Alan Quinlan was on OTB AM to talk about how bringing in new coaches can get the best out of players.
With Stephen Larkham reportedly set to sign with Munster as their new backs and attack coach, Quinlan spoke about his experience with managerial changes.
“I’d always liked that, I liked that excitement of a little bit of change in the set-up.
“I always liked that scenario of trying to impress and then a few months down the line I’d hate him if he wasn’t picking me, or if the approach or the gameplan is not what you agree with,” Quinlan joked.
Rugby clubs weren’t the well-oiled machines in the late nineties as they are now and managers had a lot of work on their hands.
When Quinlan started his career with Munster, rugby had just become a professional sport, so a big role of the manager was to make the transition from amateurism to professionalism as smooth as possible.
“When Declan [Kidney] took over it was like trying to piece all this professional group together. Some guys were amateur, some were professional, it was just a mess.
“The early couple of years was just trying to get a little solidity. I think the game changed and developed when Alan Gaffney came in in the 2002/03 season,” Quinlan explained.
Gaffney, an Australian who had previously worked with Leinster and the NSW Waratahs, revolutionised Munster’s style of play.
“I think he came in with a kind of freshness, more of an attacking approach, more of a skills-based approach and emphasis on lines of running and evasiveness.
“There was a lot more emphasis put on that stuff, which was good because that gave a real surge in excitement,” Quinlan said.
While Gaffney didn’t lead Munster to Heineken Cup glory during his time at the province, Quinlan believes that Gaffney had a strong influence on the side that did claim the title in 2006.
“Declan [Kidney] came back and we ended up winning a first European Cup and that was incredible because he knew the culture and the players. We’d evolved, we’d gotten better over the years from a skills point of view,” Quinlan commented.