% in that anyway.

    3.) Unlike wingers fullbacks while seemingly periphery to a game, actually get a really good look at what's going on within a match.

    4.) Kickers need to have some pair of balls on them to be captain. There will come a time when a captain has to decide that the kicker is bottling it a little. That they can't make the hard kicks, and someone else needs to come in to do it, or they need to go for the line-out.

    5.) After fullbacks backrows and scrum-halves generally have a good run of the game. They're involved in every area, rucking, carrying, defensively in the line and the general bridge between forwards and backs.

    6.) Team spirit: Some are definitely hopped up on loo-loo juice. If a brawl starts, they're in the middle of it, in fact they probably started it. With some they don't care who started it, they're going to have something to say about it, with others they're likely to stand-off unless it's happening right in their face or there is serious grievance, others still are likely to be walking away the better man while someone smacks them over the head with a seat from the stands.

    7.) Consistency: A captain needs to have an OK game at worst for the other players to respect him. If a captain has a slide in performance he simply won't be able to command. Even more than that a captain should be able to inspire players through their own game.




    Now, to look at the team starting from today. The big difference between today and our team given a perfect squad would be Paulie. And for sure he'd be captain.


    15. Jones - I don't think we have a 15 glued in, Jones is still to prove himself fully.

    14. Howlett - current captain - See my concerns about wings being captains. He's on the way out. And the way ROG acted just before half time would be a mark against him. (As well as the resulting captain's decision.)

    13. Earls - An interesting possibility. He definitely has the ability and tactical awareness in his position (although some would debate his offloading.) He has the smart approach to handbags, not all guns blazing but a definite attitude. If he could lock down his place (and the one he wants for himself) and stay free of injury he'd be a strong shout for captain.

    12. Downey - Not with the team for long enough. Considering that, he's probably too old to be a HEC captain, and we're not looking for him to be Rabo captain.

    11. Zebo - See my problems with wing. If he made a clear decision to go to fullback (probably at Ireland's behest) he could be in with a shout. Although in general I see him as too cocky and self-assured to treat the hard decisions with the severity they need. Possibly as he matures, because he'll certainly be staying in the starting 15 barring any disasters.

    10. ROG - See my opinion on kickers. He's also too old and not going to take the team forward. I would also have issues with how he's performed as captain before.

    9. Murray - Another possibility. I think he's slightly too "delicte" as a young player at the moment. He definitely has the same smartness about himself as Earls does when it comes to the hairy situations. If we see him without injury and maintaining consistent performances he'd be in my final panel.

    1. Kilcoyne - Props shouldn't be captain. He's only come through this season.

    2. Varley - Probably the only player starting today where there would be serious issues with him being a first team starter.

    3. Botha - Props shouldn't be captain. I'd also have issues with his aggression. Part of props not being captains is down to the aggression games they play with their opposing prop. Botha is the perfect example of this.

    4. D O'Callaghan - A genuine case of a potential captain, especially this year. He's never been accused of being the smartest or most innovative player. But he has been dogged in his performances for years, even when people have been writing him off. Whether he has the ability to make tough calls is up for debate, he has certainly shown through the years that he has the ability to play them.

    5. Ryan - I'd see him dropped with POC coming back, and POC is the natural choice for captain.

    6. POM - Already captained the team a few times. While he has made generally tactically sound decisions the majority of the time (although I have vague memories of a few calls to kick to touch that backfired in Musgrave) I would have a worry about his ability to temper himself, let alone an entire team. I genuinely think McGahan originally gave him the captaincy in pre-season friendlies and early Rabo matches in an attempt to calm him down and it would be a worry to me to pick a captain to influence the individual player and not inspire the whole team.

    7.TOD - He's come into the game especially well this season. I think he goes the opposite in direction of most other players. Where they fire themselves up and their fellow players up by getting outwardly angry, he seems to get going by backing off from off-the-ball confrontation and getting internally angry. I think a more even approach with an aura of anger, rather than a bit of brooding is better for any player.

    8. Coughlan - Captained the team a good few times. His worst performances have generally aligned with my "at least he's ok" demand. All around he doesn't seem to command the team all around though. To me he seems very much like Micko as a captain. Never a first choice international, but an all around good provincial player, also not an up-and-coming potential international. And unfortunately some players don't seem to respect that. Some players don't even seem to respect former first choice international players.


    Edit: And of course there's always exceptions to all of this. And there has been many exceptions throughout the years in rugby. This is just me coming from a general principle stance.
    I know something that will blow your minds. I can't tell you and I can't tell you why I can't tell you. You'll know soon and then I'll be confirmed right.

    #2
    Interesting comments and I would agree with you on the majority of them. Beyond the pure positional reasons for not opting for certain people as captains, you have to have credibility with the team and be a tru eleader to be captain. Not everyone has that, whatever their position

    Didn't DOC captain one of the mid-wek Lions games in 2009? IIRC he did. What I think might go against DOC (and personally I would be fine with him as Captain) is that he is perceived as a 'messer' - not all the squad might respect him enough as Captain as a result
    "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


      #3
      Wingers should never be captain. They're simply not caught up in the guttural aspect of the game.
      Are you implying Penney made a grave error of judgment?

      ROG is an on-field leader and his input should be appreciated. There was a funny moment in the opening game against Racing where both ROG and POC discussed the situation before awkwardly remembering Dougie and looking to clear it with him.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Dowlinz View Post
        Are you implying Penney made a grave error of judgment?

        ROG is an on-field leader and his input should be appreciated. There was a funny moment in the opening game against Racing where both ROG and POC discussed the situation before awkwardly remembering Dougie and looking to clear it with him.
        That was not a "funny moment" as you say, it was a disgrace and completely undermined Howlett's captaincy from the off in the HEC. I certainly think that the decision to make Howlett the captain was the wrong one, but it's not fair that his own colleagues, particularly ROG are constantly undermining him in this regard.

        Given POM's consistent level of performance and the fact that he appears to have overcome the red mist, he would be the ntural choice, going forward.

        Comment


          #5
          It seems that ROG's spokesman (CC) was not happy with some of his captain's decision making.

          "it defied belief that five times in the first half O'Gara took aim at the posts.
          The kicks were well with his range, but ignoring the touchline was obviously a struggle for him. A previous incarnation would have kicked for the corner and trusted his forwards to win the subsequent line-out and maul over for a try.
          At least twice he sought to change Doug Howlett's mind over the decision to take the easy three points. The captain was not for turning though, perhaps influenced by the butchered line-out early in the game when a chance to attack the Edinburgh line was wasted with an over-thrown dart.
          It was crucial, Penney said afterwards, that O'Gara did keep the scoreboard ticking over during the first half with the emphasis on securing the four points – "our priority was to win the game," said Penney – but the coach must be silently seething at the opportunities wasted over the 80 minutes."

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Dowlinz View Post
            Are you implying Penney made a grave error of judgment?
            I very much doubt Penney had much to do with it TBH. He was only in place a couple of weeks before the decision was made and would have been in no position to appoint a captain. You can very much be sure that Dougie being appointed as captain would have been a squad decision with probably just Penney's final approval.

            I have to agree I don't think he was the right call for captain however even though I don't think he has done much wrong TBH. It is more to do with being a winger than anything else really as I have seen him having to run the width of the pitch to have a word with the ref or make a decision only for it to be already made by ROG before he gets there.

            I think he made the right decisions yesterday for the most part, as if we hadn't built up the buffer we did before half time through kicking the penalties then we could have been found out with Edinburgh's late tries. We very rarely looked like crossing the line yesterday and with the exception of the penalty in the first half when we could have tried for the penalty try, I think he made the right calls.

            I still think the captain should be in the pack though. POM is our future captain imo and is just being held back for a couple of years until he can show a bit more restraint and a cool head. If he fails to show this then I think Earls could be the man even though I prefer, as I already said, for the captain to be in the pack.

            Comment

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