Munster's leadership group was found wanting in their defeat to Ulster last weekend, according to journalist Ruaidhri O'Connor.
Speaking to Monday Night Rugby following Munster's 38-17 defeat to the men from the north at the Kingspan, the likes of Keith Earls and Peter O'Mahony were a particular disappointment.
"They lost their way. Munster don't have the depth and one of the things that it really puts the emphasis on is that their internationals have to perform all the time, when they are there," said O'Connor.
"I didn't think that Keith Earls and Peter O'Mahony - two of the talismanic figures in this team - were at the level that you would hope they would be, to bring up the standard around them.
"I think that when you are looking at your leaders, and your leaders are struggling themselves, then you are in a dark enough place."
However, blame is not necessarily at the mental or physical door of the likes of Earls and O'Mahony, but to do with their deployment and the management of the squad resources.
"There are mitigating factors," said O'Connor.
"[Johann] van Graan did outline that they haven't had the same team for two weeks in a row since the World Cup, that he hasn't been able to build continuity for Europe [...] but when they take [CJ] Stander, [Jean] Kleyn and Chris Farrell out of the side, they lose an awful lot of ball-carrying ability.
"It exposes that Peter O'Mahony doesn't win the amount of collisions that he used to win, and that he is more of a line-out operator now and a breakdown threat. With the ball in hand he is not really doing it.
"Ulster are a bit of a momentum team, and once they started building momentum they were enjoying themselves."
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