Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Season in Review 2014/2015

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Season in Review 2014/2015

    Started badly and ended badly, with the worst bit in the middle. Some encouraging signs after Christmas, but only one really impressive performance - the draw with Ulster in Ravenhill. Aside from the humbling in Saracens, the biggest disappointment for me was seeing the potentially great Keith Earls back for about five matches before Axel or Joe decided to stick him on the wing again, with predictable results.

    For their first year in the job, the coaching staff haven't done too badly. They'll need to do a lot better if Munster are going to win anything next season. Without O'Connell, Munster are going to find it hard to bully teams, so some alternative attacking strategy will be needed. Stuffing the team with ball-carriers and then not getting over the gainline isn't going to cut it.

    #2
    I think there is another thread on end of season review
    "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
      Originally posted by HenryFitz View Post
      Started badly and ended badly, with the worst bit in the middle. Some encouraging signs after Christmas, but only one really impressive performance - the draw with Ulster in Ravenhill. Aside from the humbling in Saracens, the biggest disappointment for me was seeing the potentially great Keith Earls back for about five matches before Axel or Joe decided to stick him on the wing again, with predictable results.

      For their first year in the job, the coaching staff haven't done too badly. They'll need to do a lot better if Munster are going to win anything next season. Without O'Connell, Munster are going to find it hard to bully teams, so some alternative attacking strategy will be needed. Stuffing the team with ball-carriers and then not getting over the gainline isn't going to cut it.
      I think Earls ended up at centre because we needed him there because of injuries.

      As for doing a lot better if we're to win anything, win our last game and we'd have won the Pro12.

      What we need is our first line players to be available to us for knockout games then we're really in with a shout.

      Comment


        #4
        Ah well. Season's over. For the second year in a row, it was ended by Glasgow Warriors, and fair play to them. For all the talk about Warriors running out of steam, in fact they timed their effort in the final to perfection. Smashed Ulster aside in the semi by sheer guts and determination, and then peaked beautifully against us.

        Our performance on Saturday? No excuses from me. Glasgow were the better team. We had our distractions, but so did they. The Pro12 is a better league with Saturday's result, the pity is that we were the doormats to their breakthrough.

        Personally, I'm bad loser. After the semis last year in Scotstoun, I decided I wouldn't post here again until the new season started, and kept to that. It was a real downer: being knocked out by a good side then, but not a great one, and we wouldn't have deserved to be in the final last season. Penney was leaving, and the future was very uncertain.

        Now? Actually I'm not that downhearted, but there is a new reality about Munster Rugby that has been emerging now for a number of seasons. And it's been gradual. In 2009, we were knocked off the top by Leinster, who lorded it then for several years. In 2011 and 2012, we lost home European knockout games to Harlequins and Ulster. Ulster!! Suddenly, we're the third​ best province!! And since then, apart from getting to HEC semis twice, with two admittedly fine quarter-final performances each year, the standard of the team and squad has never seemed good enough to kick on and become a force. And now, behind Glasgow as well.

        With POC gone, almost the last link* with 2008 has left - the last of the HEC-bearers gone to the Grey Havens. It's over, folks, but about time too because we all need to move on. As supporters, we have a choice. To compare it with football for a moment, we can be be like deluded Geordies, rooted in glories most living folk don't remember; or sad Scousers who have watched the noisy neighbours up the Ship Canal take all the prizes in modern times; or we can be like the Celts: great and noisy, huge in numbers but with a club that has fallen further and further behind in resources and, hence, class. Or even Arsenal - never outside the top four, winning the odd minor prize, but perhaps not ambitious enough?

        On the other thread there was discussion about the 2008 Munster team, and, as time moves on, you almost gasp looking at the quality of that team, in particular from 1-10. I'm certain we will rarely, if, ever produce a home-grown side like that one.

        So what has this season told us?
        - We can still produce great forwards and great forward performances, although we are lacking a traditional Munster 2nd row to rally around, lead the lineout - think POC, Galwey, Langford. We need to find one.
        - Halfbacks: Murray is simply superb, but when he's out, we suffer greviously, because neither Keatley nor JJ proved they can game-manage to the extent necessary.
        - Back row: going in the right direction, but take out POM and TOD, and we're not good enough. I doubt JOD, RC or DR are the answer. We need another carrier, ideally John Strauss, but that ain't going to happen, is it?
        - Three quarters: With two new signings to come, I'm reasonably optimistic
        - Back three: Not sure who our best 15 is at this stage, but I don't see it as a big problem, and we're OK on the wings.
        - Coaching ticket: I don't know. But I'm happy to give them a second season. Like most teams, our back line has looked it's best when our scrum half has time to deliver quick ruck ball before defences get into our faces. Saturday was an example of how not to do it. I think Axel needs to be clearer about what he wants his backline to do; after a season, I'm not really any clearer, other that it isn't Penneyball.
        - Management: I've no basis for this, but I feel Munster Rugby has gone stale and the club needs a new organisation, drive and marketing. Whatever about our on-the-field performances, Munster remains a terrific brand and I don't that we have come near to optimising the potential. Attendances at Muster European matches outside of Ireland remains a bright light, and that points to the attachment that Irish people living abroad and our diapora still have with their province. A resource still not exploited in my view.

        Season in review? Good, and getting to a Pro12 final has to be acknowledged as an achievement. But as we finally start to build a team without any of our legends remaining, the limiting factors will include not just financial resources but I really think it comes down to what the level of ambition Munster Rugby really have. I get the feeling that it ain't very high, but I could be wrong.

        But I'll still be posting.


        * D Hurley and non-playing subs excepted.
        "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
        Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015

        Comment

        Working...
        X