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Niamh Briggs identifies the weak link in Munster's defence

Niamh Briggs joined Off The Ball for Monday Night Rugby, and turned her attention to where Munste...


Niamh Briggs identifies the weak link in Munster's defence

Niamh Briggs joined Off The Ball for Monday Night Rugby, and turned her attention to where Munster can improve their performances.

Briggs believes that Munster's win over Cardiff Blues at the weekend is masking some deficiencies in the squad, and that the match represented their 'worst game in a long time.'

Munster errors

"Munster never came to the party for the first 25 minutes and it took a big hit by Tommy O'Donnell and a turnover by James Cronin to get them going. Once they did, it was their basics: lineout, maul, try," Briggs said of the win.

"If that is what they need to do then so be it. They kicked the ball away way too much, especially when they had overlaps - which is a recurring theme for me. When they had turnovers, they didn't look to play it and they didn't have any courage to go with it.

"I think they will take good confidence, and if I was part of that coaching ticket or a player, I would be thinking: we didn't play well but we came away with a bonus point win.

"I think Munster will still get to that final but it was poor at times - really bad errors."

Munster's weak points

Briggs identified weak link in the Munster side, and one that attacking teams may look to exploit.

"You don't want to be mean or harsh, but there are times when you are struggling to find positives in it," Briggs said of commentating on the game for local radio.

"I think I was attacking Munster then you are looking to attack in and around that 13 channel. Damian De Allende, as good a player as he is and a World Cup-winner, he gets caught real narrow. There is always space there. That is exactly where Cardiff exploited, Leinster exploited it in the Pro 14.

"They don't have the ability to push quick enough. From an attack perspective, we didn't see anything at all. They never fired a shot, as such - we never looked to bring in Shane Daly. I feel like I'm preaching to people who say that he doesn't do much, but he hasn't done much because he doesn't get an enormous amount of ball into his hands. That is incredibly frustrating."

Ball in air v ball in hand

Munster's decision to opt for ball in the air is doing nothing to help their prospects, says Briggs.

"The likes of Keith Earls, Conway, Calvin Nash - they are really wingers but they don't look to exploit teams with ball in hand, it just seems to be ball in air and a very stop-start type of game. They look to get parity at set-piece, they look to put pressure on the opposition through territory and it just doesn't happen, then they are under pressure themselves.

"It was definitely disappointing at times and I don't think we will see the best of Joey Carbery because they kick a lot - Craig Casey and Conor Murray box-kick a lot. I think that takes a bit away from his game and his ability to attack space. You are looking for him to attack off turnover which is really difficult to do at this level."

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