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    Originally posted by Balla Boy View Post

    True. But last year they were being coached by a guy who was the best hooker in the world in his prime, a Lion, a European Cup winner, a Grand Slam winner....
    Top player as Fla was, Rowntree will have more experience of coaching players, and- perhaps even more important- a bit more ‘distance’. I think he will get that bit more out if each of the players. Indeed I’d say fla could find worse coaches to learn from.

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      If he can play tight head lock, the move makes sense. Billy is the only member of the squad to have played there regularly for Munster. Second row cum back rowers don't tend to be tight head locks though.

      Comment


        Originally posted by Mike Gibson View Post

        Given that his omission from the Ireland squad came as a huge surprise to pretty much everyone, I can't imagine that Leo Cullen was planning on having Toner available during the RWC.
        Given it was such a huge surprise I can’t imagine JvG was planning on being without Kleyn, but he is, and was able to line up a temporary replacement quick smart.

        Almost as if he had a contingency plan, like Leo would have too, just in case.

        I have no idea why you’re all so hell bent on making a big deal of a sensible signing of two month cover at lock, where we’re very light on experience. An injury to Billy and we’re screwed.

        Losing to the likes of the Cheetahs etc. in these early rounds, teams we’d be aiming to get 5 points against, could destroy our Pro14 chances. And they won’t exactly be decimated by RWC call ups, so they’ll fancy their chances.
        Last edited by Munsterboy; 12th-September-2019, 03:54.

        Comment


          Originally posted by Munsterboy View Post

          Given it was such a huge surprise I can’t imagine JvG was planning on being without Kleyn, but he is, and was able to line up a temporary replacement quick smart.

          Almost as if he had a contingency plan, like Leo would have too, just in case.

          I have no idea why you’re all so hell bent on making a big deal of a sensible signing of two month cover at lock, where we’re very light on experience. An injury to Billy and we’re screwed.

          Losing to the likes of the Cheetahs etc. in these early rounds, teams we’d be aiming to get 5 points against, could destroy our Pro14 chances. And they won’t exactly be decimated by RWC call ups, so they’ll fancy their chances.
          It's symptomatic of continual short-term thinking at Munster, that's why I have an issue with it. If you can't trust your squad players to do a job during the international breaks then why employ them at all?

          Comment


            Originally posted by Mike Gibson View Post

            It's symptomatic of continual short-term thinking at Munster, that's why I have an issue with it. If you can't trust your squad players to do a job during the international breaks then why employ them at all?
            This is not a normal international break. During the normal Autumn Internationals or the 6 Nations you aren't left without 12 first XV players for 2 months. Guys who aren't in the match day squad are released back to play Pro14 games. We're usually down no more than 6 or 7 players come match day during a normal international break.

            We've brought in 1 player, not 12, so we will still be relying heavily on our squad players.

            Comment


              Originally posted by Wallyman View Post

              This is not a normal international break. During the normal Autumn Internationals or the 6 Nations you aren't left without 12 first XV players for 2 months. Guys who aren't in the match day squad are released back to play Pro14 games. We're usually down no more than 6 or 7 players come match day during a normal international break.

              We've brought in 1 player, not 12, so we will still be relying heavily on our squad players.
              We also trimmed our squad ahead of this season
              "If all the wild horsemen of the apocalypse came around the corner O'Mahony would charge straight back at them."
              Will Greenwood

              Comment


                Originally posted by AwayFromHome View Post


                With regard to reserving judgement and framing after the fact, therein lies the problem. If Coombes doesn't become an international will it be because he wasn't up to standard or will it be because he wasn't given the chance? Reasonable arguments can be made for both after the fact (obviously hopefully it never becomes a fact and Coombes is part of the RWC2023 winning side).

                Given that this will always be the case we have to make some judgement up front.

                In my world view nothing is fixed. All possibilities are open. Hodnett is not certain to make it and SOC is not certain not too. They both can or they both might not, though Hodnetts performance levels at the same age are higher. I believe 100% in a growth mindset and in the possibility of change and improvement. None of that has anything to do with rugby but I apply it to rugby. I hate hearing anyone say some 19/20 year old "isn't up to it"; "mol na hÓige agus thodaigh siad". Any coaches first job is to get the absolute best out of what he has. That is more true for me with Munster than with other teams because we have a limited player base and a limited pile of cash. If we are to have sustained success we need to have player pathways and player development.

                On your points about Butler etc not making it in Top 4 sides elsewhere that is fair enough, but the other side of that coin is would we have fallen below Top 4 level if we had Butler/Dougall instead of Botha/Cloete and Betts instead of Parker. I'm not convinced that we would. None of Botha, Cloete, Taute, Haley or Parker are the reason we got to the semi-finals in the last two years. I accept fully that with the alternative players I mentioned we wouldn't be lifting the HEC either but also maybe if we weren't signing so many solid level imports and kept solid level home grown players we might have the money to sign 1 or 2 higher quality players in the positions we are lacking (like Leinster have done with Fardy)
                You're making a valid argument but I think Munster are slightly taking the cautious approach as Cowboy has hinted in terms of squad experience. I think going on the last two seasons as well we've seen Leinster have the luxury of resting more 1st team players than Munster in the Pro14 and getting results. JVG has to deliver something more than a semi final this season and I think recruiting an experienced Super Rugby player is a shrewd move. Getting the season off to a winning start is vital for the team and getting arses into the home matches too. Let's hope he can bring on a few of the younger lads too in the run up to Christmas.
                Last edited by redherring; 12th-September-2019, 10:03.
                He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning regardless of what time it is.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by Cowboy View Post

                  That's all reasonable, but I'm looking at it from the other direction, we made an amazing team in the late 00's, then Murr and Pom and that's pretty much it. Niall Scannell and John Ryan are starting to break into the national side now. But I'd ask, who are these missed opportunities? Dave Foley, Paddy Butler, JJ? Ben Betts?

                  Apart from Zeebs and D.Ryan can you think of any other Munster departure who would play for a top 4 side?

                  To my eye we haven't seen top end players in a long time now, long before Johann and as the key guys get older, such as Earlsy, Tod Pete etc it's on these young guys to front up and prove they're worth the work. Like Dave Foley, Butler, Dougall, McCabe and so forth should have but never got too far even after leaving imo

                  It's chicken or egg like, are the players there? Are they being blocked by inferior players due to selection?
                  It's not who we lost three or more years ago that I'm primarily concerned about (although I still occasionally suffer from a dose of the coulda-beens re Johnny Holland), but the lads who are aiming for regular senior rugby right now. I think Stephen Fitzgerald has the potential to be an Andrew Conway MkII (only taller), I think Bill Johnston has the potential to have a more consistent and successful career than JJ has. Both of them are gone now. I think at least two of Coombes, O'Connor and Wycherley have what it takes to make their own names and have future lads benchmarked against them. That won't happen with Munster if they don't get the opportunity with Munster.

                  For the duration of the RWC, we're missing two locks and two back rowers. Holloway is described in our squad listing as a back row player, but he surely won't feature at 7, where we have all our regulars (TOD, Cloete, Oliver) available? So maybe at 8, even though we can choose from any of Botha, JOD and Coombes? Perhaps at 6, where we can also play any of those three, and where Wycherley and even O'Connor have often played (despite both being listed as locks).

                  If we accept then that he's an absolute break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option for the back row, then perhaps he is expected to feature primarily at lock after all, despite the back-row designation. As mentioned above, Billy Holland will for the first couple of months of the season be the only guy we have who has played regularly at tight head lock. The response to that has been to spend money on bringing Holloway in for two months, during which time he will become familiar enough with our lineout calls and plays that he will be the back up to Holland. Another option could have been to give a short run of games to 6'9", 117kg Darren O'Shea, who has been a member of our senior squad for three years and probably knows a few of the calls ...

                  That short run of games before Kleyn is set to return is five at most, during which time we will play two of the competition's weakest sides in the Dragons and Southern Kings. Our other opponents during this window are:
                  - Ospreys, who are missing seven players including second rowers Alun Wyn Jones and Adam Beard, as well as Justin Tipuric
                  - Cardiff, who are missing five players including prop Dillon Lewis and back row Josh Navidi
                  - Cheetahs, likely our most dangerous opponents in the RWC window, who are most likely to beat us by playing to their strengths, i.e. with their backs cutting through our defence and scoring tries for fun. I can't see the second row selection being the deciding factor in the result of that game.
                  And let's say Billy H does pick up an injury at some point, despite his hitherto impressive durability. Is a win over any of those sides fielding a second row of Wycherley and O'Shea with O'Connor on the bench really too high a mountain to climb? If we lose, at least we've had a chance to see how those guys respond to a challenging task at a time when the cost of losing is relatively diminished. If we win, how valuable would it be to squad morale and individual self-belief if we did it with those guys?

                  Ignoring the short-term, we don't have either the financial resources or the regulatory environment to go shopping for the sort of players who will secure a trophy for us, so we are obliged to maximise our player resources, and that includes giving competitive game time to the guys on our books whenever we can. If Holloway features at all, it will most likely be at the expense of one of those guys. As I've said before, he'll get my full-blooded support if & when he takes the field for us, but I'm still not convinced that recruiting him in the first place is in Munster's long-term interests.
                  Tis but a scratch.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by mr chips View Post

                    Ignoring the short-term, we don't have either the financial resources or the regulatory environment to go shopping for the sort of players who will secure a trophy for us, so we are obliged to maximise our player resources, and that includes giving competitive game time to the guys on our books whenever we can. If Holloway features at all, it will most likely be at the expense of one of those guys. As I've said before, he'll get my full-blooded support if & when he takes the field for us, but I'm still not convinced that recruiting him in the first place is in Munster's long-term interests.
                    +1
                    This is why I'm so certain it's a bad decision, before waiting to view a team. As others have said, even if Holloway is an absolute superstar that scores a load of tries, he will have denied 22/23 year olds(that might be part of our next champions cup team) crucial game time. Let alone the academy guys. This is a fact. People can spin it anyway they want, but this signing undoubtedly will stall the development of one of the younger back-rowers/locks.

                    If the likes of Coombes/Wycherley start over Holloway, than what was the point in paying such money. Why not spend that money on a young fijian back or somebody who can add some spark to the backline? For me, this is a clear lose-lose situation.


                    I'm not looking at this from the point of view of a Munster PR spin-doctor or a financial perspective, i'm looking at this from the point of view of a Munster supporter, who wants to see us win things. Will anybody remember that we lost to the Cheetahs in 2/3 years time, if we have Coombes and Wycherley in a champions cup team winning team? Will anybody remember us beating the Cheetahs, if we see Coombes or Wycherley go onto to play for Ulster and win things?

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by Munsterboy View Post

                      Given it was such a huge surprise I can’t imagine JvG was planning on being without Kleyn, but he is, and was able to line up a temporary replacement quick smart.

                      Almost as if he had a contingency plan, like Leo would have too, just in case.
                      Leo Cullen already has a contingency plan and it's a pretty obvious one: to trust the youth. He has been without Toner and Ryan on multiple occasions over the last few years, and every time he has given the younger members of the Leinster senior squad and the academy locks game time. To suggest he would do anything different this time, is conjecture.

                      Comment


                        I'm not a huge fan of this signing but I can understand the practicality behind it. The players who go to the World Cup, whether they play every game or only play the "easier" group games they won't be available to Munster as soon as they come home. I would assume, given how long their preseason has been, they will be given a week or two off before they will be allowed to play again.
                        Also I'm not 100% sure but I think that Fineen mentioned in the extended press conference audio that TRK posted earlier in the week that Billy Holland picked up a knock. The fact that it hasn't been mentioned in the injury updates means I could either not have heard it correctly or it's not serious but if it's true there's no harm in having Holloway in for 2 months.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by barryfitz87 View Post
                          I'm not a huge fan of this signing but I can understand the practicality behind it. The players who go to the World Cup, whether they play every game or only play the "easier" group games they won't be available to Munster as soon as they come home. I would assume, given how long their preseason has been, they will be given a week or two off before they will be allowed to play again.
                          Also I'm not 100% sure but I think that Fineen mentioned in the extended press conference audio that TRK posted earlier in the week that Billy Holland picked up a knock. The fact that it hasn't been mentioned in the injury updates means I could either not have heard it correctly or it's not serious but if it's true there's no harm in having Holloway in for 2 months.
                          No harm- I agree, and though it might seem like an expensive solution, happy to see he as water carrier if others are fit and ready.

                          Comment


                            I see that the O'Shea and Wycherley are named at 4 and 5 respectively for tonight's pre-season against LI. I don't remember that happening before - wonder is Fineen being steered towards packing down on the tighthead side in future?
                            Tis but a scratch.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by mr chips View Post
                              I see that the O'Shea and Wycherley are named at 4 and 5 respectively for tonight's pre-season against LI. I don't remember that happening before - wonder is Fineen being steered towards packing down on the tighthead side in future?
                              Fineen played loosehead lock, OShea (and Gavin Coombes in 2nd half) played tight head.
                              Sean O'Connor and young Ahern also got some time at lock. The latter is a bit of whippet. when he fills out he'll be huge!

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Perico View Post

                                Fineen played loosehead lock, OShea (and Gavin Coombes in 2nd half) played tight head.
                                Sean O'Connor and young Ahern also got some time at lock. The latter is a bit of whippet. when he fills out he'll be huge!
                                Not surprised, Fineen certainly ain’t big enough for TH. Coombes is bigger than him.

                                Saw Ahern in a video clip and he looks so young and skinny! Great to see him competing at this level with so much physical development still to come.

                                Really feel like we’ve got a fine crop of back five players coming through over the coming few years. Fine athletes with good skill sets. The development programme is doing its job.

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