Monday, 14 January 2013

Munster vs Edinburgh

First off, Scottish Rugby is in a bad way.

From losing to Tonga, a sacked coach, some awful play and performances by their teams, and atrocious following at games.

For all intents and purposes, this was a Munster home game in a different venue. Barely over 6,000 at a Heineken Cup game is a bit of a disgrace, no wonder the English and French sides are throwing their toys out of the pram.

I digress, to the game.

Rob Penney has brought his style to Munster. And it's not working to well. There is nothing wrong with his philosophy, in fact it's probably the best way to play. One thing that Penney hasn't seen is that some of this players are not good enough.

One of the reasons Munster (of old) played the way they did was to hide some of the deficiencies of some of the forwards in attack. But, Munster (of old) were able to play wide and fast if they wanted.

Of the current crop; Murray, Coughlan, Jones and Downey can't play that way. And they aren't the only ones. But when the spine of your team aren't capable of playing your philosophy, things are not going to go well.

One of the things about watching Leinster on Saturday versus this Munster team was even though Leinster went for the bonus from the start, and Munster were right to try and win the game first, Leinster always looked dangerous and capable of scoring tries, this Munster side don't.

They rarely make ground, and too often were going backwards with ball in hand. Even some short neat kicks along the touchline a la Nacewa would at least get them going forward.

Bottom line, the philosophy isn't working with the current crop, but when some injuries come back, it might work. Penney needs to find something that will get Munster performing and beating teams. If they play like they did on Sunday next week, they won't even win never mind a bonus point to get them through.

This doesn't get away from the fact that there were some good and bad performances.

Good first; Tommy O'Donnell is quite a find. He MUST be in at least the extended squad for the 6 nations. He's young, and a very good backrower. Need to see more of him at the breakdown, but so far so good.

Dave Kilcoyne is coming on leaps and bounds to, contributing to a far superior scrum.

Donnacha O'Callaghan isn't going away quietly, making oodles of effective tackles and being a general nuisance.

And bad;

Ronan O'Gara what a brain-fart.

Conor Murray is so slow from the breakdown which doesn't help trying to play a more expansive game. How many steps do you need to take before you pass the ball away?

Keith Earls is a one-trick pony that defenses everywhere have figured out a long time ago. He is boring and unpredictable and not good enough. He needs to be discarded to give him a kick up the arse and hopefully he'll improve like Trimble and Bowe did.

Damien Varley is one of the biggest idiots on a rugby pitch; stop giving away cheap penalties that will cost your side.

Felix Jones; this might be due to his injuries, but I expect more from him. He's labelled as a talent, but from yesterday it's hard to see why. He made no impression on a game that was crying out for a bit of spark.

Peter O'Mahony officially won man of the match for his carries, but I expect more from him everywhere. None of the carries were particularly memorable, nor was much of his performance.