Ronan O’Gara was on OTB AM today discussing Munster and what their attack needs to do to improve.
“What has happened in the last number of years is there has been a resort to huge pressure game of box kicking and going after the ball that way while neglecting the capacity to make strikes from different areas of the pitch when it is on.”
“That would be my only, not criticism but feedback from afar from watching the team that there’s only so much box kicking that people, not can put up with but can endure but they also want to see a 15-man game from Munster.”
O’Gara appreciated the team's smart play but said that carrying the ball is what the fans want.
“Yes, they love a maul, yes, they love a line-out, yes, they love a Garryowen - traditional, smart play.”
“I think, probably, the piece where people would like to see more of the team would probably be in an all-around ball in hand game.”
The former Munster icon answered the accusation that players like Scanlon have had their individuality coached out of them. He said it could be seen with the best of guys depending on the way the team’s set-up. He also explained the current set up and offered a solution.
“The team is really set-up to exit their half with minimum rucks possible. Catch a kick-off, set a ruck and Conor Murray box kicking. That’s essentially what they do in their own half. If it’s a line-out they box kick but there’s very little imagination at times.”
“If you have a midfield scrum, you’ve three defenders one side, three defenders the other side and you have a 15 in the middle of the pitch who has to hedge his bets on where he thinks the opposition is going to strike from.”
“So in Munster’s case, that means you could have Carberry’s back first on the right, you could have Scannall’s back first at the left and bring his left foot kicking option into play but I don’t think I can recall a lot of times he’s had the ball in hand and either put it through or created a kind of a midfield play emphasizing his strengths.”
He was asked if it was simply a case of getting in a new attacking coach and focusing on it. He didn’t think the solution was that simple as he doesn’t know what they’re working on now.
“I don’t know what the emphasis is on. You can’t be good at everything, you have to prioritise what areas you want to get better at within certain periods of the season or time-frames so you’re not privy to knowing what’s going on in management, in terms of what areas they’re really trying to get better at.”
“I think Felix Jones’ name has been dragged into this in terms of being the attack coach but I would say you could be certain from my time training with Felix, he has a great brain on the game and he’s so diligent in terms of work he puts into it. So I don't think it’s an attack shaped issue.”