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Are we in transition or is this our new level?

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    Are we in transition or is this our new level?

    I can make cases for both arguments. What's your thoughts?

    On one hand, we have a fair few international players for a club side and on our day, should be able to put it up to most teams. We appear to be producing a few young players (Scannell x 2, Casey, Madigan etc). The new DOR. Are we just about to 'bounce back'?

    On the other hand, our results have been average. Our signings for next year are not top drawer. Foley seems to be struggling. The new DOR. French/English money. Is this the new average?

    #2
    I'd lean towards the former, though there are big challenges in the offing. Overall, I think we're underperforming as things stand:

    We have front row options that should allow our scrum to be solid.
    We can field a pair of international locks (Foley refinding form is very important, for me)
    We will have, on paper at least, one of the best back rows in Europe again next season. There are very few teams that could field a better unit than POM/TOD/Stander and O'Callaghan and O'Donaghue give depth.
    I still think we have the best 9 in the NH.
    10 is an obvious concern.

    The back situation looks a bit messier. Bags of talent in both young emerging players and established options. But we're desperately short of cohesion and penetration. I struggle to believe that a squad with Earls, Zebo, Saili, Conway, O'Mahony available can't score tries.

    We need:

    A decent run in terms of fitness/availability/injury. Looking back on the Good Old Days tm, it's remarkable how durable a lot of our key players were.

    The emergence/arrival of a ten, whether it's Keatley repaying the investment in him, Holland stepping up or someone off the plane. Needs to happen as top priority though.

    A settled midfield pairing.

    A far more aggressive approach to developing talent or cutting it loose. A lot of what happens over the next two years depends heavily on the likes of Holland, Sweetnam, Bohane, Buckley, McCabe stepping up and being first team options. We can't afford another generation of guys with 60/70 caps earned over 4/5 years with everyone still scratching their heads as to whether they'll make it.

    Duncan Williams (and I'm not bringing him up to get on his case) is 30 in April. He has 106 Munster caps. He made his senior debut in 2009, and didn't start a European game until 2015. We'll take as read and rotated the "not good enough/you need solid squad level options/he fills a role in a squad" arguments - they've been done a thousand times. What's clear is that if our future academy outputs aren't following a very different career arc, things are going to become very difficult indeed.

    Given French and English budgets, we need to be producing players who can be starting first XV for a top 8/top 4 European side. And we need to produce them regularly. That's the number one challenge for Munster, I think. We've shown this year that we can retain our top talent when contract renegotiations come around. We know that we're going to struggle financially for marquee signings - so will most teams. So it's all about development.
    Last edited by Balla Boy; 30th-March-2016, 05:07.
    "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


      #3
      Good post BB but you left out ROM and JOD. Two quality players IMO. Also glossed over the hooker issue. Three guys who between them don't even go to international camps says a lot.
      My computer thinks I'm gay
      What's the difference anyway
      When all the people do all day
      Is stare into a phone

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by sewa View Post
        Good post BB but you left out ROM and JOD. Two quality players IMO. Also glossed over the hooker issue. Three guys who between them don't even go to international camps says a lot.
        The hooker issue I find a bit baffling to be honest. Both Casey and Sherry have shown at times that they have the tools both at line out and in the loose. They have Flannery working with them. I can't work out why neither has really kicked on in the way we might have anticipated. I thought 3 years ago that Sherry would be the Ireland hooker by now. He captained Munster and won his first cap in 2013. I'm hoping the injury issues are behind him and he finds that level again. We'll see what happens with Sweetnam, I guess.
        "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


          #5
          Nice post Balla Boy. Thinking further about it, a decent 10, a strong coaching ticket and a bit of luck and we could be back in the mix?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Kevin77 View Post
            Nice post Balla Boy. Thinking further about it, a decent 10, a strong coaching ticket and a bit of luck and we could be back in the mix?
            There's still that question of under-performance for the talent that's there. Hopefully whatever changes are made get made and we're able to realise that potential.

            I don't think we really realised where we were in 2008, because we'd convinced ourselves we were plucky underdogs. We had the best front row in NH club rugby, the best hooker in the world, the best lock in the history of the game and another lion next to him, the best loose forward that Ireland has ever produced at 7, a thousand test point fly half, the AB's all time record try scorer etc etc. I doubt we'll ever be able to field a team of that sort of calibre again - we were lucky to see it.

            But do we have enough in the set up to be able to hold our own in home and away double headers against Leicester and Stade? Yes, I think. Stade, Leicester, Saints, Exeter and Wasps made the last 8 in Europe this year. Ok, Racing, Toulon and Sarries seem to have money to burn, but can we compete with the rest of those on current resources? I'd say so, yes. Do we have a better team on paper than half of them? Again, yes.

            I was slated a bit for predicting at the start of the season that we were going to have our worst year in the Pro era, and that we wouldn't get out of our group in Europe. I might just be a contrarian, but as most people have come around to that view, I'm probably more optimistic now than I was 12 months ago.
            "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


              #7
              Think it needn't be an either/or, because each implies a set, permanent state. Which, as you will guess, I don't accept. We are underperforming, but it can be changed for the better if we get the finger out at all levels of the organisation.

              And God knows, that's a lot of fingers. Honestly - and I feel dirty for saying this - the MRSC is probably the best-performing element connected with senior team games. There. I said it. I can't take it back, now.
              Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Balla Boy View Post
                There's still that question of under-performance for the talent that's there. Hopefully whatever changes are made get made and we're able to realise that potential.

                I don't think we really realised where we were in 2008, because we'd convinced ourselves we were plucky underdogs. We had the best front row in NH club rugby, the best hooker in the world, the best lock in the history of the game and another lion next to him, the best loose forward that Ireland has ever produced at 7, a thousand test point fly half, the AB's all time record try scorer etc etc. I doubt we'll ever be able to field a team of that sort of calibre again - we were lucky to see it.

                But do we have enough in the set up to be able to hold our own in home and away double headers against Leicester and Stade? Yes, I think. Stade, Leicester, Saints, Exeter and Wasps made the last 8 in Europe this year. Ok, Racing, Toulon and Sarries seem to have money to burn, but can we compete with the rest of those on current resources? I'd say so, yes. Do we have a better team on paper than half of them? Again, yes.

                I was slated a bit for predicting at the start of the season that we were going to have our worst year in the Pro era, and that we wouldn't get out of our group in Europe. I might just be a contrarian, but as most people have come around to that view, I'm probably more optimistic now than I was 12 months ago.
                It's tough to gauge really. I tend to be naturally optimistic so that doesn't provide balance.

                You mention under performance. That implies we have the talent. Is the underperformance down to;

                - Poor coaching
                - Bad luck
                - Injuries
                - Inexperience
                - All of the above

                I firmly believe that we are going to have a very formidable pack as we are well served at loosehead, hooker, second row and back row. John Ryan has been a pleasant surprise at tight-head and if Archer or Andress can push on we might have a pack to be feared in the next couple of years.

                You're right about the other positions and frankly on paper, our backs look good.

                Aside from 10. We just need a 10.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I suspect "all of the above", though we can hope that if the other factors improve the coaching ticket might come good. Otherwise we're going to wake up one morning trying to convince ourselves that we really are ok with Bernard Jackman taking over and that he did good stuff in France :-)
                  "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


                    #10
                    We should always be in transition. The side that stops developing is a side on the slide.

                    To my mind a better question could be whether we have wherewithal to direct our transition with a view to achieving better results (in terms of both player identification, player performance and success in competitions).

                    Until a DoR is appointed and has at least twelve months of service under their belts, it is probably presumptuous to attempt answering this question.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by LondonMunster View Post
                      We should always be in transition. The side that stops developing is a side on the slide.

                      To my mind a better question could be whether we have wherewithal to direct our transition with a view to achieving better results (in terms of both player identification, player performance and success in competitions).

                      Until a DoR is appointed and has at least twelve months of service under their belts, it is probably presumptuous to attempt answering this question.
                      Without getting too defensive, questions can always be phrased more correctly. Particularly when expanding on them.

                      I guess quite simply what I am trying to ask is, should I expect things to improve or will be be battling to qualify for Europe/the Pro 12 playoffs at best from now on?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Kevin77 View Post
                        Without getting too defensive, questions can always be phrased more correctly. Particularly when expanding on them.

                        I guess quite simply what I am trying to ask is, should I expect things to improve or will be be battling to qualify for Europe/the Pro 12 playoffs at best from now on?
                        I'd love to share Bbs optimism but I don't. Why?

                        1. Munster's success in the pro era has always been based on combining the best of local talent with a few key top level overseas signings e.g Langford, Williams, Halstead, Botha, Howlett. Munster now does not have the wherewithal to attract this level of overseas talent, and with the budgets of English and French clubs in particular, I do not see this changing unfortunately.

                        2. Our coaching ticket are budget and they are poor imho. There's a new DOR coming, but surely Munster need more than this e.g a good backs coach, etc, etc

                        3. Munster have contracted their franchise significantly, concentrating it in the smaller, poorer city in the province, when their most potent competitors are (nearly) All expanding theirs. Sponsors can see this, and are reacting appropriately.

                        4. Limerick is still very shook after the recession, attendances are well down and Tp has become a half empty ghost of itself rather than the full, warm cauldron of old.

                        5. Leinster are able to sign Henshaw and Sexton in the past 2 seasons, who new did Munster sign?!

                        6. Connacht, which used to be a development province and a feeder side for talent have become a fully fledged, competitor on & off the pitch who can take a valuable European Cup place ahead of Munster and who are right on limerick's doorstep too, which is too close for comfort.
                        Last edited by Daithi; 30th-March-2016, 09:08.
                        ____________________________________________
                        Munster were great when they were Munster.

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

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Halstead wasn't a marquee signing. His pedigree was about on a par with Saili's. Tipoki similarly. And Mafi. For every one of those there was a player who didn't click. We've always done best (bar Howlett and to a lesser extent Cullen and DeVilliers) with players who came with a point to prove. Those players are still accessible, I think.

                          But, more importantly, those players always had a solid platform to play off. And I think that's what we're getting back to. Stander has come of age, as has TOD. That will take a lot of pressure of POM. Ryan is fit and in form for perhaps the first time in 2 seasons.

                          Get that right, and sort out our backs coaching, and we may well see good stuff. Personally, I'd have Scannell at 12, Saili at 13, Earls on one wing, O'Mahony/Conway on the other and Zebo at FB. If there aren't tries in that lot, I'll fry my arse.
                          "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
                            This is our level until we see a change of coaching ticket.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Daithi View Post
                              I'd love to share Bbs optimism but I don't. Why?

                              4. Limerick is still very shook after the recession, attendances are well down and Tp has become a half empty ghost of itself rather than the full, warm cauldron of old.
                              There's a drop off of attendances in Cork too

                              5. Leinster are able to sign Henshaw and Sexton in the past 2 seasons, who new did Munster sign?!
                              Munster signed POM, Earls, Zebo, Murray, Saili, Stander, etc.

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