Rugby

"It's good enough for a lot - but not the top table" - Keith Wood on Munster coaching

Joseph Conroy
Joseph Conroy

07:41 22 May 2019



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Keith Wood and Ruaidhri O'Connor spoke about Munster and what they need to do to reach the very top of rugby.

Munster have been a hot topic as their season limps to an end, and former Munster man Wood believes that the setup in Limerick is good, but maybe not good enough.

"It's good enough for an awful lot, but I don't know that they are necessarily good enough for the top table," said Keith, after comparing the side today to Munster's 2006-2008 iterations.

"For me, where Munster get exposed is against three or four teams in Europe. That is all. They are good enough to play against them if every single thing goes right.

"The strength in depth that Munster have towards the end of the season is not the same as the teams that they are playing against."

Keith believes that Munster have to strike a balance between the majority of the team being Munster born and bred, augmented with a couple of world class players from around the globe.

"It is how they traverse things in the meantime that is important. Will they need to go out and get a couple of huge signings? Van Graan is saying that is not happening, but if that's what they need to do, then they have to find the money to pay them and make things happen."

Smartest club

Ruaidhri O'Connor believes that Munster are not getting the most out of their resources, as they need to to compete at the highest level.

"Where Munster are falling down is that they need to be the smartest club around to thrive with the resources they have. They don't have the stream of money and players that Leinster do, they don't have the money that their competition in Europe have.

"They need to be strategic with the appointments that are coming. They need to surround Johann van Graan with really good people. I don't think van Graan is being set up to succeed.

"I think he needs support from above, because I don't think that he is experienced enough to be a Director of Rugby-style head coach. It is too big a role for him.

"Philip Quinn - the acting CEO - is doing some of the contracts, but he has come from Chief Financial Officer. There is a lack of experience from the strategy side of the organisation that is letting them down long-term.

"On the pitch, they don't have the attacking capabilities to take the next step. They were set up in South African style under Rassie Erasmus, and they have continued on with that."

Ruaidhri believes that Munster have failed to take stock since Erasmus' year in charge, under such difficult circumstances as the death of Anthony Foley.

"After that amazing first year was how they would kick on after that year when they were able to overpower teams on that crest of that passion and emotion that came about under such unfortunate circumstances.

"They haven't taken that next step, and I think that is going to be increasingly difficult. The more they do it, the harder that it is going to be to take that next step, because what are they going to be saying to each other this week? What is Peter O'Mahony going to be saying to the players?"

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