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Munster play boring Bok style rugby from a 'bygone era' - O'Gara

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Getty Images)

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Munster’s management team have been getting an awful kicking of late by former players. With the curtain coming down on the Johann van Graan era in Limerick, it seems everyone is lining up to have a pop at the coaching ticket.

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Provincial legends Peter Stringer and Keith Wood lobbed metaphorical hand-grenades towards Limerick in recent weeks and now it’s Munster’s celebrated former standoff – Ronan O’Gara –  that’s lined up to take the latest shot at the open goal, in his Irish Examiner column.

Despite Munster’s respectable fifth-place standing on the URC table, O’Gara has derided the tactics currently on show from the men in red. The La Rochelle head coach wrote that despite wanting to keep his ‘column constructive’, he could help but be bored by what he’s seen.

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“…there are limits to any attention span. This can’t be what Munster rugby supporters want to see, surely?,” wrote the Cork native after watching his former side edge past Ulster in a dogged 18 – 13 win over Ulster in Thomond Park last weekend.

“I’d understand to a degree if, like the Springboks, this was delivering winning rugby and trophies, but Munster never looked to play the ball into the fifteens at any stage…

“It was like watching rugby from a bygone era… I respect every coaching philosophy and if that is the vision of Munster’s management, you admire it to a point, but it must be pretty restrictive to play that kind of way. Munster’s South African ethos is summed up thus: Maul. Box Kick. Aerial Contest. Play if you win it, defend if you don’t…

“It’s not ‘being more expansive’. That’s a glib catch-all. What you want is smart rugby and playing to your strengths. For sure, Munster are being held back at the moment by their inexperience at 10 and being able to figure out how to shape the game to their advantage. But when you look at what Munster has available – Carbery, de Allende, Earls, Conway, Haley Farrell, Murray, Zebo et al – are they playing to their strengths?”

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O’Gara – who ruled himself out as an option to take over post Van Graan – said anyone that thinks that highly-rated Crusaders Scott Robertson might take over are not being realistic.

“It may be Declan Kidney as a DOR, with Graham Rowntree and Mike Prendergast sharing the coaching. I genuinely don’t know.”

“I may be all wrong but some are dreaming if they think Scott Robertson is coming up from New Zealand for the Munster job.

“People should accept the perception of Munster outside the province is markedly different to that on the inside. The cachet has diminished. There’s been a long, fallow period in which Leinster have become the pre-eminent force of Irish rugby and the one people from other countries reference.”

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