'Why would you leave Munster for this?' - Fitzgerald captures Bath misery
Why would you leave Munster for this?
— luke fitzgerald (@lukefitz11) January 22, 2022
Despite a decent start by Bath, the Leinster machine soon overpowered their hosts; the scoreboard rocketing upwards at an alarming rate 20 minutes either side of halftime.
The men in blue had bagged 50 points by the 50th-minute mark and the game was effectively put to bed as a contest. It ended up 64 – 7 to the URC champions.
Fitzgerald, himself a former Leinsterman, was of course referencing the departure of Munster head coach Johann van Graan to Bath next season. The South African is using a clause in his contract to exit Limerick, where his tenure as head coach has more ticked along than caught fire.
Still, his exit ruffled feathers and many want him to depart the province sooner rather than later.
Some pointed to the most obvious answer to Fitzgerald’s rhetorical question.
Van Graan is likely to have earned a significant increase in his salary. Bath were desperate to get a name in, with the current coaching ticket not doing the business despite a competitive squad, a fix is badly needed.
— Brett Igoe (@brettruganalyst) January 22, 2022
Backed by multi-millionaire Bruce Craig, it’s a fair bet Van Graan’s bank balance will do well out of the move.
In fairness to Bath fans, a full house turned out for the show, despite the men in blue, black and white winning just one game this season to date. Naturally, patience is running thin.
I think we all knew that todays game would be a hammering. A decent performance would have sufficed. @BathRugby can’t even do that. An absolute embarrassment – how is this acceptable with the resources we have ? #bathrugby https://t.co/lDX59q3tal
— Callum Pollendine (@c_pollendine) January 22, 2022
— Chris Moyse (@ChrisMoyse) January 22, 2022
— Phil not Bob (@Bob71136804) January 22, 2022
It’s probably worth pointing out that Munster’s current game plan hasn’t exactly been lauded under Van Graan of late. Former Munster flyhalf Ronan O’Gara described the style as boring, Springbok-esque fare.
“This can’t be what Munster rugby supporters want to see, surely?,” wrote O’Gara after watching his former side edge past Ulster in a dogged 18 – 13 win over Ulster in Thomond Park earlier this month. “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…”
Things can surely only get better for Bath. Surely?
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