Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-06:00 PM

Highlights on Off The Ball


Johann van Graan brought Munster back to the dark ages - Monday Night Rugby

Liam Toland explains why Munster fans aren't excited to go and watch their team and what needs to change.

Liam Toland joined Monday Night Rugby to discuss Munster and Johann van Graan.

Johann van Graan believes that Munster played well on Saturday night.

He also believes Munster were not good enough on Saturday night.

There's some major cognitive dissonance there. If Munster's good isn't good enough, how can the coach stand by it? Van Graan has one foot out the door to Bath in the summer, but he should still be developing Munster and pushing them forward. Instead, the Limerick-based club are continuing to stagnate.

Some positives emerged from Saturday, but not enough. Individual players stood up and played well. But the style of play and setup of the team continues to be a major hindrance.

Liam Toland expressed his frustrations at Munster's performance on Monday Night Rugby.

"Leinster, without much thought, were able to stranglehold the fixture," Toland said.

"A four-try, bonus point win. It was really disappointing...You go through what Van Graan is taking about. It's his 41st week and if that's the best he can produce after 41 weeks, and this isn't his first season, you kind of say 'wow.' There's mitigating factors...but the style of game Munster are playing is still miles behind the experience of watching Connacht, Ulster and Leinster."

Toland actually explained that Munster's style of play was better at the weekend than it normally is. But that's a far cry from it being an effective or entertaining style of play. Toland noted that Craig Casey changed the style of play and ejected some energy when he came off the bench, but that's to be expected from a young, energetic scrum half in a physical game.

It was van Graan's inability to engage his centers that really stood out.

Chris Farrell is a great ball carrier, Damien De Allende has shown flashes of his ability throughout the year. Neither player made their opposite numbers uncomfortable. The only time they confused Garry Ringrose, they scored a try. But Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw had it easy throughout the game.

One moment in the second half captured the problems of Munster's approach.

"It's still in the dark ages in so many ways. And that's very, very disappointing. To kind of throw the gauntlet at a 10-man lineout when Munster were trying to get that score towards the end...10 of a Munster team were in a lineout maul. [Including both centers Chris Farrell and Damien De Allende]. And they couldn't budge Leinster.

"Is this what we've gone back to? This is like 25 years ago when Ireland were playing Argentina in the World Cup. Is this where we are?

"It wasn't just me. The frustration of random punters sitting around. They were really frustrated. They're not enticing people to come and watch. It's not an entertaining game to watch. It's not a successful game to watch.

"Where is the succession plan? Where is the bit of excitement?"

Munster face Exeter in the next round of the Champions Cup, so things don't get any easier moving forward. Van Graan needs a big result to end on a high note, but it doesn't seem likely right now.

Munster players show why the post-van Graan era can be great.


Team of Us. Everyone In.

Vodafone. The main sponsor of the Irish Rugby Team.

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

Read more about

Chris Farrell Damien De Allende Exeter Garry Ringrose Johann Van Graan Leinster Rugby Liam Toland Monday Night Rugby Munster Rugby