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    Gerry Thornley’s take

    <H1>Munster's defence never gets started</H1>


    Gerry Thornley at Stradey Park
    <DIV class=img_left_with_capti&#111;n>
    RUGBY: Munster are Heineken European Cup champions no longer. It would have taken a near vintage Munster effort to subdue a deeply impressive and much more hard-running, aggressive and high tempo Llanelli last night in Stradey Park, where the Scarlets hadn't lost in 14 months, and this was far from Munster at their best.</DIV>


    On the back foot defensively, where there were too many holes in midfield and outside, Munster could on another night have hung onto Llanelli's shirt-tails until their time came. But trailing 17-0 at the break, they were forced into playing catch-up. They showed their pride, but it always looked beyond even these Houdinesque champions, and they went down 24-15.


    They sorely missed the combined leadership of Paul O'Connell and Anthony Foley, as well as the former's sheer presence.


    Stuck on zero points for over an hour after Ronan O'Gara missed a couple of kicks at goal, they backed themselves into a corner by three times turning down possible three-pointers in the first half, and again after the break. In hindsight, it probably was asking too much of O'Gara to also captain the side.


    Repeatedly they moved the ball with skip passes by O'Gara into the wider midfield channels, where they were regularly cut down by the fast-advancing Gavin Evans and Regan King. Alix Popham appeared to be everywhere and Simon Easterby spoiled as only he can. Llanelli were by far the better side, as both O'Gara and Declan Kidney readily acknowledged.


    "Fair play to them," said O'Gara, clearly hurting, in acknowledging Llanelli's greater intensity. "They had a hunger which we couldn't match, which was the disappointing thing. The international boys took a break last week and we weren't as sharp as we should have been tonight. It's going to be a long few days now."


    While maintaining that the performance if anything proved that resting their Irish frontliners was the right decision, in citing the importance of a breakthrough fifth-minute try by Dafydd James Kidney commented: "We'll take a look at our performance and we'd certainly be disappointed with some aspects of our performance but we won't go into it tonight.


    "Llanelli were very sharp. They kept the ball alive very well once they made line breaks which kept us under pressure. In the third quarter we didn't have the ball for long stretches. We got eight points, but I wouldn't say we got ourselves back into it. They were generally just on top for the whole evening."


    His counterpart, Phil Davies, spoke of his pleasure bearing in mind Llanelli's massive respect for Munster and pinpointed their ability to "keep the ball in the contact area" as key. "They never give in. We said at half-time we were in an arm wrestle and we had to stay there."


    Easterby glowed with pride.


    "We've beaten the champions of Europe and it doesn't get much bigger than that."


    Expressing the hope that the similarities between the teams will see Llanelli take the same fervour all the way to the final, he added: "They give everything up front and it was probably even-Steven there, but probably our backline was the difference between the two sides."


    Munster had been officially allocated some 2,500 tickets but allowing for the seamless sea of red outside and the traffic congestion, it appeared that there were a good deal more than that, perhaps 3,500 to 4,000, among the 10,800 capacity at his fervent hotbed of west Welsh ru
    New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

    #2
    There was never 4,000 Munster fans there. Nearly half the ground? Not a hope.

    I'd say Gerry is distraught in any case.

    Comment


      #3


      the sad thing is Munster played poorly, poor defence in the first half, bad missed tackles, no real game plan. Wedeserved to loseso fair play thescarlets.the better team my bo***cks won, the better team just never showed up. the better team should have showed up in the first half but didn't.


      The scarlets won't win it outright this year. too mentally weak.
      Frank the Tank is not coming back. OK? That part of me is over, water under the bridge.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Harry


        the sad thing is Munster played poorly, poor defence in the first half, bad missed tackles, no real game plan. Wedeserved to loseso fair play thescarlets.the better team my bo***cks won, the better team just never showed up. the better team should have showed up in the first half but didn't.


        The scarlets won't win it outright this year. too mentally weak.


        Interesting. We didn't turn up in the same way ireland didn't turn up against france. This season there seems to be an indian sign on the munster/ireland pack, and I strongly suspect the WC is at the back of their minds. I'll judge this seasons performances when the year ends, not when the season ends.


        Llanelli being mentally weak? i suppose they could have that SAle thing going on where they feel beating munster is the be all /end all. But I don't know about being weak. I think with Jones (who played way above par) and Easterby, they could do well. I hope they do in fact. I respect them for their similarities to munster.


        Furthermore, they have some class acts around the field. A front five to match any, a clever back row, and some impactful guys in the backs. I don't see why not. Gonna be an interesting weekend that's for sure.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Harry

          Poor defence in the first half, bad missed tackles,
          no real game plan.
          True (that's why I can't sleep).
          If your religion is worth killing for, please start with yourself.

          Comment


            #6
            Llannelli were immense.
            Grandpa Simpson: The last time the meteors came, we thought the sky was on fire. Naturally, we blamed the Irish. We hanged more \'n a few.

            Comment


              #7
              Harry wrote:

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              the sad thing is Munster played poorly, poor defence in the first half, bad missed tackles, no real game plan. Wedeserved to loseso fair play thescarlets.the better team my bo***cks won, the better team just never showed up. the better team should have showed up in the first half but didn't.


              The scarlets won't win it outright this year. too mentally weak.</TD></TR></T></TABLE></TD></TR></T></TABLE>'mentally weak' ??? God knows where you came up with that conclusion. They've just very convincingly won 7 games on the trot.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Harry


                the sad thing is Munster played poorly, poor defence in the first half, bad missed tackles, no real game plan. Wedeserved to loseso fair play thescarlets.the better team my bo***cks won, the better team just never showed up. the better team should have showed up in the first half but didn't.


                The scarlets won't win it outright this year. too mentally weak.


                There's a lot of pain in that post. I'm feeling it too but you're off the mark Harry boy. The better team did win, some of our lads didn't show up - the back-row in particular - but some of our lads are simply not as good as their lads. Regan King should be 13 for the All Blacks. Haven't seen much mental weakness from them so far - they scored an awesome try when down to 14 men and under the cosh. Fair play to the Scarlets - hope themselves or Leinster win it.

                Comment


                  #9


                  Originally posted by danthefan
                  There was never 4,000 Munster fans there. Nearly half the ground? Not a hope.


                  Munster got 2,500-2,700 in an allocation and Munster people bought 1,000 corporate tickets (Llanelli ticket office gave this info). However they were scattered to the 4 winds. By far this was the worst rugby ground I have ever visited. I can't think of a worse one (even Musgrave Park is better than it), yet there were banner on vans suggesting that they "Save our Stradey" [img]smileys/shock.gif[/img].

                  Comment


                    #10


                    Originally posted by danthefan
                    There was never 4,000 Munster fans there. Nearly half the ground? Not a hope.

                    There was, easily.


                    Plus I literally could not get rid of a spare ticket before the game at all.
                    "It’s not the team you support, it’s the club you should support. The team on the pitch will ebb and flow because that’s the nature of sport. No team has ever been successful decade on decade. The club has the history and that’s the passion you should have."

                    Comment


                      #11


                      Well done Llanelli you deserved your win on the night


                      But my God from a spectating point of view Stradey pk was a nightmare. the lighting was so bad. I spent all of the game craning over those in front of me for a glimpse, mostly with a hand over my eyes trying to see something as the lights seemed to be straight in our eyes. Maybe it was the particular vantage point we had but it was truly difficult to even make out what player was on the ball. I don't think I could everbe tempted back to Stradey. Not trying to be disrespectful but we spent a lot of bobs heading over to this one and the least I expect is to be able to See the Match


                      Before anyone says go into the ground earlier, we made a dash from Bristol Airport around 3.45pm and only got to Stradey at 7pm so we went straight in to find us standing at the rear of east terrace, some smaller folks couldn't see a thing. I knew it was a small place but didn't expect it to besodilapadated
                      Con Artist

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Point


                        By far this was the worst rugby ground I have ever visited. I can't think of a worse one (even Musgrave Park is better than it)





                        Why not come to the heart of D4 -and see the Donnybrook sandpit at first hand.
                        New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Old Dog
                          Originally posted by Point


                          By far this was the worst rugby ground I have ever visited. I can't think of a worse one (even Musgrave Park is better than it)





                          Why not come to the heart of D4 -and see the Donnybrook sandpit at first hand.


                          do they still spray green paint on the sand??[img]smileys/wink.gif[/img]
                          they call it \'passion\', we call it pride

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Old Dog
                            Originally posted by Point


                            By far this was the worst rugby ground I have ever visited. I can't think of a worse one (even Musgrave Park is better than it)


                            Why not come to the heart of D4 -and see the Donnybrook sandpit at first hand.


                            That pitch is s**te, right enough. but the rest of Stradey should be torn down. Valencia is bang on.

                            Comment


                              #15


                              Originally posted by Sin a bhfuil
                              Originally posted by Harry


                              the sad thing is Munster played poorly, poor defence in the first half, bad missed tackles, no real game plan. Wedeserved to loseso fair play thescarlets.the better team my bo***cks won, the better team just never showed up. the better team should have showed up in the first half but didn't.


                              The scarlets won't win it outright this year. too mentally weak.


                              There's a lot of pain in that post. I'm feeling it too but you're off the mark Harry boy. The better team did win, some of our lads didn't show up - the back-row in particular - but some of our lads are simply not as good as their lads. Regan King should be 13 for the All Blacks. Haven't seen much mental weakness from them so far - they scored an awesome try when down to 14 men and under the cosh. Fair play to the Scarlets - hope themselves or Leinster win it.
                              Someone else wrote that post at that stage in the night, I only do what the voices in my head tell me do to after nights like Friday night. [img]smileys/cry.gif[/img]

                              I don't begrudge the Scarlets at all and wish them luck, but they will have their work cut out against Wasps or the Tigers after those team's performances over the weekend.



                              Frank the Tank is not coming back. OK? That part of me is over, water under the bridge.

                              Comment

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