Keith Wood: Munster have to be "free in the mind" for crunch matches

Ex-Ireland captain and Gerry Thornley talk Munster's problems on Off The Ball

Francis Saili, Munster

Munster's Francis Saili dejected after Connacht scored there third try ©INPHO/James Crombie

Keith Wood believes Munster need to avoid tightening up in their remaining Pro 12 fixtures as they try to battle into the Champions Cup for next season.

The ex-Ireland captain and The Irish Times' Gerry Thornley joined us on Off The Ball to reflect on the weekend's rugby and the pivotal fixtures to come.

A defeat at Connacht for Munster, has left the province in a difficult spot in their quest for Champions Cup qualification.

"They have to win the games but they have to be free in the mind to win their games," he said.

"In my view, in the second half against Connacht, Munster tightened up. You have to be liberated but it's hard because Munster haven't played that comfortably - and we're not talking about flashing it wide all the time - but at tempo, with focus, with control, with accuracy, with confidence, with a sense of team, then you've a chance and Munster have two matches to go that they have to win.

"They're both at home - one in Cork, one in Thomond Park - it's not entirely within their destiny but those two matches are and they have to go and win them. That is the minimum level and if they don't it means they haven't gone through the whole season well enough and don't deserve to be in the Champions Cup rugby next season." 

Gerry also discussed the financial challenge the Munster brand faces in the wake of potentially missing out on the Champions Cup.