Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

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Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:53 am

Very interesting read from the Demented Mole blog this week about Munster's lost generation.
It's long and there's a lot of detail, but it's well worth the read.

http://dementedmole.com/2012/01/05/m85-86/

The Mole was second-guessing himself over the holiday season. Was it The Fear? Partially. It was also the feeling that he can be a little bit too harsh on certain elements of the Munster set-up.
Provincial fans can be prickly with regards to defending their team’s players. It would seem from some fairly frank conversations over the last couple of weeks [and especially in light of the recent interpros] that it’s entirely possible to hold two valuations of the same player in the same mind: one that is voiced in the company of your own fans, and one that is voiced in the company of other fans.

A Tale Of Two Cities

This was considered with particular reference to the recent travails of Duncan Williams, and indeed to the fascinatingly varied make up of the Munster scrum-half corps. Williams had a tough day at the office against Ulster in Ravenhill, but every player has tough days. What was interesting was the divergent responses which his performance generated from Munster fans.


—Duncan Williams: Next Big Thing or on his way to Palookaville? Does it have to be either?
For some, Williams is still a young player that demands sympathetic handling. For others, he’s a guy that simply hasn’t made the grade. Of course, there are always going to be differing opinions on players amongst any fanbase, but something that continually piques the Mole’s interest is Irish rugby fans’ attitude to age in the game.

Williams was born in April 1986; he’ll turn 26 before the season ends. Tom Gleeson, another starter for Munster last Friday, was born in September 1985 – 26 already. Between them, the two lads have made just 19 starts for Munster over three seasons. Given that there’s about 30 games every season, that’s 19 starts from 180+ opportunities. Even allowing for injury, that’s a fairly startling level of inactivity.

It’s not like we’re examining the learning curve years [say 19-22, the typical academy age-group]: we’re looking at guys who should be entering the prime of their careers. That they’re not doing so is highly suggestive that there’s not really going to be a prime for them.

That’s a harsh judgment, and who knows, maybe a run of games will see them make the breakthrough. However, on examining the evidence you’d have to say that this ‘run of games’ isn’t going to be forthcoming.

There are a couple of other players who fall into the Williams/Gleeson bracket: Darragh Hurley [October 1985] and Billy Holland [August 1985]. Hurley debuted for Munster as a 20 year old back in September 2006 and even played some Heineken Cup rugby that season, but his career has been badly damaged by injury after injury and seems to have stalled beyond recovery: he’s started just five games in the last five seasons. You look at that and have to think that maybe he’s just not cut out for professional rugby, because that’s half your career right there.

Holland at least plays a bit, but in the middle of the fifth season of his professional career is no closer to Heineken Cup rugby than he was in his first or second. With 23 starts in four and a half seasons under his belt, he’s averaging about 5 starts in the Pro12/ML per season. He hasn’t been massively hamstrung with injury, he’s just a guy who doesn’t get selected very much.

Peter Borlase [May 1985] is in the middle of his second season with Munster, having arrived from Canterbury at the start of the 2010-11 season. He has made just four starts since he arrived, none of them this season. Now, Richardt Strauss [another project player] didn’t make a huge impact when he arrived in Leinster, but that was largely because Michael Cheika refused to pick him; when Joe Schmidt came in as coach, Strauss earned a place as one of the first names down on the team sheet.

Borlase has seen Fisher replaced as Munster forwards’ coach by Foley, and still hasn’t seen much action. Maybe he’ll start proving his worth as an IRFU special project once he returns to full fitness, but the jury is out … a long way out. When players don’t have a specific long term injury keeping them off the pitch and yet miss a lot of games, then there’s usually something afoot either form or behavior-wise.

Mondale To Hart: Where’s The Beef?

This is where the second-guessing comes in. There are a whole range of issues that crop up when discussing the careers of players like the five outlined above.

The first is to compare them with their contemporaries and see how they relate in terms of their standing in the squad.


—Click to embiggen; concentrate to make cromulent
While the progress of Devin Toner [June 1986] hasn’t always been smooth, he has racked up 82 appearances for Leinster since he first donned the blue as a gangly 19 year old back in January 2006. It seems incredible now that Cheika would put him in that position, because it’s obvious to most half-intelligent rugby fans that Dev was always going to be a guy who would take considerable time to grow into his height.

His early debut is something that the Mole sees as going against him in journalists’ appraisals: everyone seems to think he should be ‘further on’, but he’s not much more than 25 years old, which isn’t particularly old for a second row. His best years are clearly ahead of him, and it’s not at all unlikely that he could still be playing for Leinster in nine or ten years’ time. After all, Mal O’Kelly only retired at 35, and Leo Cullen is still kicking within days of his 34th birthday.

Rob Kearney [March 1986] has made 111 appearances – Nelson! – for Leinster, as well as 33 for Ireland and 3 more for the Lions; all this despite the fact that he missed almost the entire 2010/11 season with a serious knee injury. Fergus McFadden [June 1986] has made 61 appearances for Leinster [somewhat surprisingly, the vast majority of them – 46 – being starts], despite having to share the same positions as Gordon D’Arcy, Brian O’Driscoll and Felipe Contepomi.

Fionn Carr [Dec 1985] moved back to Leinster after racking up 73 games [and 34 tries] for Connacht, and has managed 3 tries in 9 starts since he returned to the blue. Sean Cronin [May 1986] is another fresh arrival from Connacht, where he put in a 65 game stint after arriving from Munster. He’s up against fierce competition in Richardt Strauss [Jan 1986], who qualifies for Ireland in September 2012 and has already made a significant mark on Leinster rugby in his 51 games.

Jonny Sexton [July 1985] has made 64 starts in his 83 appearances; this is the seventh season he has taken the pitch for Leinster.

You look at this group of Leinster players [Sexton, Carr, Strauss, Kearney, Cronin, McFadden, Toner], all of whom were born within a 12-month period from June 1985 [Sexton] to June 1986 [McFadden & Toner], and a couple of things stand out. Five of the seven are capped internationals – the exceptions being Carr and Strauss – and all of them have played more than 50 games for their province/s.

There couldn’t be a stronger contrast with their Munster contemporaries, none of whom have come anywhere near a cap, nor even particularly close to starting some games in the Heineken Cup, the typical stepping stone to international rugby.

The Fear Factor

The second step is to consider their motivations in staying put in a situation where progress – if any – is measured in increments so small as to appear farcical.

This is a surprisingly sensitive issue. Suggesting that players are happy in a comfort zone where they are called upon very infrequently to actually play matches can be taken as questioning their competitive will, and yet it’s an eminently reasonable viewpoint. If these guys aren’t happy to be playing second fiddle, why don’t they back their talent and try to make something of a career for themselves somewhere else?

Do they just enjoy walking around Limerick/Cork kitted up to the nines in Munster gear? Is it that simple?

Or is it that the loyalty to Munster runs so deep that they’re willing to put aside the obvious fact that they are spending a significant portion of a short career doing little else but holding pads?

Is it that there is some lack of self-confidence? Munster players used to leave the province to try their luck elsewhere if they didn’t feel that they were making progress: Mick O’Driscoll headed off to Perpignan from 03-05 at 24 years old when it became clear to him that he had lost out to Donncha O’Callaghan in the bid to replace Mick Galway. Micko won 21 of his 23 Irish caps after his return to Munster.

Stephen Keogh left Munster at 24 years old to move to Leinster for the 06-07 season; Trev Hogan [26 at the time] did the same. Both had more than 50 Munster caps at that stage of their careers, but could see that they weren’t likely to pass the players ahead of them in the pecking order.


—Mike Ross in his days at Harlequins, where he became the best Irish scrummager of the decade
Eoin Reddan left Munster at the end of the 04-05 season [again at 24 years old] for what turned out to be four seasons at Wasps, having spent a couple of seasons behind Peter Stringer. Mike Ross headed off to Harlequins in 2006 [aged 26] for three seasons, and returned to Ireland a much in-demand player.

Look at those players and the ages at which they left Munster: all five of them between 24 and 26. Fringe Munster players used to want to play rugby, get ahead and make something of themselves. Now it seems that they are all too ready just to play games against Newport Gwent Dragons, Aironi and Connacht and hold the bags for the rest of the season.

The Queue Is More Important Than The Talent

The third element is to wonder whether there are two different but equally effective ways of managing players’ careers.


—Germany Coughlan: Munster's own Rocky story
Munster have got two and a half excellent seasons out of James ‘Germany’ Coughlan after first giving him a development contract back in 2006 as a late-blooming 25 year old. Coughlan had earned his spurs with Dolphin but was essentially a bit-part player for his first three seasons with Munster, only starting 8 games in that period. His first big season for Munster was 09-10 as a 28/29 year old, but it was his cracking 10-11 season that earned him his Munster Player of the Season award. Now, there’s always a bit of a lean towards players who are trojans of the Pro 12/Celtic League ahead of those who spend more time with the international team – and rightly so, from the Mole’s point of view – but to come away ahead of the likes of 14-try Doug Howlett, Ronan O’Gara on a points-scoring career high [260 for the season] and perennial match-winner David Wallace is still a huge accomplishment.

Donnacha Ryan is another example. He was first capped by Declan Kidney for Ireland in November 2008 against Australia, but it wasn’t until almost two years later that he started his first HEC match for Munster [after which he was promptly dropped, unfortunately]. He turned 28 in December 2011, and it took him the guts of seven seasons to become a regular name on the team sheet for Munster’s HEC games.

One of the more cutting – and pithy – criticisms the Mole has heard applied to Munster over the last couple of years states that “the queue is more important than the talent”. Donncha O’Callaghan put it a little differently in his recent book, saying that Mick Galway didn’t hand over the jersey to him, but instead he had to reef it off him; anybody looking to take the No4 jersey away from O’Callaghan will have to do the same.

Saying that is all well and good, but living it out is another question entirely. In theory, it’s entirely plausible that a player could start every game of the season if he remained uninjured. In practice, he’d be a wreck by about February or March, just when the real business end kicks off. You need depth in every position, and you need guys who can step up to the plate if the man in possession loses form or fitness. The IRFU’s player management program does kickback to players competing for positions by taking the internationals out of the equation for parts of the season [and this allowing the competing players more gametime in the league], but when it comes to cup rugby, all too often the safety first approach to selection wins out.

There’s always an excuse to take a conservative outlook in selection [the 'we need to win this one' outlook] but a good coach balances that with the realization that you need depth, you need to not be utterly reliant on a single player in a position – at least where you can avoid it – and you need to take the occasional chance on younger players.

On the other hand, maybe Munster are better served by the older mindset of having to take the jersey away from the man in possession when his powers are fading.

Goodbye Sabermetrics, Hello Bludgeonmetrics

While that’s one way of looking at it, there’s a deeper reaching series of consequences to these C86 players not getting selected that often.

The first [and perhaps most obvious] one is that they’re taking a wage from Munster, money that could be used somewhere else. Munster have an enormous, 48-strong squad which – from the Mole’s point of view – carries a number of passengers. In a collision sport like rugby, the benefits of having a large squad are obvious: you will inevitably pick up injuries over the season, and it’s better to have experienced cover available than be left digging into the academy.

However, there has to be a play-off between the number of players you can contract and the number of players you should contract. Munster have found themselves in a situation where they have too many players who make three or four starts and a similar number of runs off the bench every season in the Pro 12 while never threatening a Heineken Cup squad.

For every game these guys get, there’s the suspicion that they are merely filling a space. There’s a negative pay-off further down the line, if you will. They’re taking odd minutes of gametime away from younger players who could prove to be an awful lot better than them.

The other viewpoint [and one mentioned very briefly above] is that no player thrives on patchy gametime – a game here, another one a month later, another after Christmas. These players aren’t really getting a fair crack of the whip to show what they can do, be it for better or worse. Obviously a coach isn’t single-mindedly focused on proving or disproving which of his players is good enough to make the grade – he’s got bigger things to worry about, like results – but the idea of giving a middle of the road player a significant run of games to prove whether he’s worth further investment shouldn’t be wholly disregarded.

The Final Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back And Gave Him A Kick In The Hole

Holland, Williams, Gleeson and Borlase have all been conclusively leapfrogged by younger colleagues.

■Peter O’Mahony [September 89] has started three of Munster’s four HEC games on the blindside ahead of Denis Leamy, never mind Billy Holland;
■Conor Murray [April 89] has become Ireland’s first-choice scrum-half, and skipped both Peter Stringer and Tomás O’Leary in the rankings, leaving Duncan Williams a long way back in the dust;
■Danny Barnes [October 89] made more starts in 2011 than Gleeson has in his entire Munster career to date; and
■Stephen Archer [January 88] is, with John Hayes’ re-retirement now behind us, Munster’s second-choice tighthead.
When The Hurley Burley’s Done, When The Battle’s Lost And Won


—Darragh Hurley: injury prone hardly covers it
The only one who hasn’t been conclusively outstripped is Darragh Hurley, which is a pretty stunning indictment of Munster’s situation at loosehead. They’ve got a hard-working NIQ in Wian du Preez who’s miles ahead of anyone else on the depth chart, an undeniably past-it 34 year old Marcus Horan in second place, perennial sicknote Hurley in third, and 23-year old academy player Dave Kilcoyne in fourth place.

Owing to injury, illness and selection, Hurley is still a largely inexperienced prop. The fact that this is his sixth season contracted to Munster is somewhat irrelevant: he’s played about as many matches in that time [36, with 14 starts] as a fit and able prop would manage in a season and a half. Obviously there’s more to progression than gametime alone, but to say it plays anything other than a significant part is simply obtuse.

Hurley might be well tuned in to how Munster do things, but injury hasn’t just kept him from playing games, it has kept him off the training pitch. There’s considerable ground to be made up there and, in all probability, somebody so injury prone for such long periods of his career isn’t going to come in and all of a sudden be able to play a number of 20-22 game seasons in a row, which shouldn’t be beyond the compass of any prop not subject to the IRFU player management program.

It has been apparent in recent times that Munster have no problem with flogging a dead horse when it comes to eeking out the careers of Generation Ligind players: Alan Quinlan played out a patchy and injured-afflicted last season up until two months away from his 37th birthday, and John Hayes was dragged out of retirement to pass his 38th birthday with Munster. On the other hand, Marcus Horan is simply not the physical specimen that either of these two players were, and the law of diminishing returns has been evident in his performances for three seasons. Munster are between a rock and a hard place at loosehead, which possibly explains the persistence with a player as injury-prone as Hurley.

Rugby is an extremely position-specific sport, and there are a number of limits imposed on the provincial teams by the IRFU with regards to recruitment. With the limit on NIQ players and the contractural veto held by the PCRG [Professional Contracts Review Group], it’s not really an open market when it comes to sourcing players. Munster have invested an awful lot of coaching, time and money in Hurley; unfortunately, there’s very little to show for their investment. In a different business, a line would be drawn under his contract and they’d move on. However, there’s no thriving market in Irish props; they can’t just cut their losses with him and go out an get another loosehead.

With that in mind, Munster don’t have a wide range of options to choose from with regards to how they proceed. The one that leaps out [and which they will likely pursue] is to make a move for Connacht’s Brett Wilkinson, a 28 year old South African-born loosehead who became qualified for Ireland through the three year residency rule. Wilkinson has appeared for the Wolfhounds for a number of seasons and was included in Declan Kidney’s training squad for RWC11 before a hamstring injury ruled him out of contention. A move to Munster would catapult him into immediate international contention, and also likely earn him a significant increase in salary.

Another move – or rather lack of a move – is simply to persist with the same personnel, and hope that Hurley can return from his current back injury before the end of this season to get himself some gametime. With a good pre-season behind him, he could then look to push himself ahead of Marcus Horan in the depth chart before Christmas 2012, with Dave Kilcoyne being exposed to more rugby as Horan turns 35. Wian du Preez would still play a major role as first choice, but then that’s why the provinces pay NIQ players.

The third idea is a little more left-field. Denis Fogarty is a talented front-rower, but has serious issues with a major part of the hooker’s position, namely throwing the ball into the line out. Even without Jerry Flannery, Munster are pretty well-stocked at No2 with Varley, Sherry, Fogarty and Sean Henry. Despite his recent injury, Sherry looks to be the coming man, which would see Fogarty squeezed out of the picture on his return.


—Make versatility your watchword, Fogs Jnr. That, or learn how to throw!
Essentially, the Mole’s idea would be that Fogs Jnr tries his hand at loosehead. At 28 years old, he’s in his eighth season with Munster, but is light on miles: he’s played 84 games for the provinces, but less than half of these [41, to be precise] have been starts. With Best, Cronin, Varley – and Richardt Strauss come September of this year, when he qualifies for Ireland – all ahead of him, his international hopes are numbered as a hooker. Putting his career with Munster first and making the most of it should be his priority, and improving his versatility to give himself a better chance of selection for more games is one way of going about it.

Obviously it’s a gambit that might not necessarily pay off, because scrummaging at professional level is a highly specialized subject. Still, Fogs isn’t exactly a front-row neophyte: he has played there at a high level for his entire career. With a lot of experience of hooker in the bank, it’s not as though he’s a total greenhorn when it comes to scrummaging. A summer spent learning the tricks of the trade with Paul McCarthy and BJ Botha would be time well spent, in the Mole’s opinion. He wouldn’t have to entirely throw in his hand at hooker; with so much time spent there, some of it [throwing aside, unfortunately] must be hardwired into him. Obviously, horning in on the loosehead racket would get up Horan’s nose, but what harm? He’s an irritable old sod and he’s on the way out anyway!

Punxutawney Phil

Winding up – finally! – brings us back to Williams, Gleeson, Holland and Hurley. Look at the dates involved. The players in question were born in 1985-86, meaning that they would have been between 19-20 when Declan Kidney resumed as Munster coach at the start of the 2005-06 season, and 22-23 when he left at the end of the 07-08 season. Dave Ryan [April 86] was another from that era, although he has mercifully been cut after just two starts in three seasons.

Added to the 85-86 crowd, there’s just one 1984-born graduate from the Munster Academy still contracted to the province, winger/fullback Denis Hurley. The Mole actually has quite a bit of time for Hurley, but it’s fair to say that his one test cap was of the softest of soft variety, coming as it did on a tour to the States in 2009 when the great majority of Ireland’s internationals were away in South Africa with the Lions.

Those birth dates [1984-86] neatly bracket the age-group overseen by the academy structures during Kidney’s second stint.

The Mole has no idea how interested Kidney was in the academy. He might have been hugely involved; after all, he had been a schoolteacher for many years and was a very successful underage coach. However, the evidence strongly points to the fact that during his Second Republic, the Munster Academy simply turned out a bunch of duds.



What do you think?


Last edited by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:58 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by the-goon on Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:55 am

Are you able to copy paste on here, I can't access the site at work?
Cheers

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:58 am

the-goon wrote:Are you able to copy paste on here, I can't access the site at work?
Cheers

Done. OK

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:20 am

A very intersting read and contrasts with what some posters had said yesterday about Munster giving youth a chance more then Leinster do.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:26 am

roddersm wrote:A very intersting read and contrasts with what some posters had said yesterday about Munster giving youth a chance more then Leinster do.

Rodders, I don't think I (I assume your referring to me) said we give youth a go more than Leinster, but rather that we have seen the young guy earn his shirt off the established player. Thats excellent what he says too.

Its an excellent read but it makes no real reference to the fact that Munster won 2 HEC squads built mainly on a mature team supplemented by shrewd purchases. This was always likely to lead to a generation gap. Couple that to the fact that 2005-2006 was a period of massive upheaval in the province due to new Celtic League formats and changes amongst the coaches, this doesn't surprise me.

We've seen a new crop of players come through the Munster Academy and A team with lots of Munster A game time. Between the British and Irish Cup, Munster A Interprovincials and Celtic League, these guys are getting game time. As I said a top read but Im not sure things are so black and white.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:46 am

red_stag wrote:
Rodders, I don't think I (I assume your referring to me)

Yes sorry stag I probably am. I'm not saying your comments were wrong yesterday but there are some very interesting and valid points above.

I think the comments above could be applied thoughout Irish rugby though and aren't necessarily specific to Munster.

I agree that the onus should be on young players to rip the jerseys off the older guys but I think we pick far too much on reputation and are not that quick to give younger guys a genuine run here.

Likewise too many young guys are too content to play second or third fiddle at their province rather than move away to get game time and I think the above article hilights that quite well.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:12 am

We do pick too much on reputation I agree. Also agree that players are happy to play second fiddle.

My only point yesterday is that Munster have progressed. Our bench in Europe includes the likes of Horan, Hayes, O'Callaghan, Leamy and O'Leary who have lost out to younger players.

The argument was suggested that it was "the Leinster Way" for young players to steal the jersey off an older one. I can't remember that happening though. Darcy is still ahead of McFadden, Shane Horgan hasn't been ousted of his spot yet, Leo Cullen hasn't been challenged. It took a bad injury to Contepomi to get Sexton in. That was my only point.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:21 am

Fair points. I have no interest in the Leinster way or Munster way whatever they are. Across the country we are seeing more and more young guys breaking through which is great.

However I still feel too much of this is down to injuries to established players with a lot of the coaches too unwilling to take risks by dropping big name players in favour of less established ones.

Despite the growing depth and high performances by younger players this season and last I fear we will see an all too familiar look about the 6N squad again.

I sometimes wonder if the IRFU central contracts make certain players undroppable for their province and if this rather than the NIQ's presents a bigger barrier to young players playing in the big games.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:28 am

Oh Im not claiming theres a "Munster Way".

Your last point is quite an interesting one. But the flip side of it is, if you keep winning its very hard to justify changes.

Leinster win HEC in 2009, make semi final in 2010, win HEC again in 2011 and are coasting along in 2012. Makes it hard to justify taking out guys who have always delivered, as if things dont go well you'll look like a dunce.

It was same with Munster for years.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:46 am

red_stag wrote:Your last point is quite an interesting one. But the flip side of it is, if you keep winning its very hard to justify changes.

Absolutely but thats the crux of the challenge, getting the balance between performing in the present and building for the future. Its extremely hard to change a winning team but a winning team will eventially become a losing team if you don't.

I read some comments by O'Connell yesterday about how great Ireland and in particular Munster were at prolonging older players careers with the likes of Quinlan, Hayes etc. playing into their late 30's.

This is a good thing in itself but it does have its drawbacks if the next generation aren't getting their chance until they are 26 or 27.

I really can't understand things like Paddy Wallace getting a 1 year IRFU extension when he hardly features for Ireland, even POC getting extended until 2014 and then saying it would be his last contract is bizarre. If he won't play until 2015 then why the extension?
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:52 am

Beacuse the RWC is not the be all and end all.

He may still represent Ireland anyway after that but just not centrally contracted.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Don Alfonso on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:00 am

Couple of thoughts. I had no idea Gleeson, Holland, Williams et al were so old.

I do think there's an element of players not brave enough to make a move for more success, who are happy being benchwarmers. I am not levelling that accusation at any of those guys in particular, but I have more respect for someone like TJ Anderson or Niall O'Connor - limited Ulster players who at least took a punt by signing with Connacht.

Also - I can't believe this guy is writing a blog when the paucity of Irish rugby journalism is so chronic. I thought this article was thoughtful, reasoned, passionate, wry - and yet the stuff we read in the papers is 80% mindless, recycled, tiresome dross. Well, played, fella.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by SecretFly on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:22 am

On the O'Connell issue - I'd say two more years of Paul helping out Munster and Ireland is reason for extension enough. If he said 'nope, can't commit to 2015' would that be reason for the IRFU to rip up his contract? He has a price that he's worth by now and I'm sure he hinted that he could get that price elsewhere if he wasn't a centrally contracted player anymore. Not that I think the conversation would have arisen.

On the rest of what you say I agree Rodders. The contracting probably does as much to keep players playing and taking up long term slots on the International side as does the sheer ability of these 'special' players. And the longer they go on the more risky the generational loss of possible 'greats' becomes.

'Who ever hired a Possible Great??!!', I hear in my ear.

Well nobody but the fact remains that if one player is seen as central to success and he's protected enough so that his career lasts well into his 30s, then who finally replaces him? The guy or guys who were lying in the wings, waiting all those years for their chance? Well, the more likely shot is that the place skips a generation and a younger player is given the shot because he is 'the future'. So with long term players, you keep missing a generation of possibles in general terms.

But then again, no system is perfect as using up the possibles in a fast track policy can give you a lifetime 'development' side, like England have kinda been since their last WC win.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:23 am

red_stag wrote:Oh Im not claiming theres a "Munster Way".

Your last point is quite an interesting one. But the flip side of it is, if you keep winning its very hard to justify changes.

Leinster win HEC in 2009, make semi final in 2010, win HEC again in 2011 and are coasting along in 2012. Makes it hard to justify taking out guys who have always delivered, as if things dont go well you'll look like a dunce.

It was same with Munster for years.

Since 2009 we've now got 2 new (and soon to be IQ) hookers, and IQ tighthead with a promising IQ replacement, we've got 2 IQ outhalves and scrumhalves and we're trialing replacements for the next center partnership. The only area we're lacking in depth now in, is lock.

Between Munster's first and second HC there wasn't the same player turnover, and given that a lot of the key players from the Munster 06 team were older than the key players from the Leinster 09 team they were bound to run out of steam sooner. Leinster's transition over the last few years has been much more* of a silent cutover rather than being forced to play younger players due to injury.

*Outside center being one very obvious exception

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:25 am

Mick, Im not disputing any of that.

Literally Gibbo said that it was a "Leinster Way" for a young player to force an older international class player on the bench. I disagreed thats all.

You have developed oodles of talent but not in the manner as described mainly as your older players are still doing well and the rest are quite young.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:32 am

Don Alfonso wrote:Couple of thoughts. I had no idea Gleeson, Holland, Williams et al were so old.

I do think there's an element of players not brave enough to make a move for more success, who are happy being benchwarmers. I am not levelling that accusation at any of those guys in particular, but I have more respect for someone like TJ Anderson or Niall O'Connor - limited Ulster players who at least took a punt by signing with Connacht.

Also - I can't believe this guy is writing a blog when the paucity of Irish rugby journalism is so chronic. I thought this article was thoughtful, reasoned, passionate, wry - and yet the stuff we read in the papers is 80% mindless, recycled, tiresome dross. Well, played, fella.

I agree. It's very well written. clap

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:33 am

I third that. Very well written, it raises issues and gives as much food for thought as it does facts.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:34 am

SecretFly wrote:On the O'Connell issue - I'd say two more years of Paul helping out Munster and Ireland is reason for extension enough. If he said 'nope, can't commit to 2015' would that be reason for the IRFU to rip up his contract? He has a price that he's worth by now and I'm sure he hinted that he could get that price elsewhere if he wasn't a centrally contracted player anymore. Not that I think the conversation would have arisen.

Hmm I think you are twisting my words a wee bit. Off course the IRFU shouldn't rip up his contract. However he is contract until 2013 which gives Ireland two seasons to replace him for the RWC.

If he was saying that he was fit and motivated enough to carry on until the 2015 RWC then by all means give him an extension but he isn't. He's got 1 year extension until 2014 which in his words will be his last meaning it gives us and his successor 1 season to prepare for the RWC and for Ireland to re jig the pack and lineout with new players.

If Munster want to keep him until 2014 then fair enough but how is it in Irelands interests to keep him until then?

It just seems a bizarre and shortsighted descision by the IRFU.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:37 am

roddersm wrote:If Munster want to keep him until 2014 then fair enough but how is it in Irelands interests to keep him until then?

How isn't it. He is our best second row? Headscratch
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by SecretFly on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:39 am

red_stag wrote:Mick, Im not disputing any of that.

Literally Gibbo said that it was a "Leinster Way" for a young player to force an older international class player on the bench. I disagreed thats all.

You have developed oodles of talent but not in the manner as described mainly as your older players are still doing well and the rest are quite young.

I'd agree. It's not that younger players are playing their older rivals onto the benches. I think you could describe it better that the younger and older are now sharing duties. And as benchwarmers and match day players take roughly equal turns, everyone meshes, nobody feels cheated and most important of all, experience is fast tracked. You can't keep getting told to sit on the bench and watch how it's done. The young guys need to be out there. And they need to be out there for sustained periods. The token 10 minutes is not enough.

Having said that...wasn't it one of the younger generation who actually went to Schmidt, wasn't it one of the younger generation who actually coaxed a reluctant Schmidt to sign up. He was shocked at the intensity, the belief and The Expressed Need for him to come onboard. All driven not by O'Driscoll or Cullen but by Sexton.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:44 am

red_stag wrote:
roddersm wrote:If Munster want to keep him until 2014 then fair enough but how is it in Irelands interests to keep him until then?

How isn't it. He is our best second row? Headscratch

I give up. It's this shortsighted mind set that keeps us from being in the top 4 teams in the world. You would take 6N title in 2014 if it meant getting knocked out in the group stages in the 2015 RWC??



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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:44 am

Where did you come across that info Fly?

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:50 am

Ive never heard that before fly.

Rodders - Nothing short sighted about it.

"You would take 6N title in 2014 if it meant getting knocked out in the group stages in the 2015 RWC??" = No I wouldn't. You only have to ask others here how little I care for the 6 Nations.

I would take multiple 6N titles and consistent victories over the Southern Hemisphere if it meant losing in the group stages/quarter finals (though obviously I would be sad).

However I think if Ireland simply continued to win all their matches they'd be fine come the RWC. How hard is that to understand. Our best team in 2012 will be different to 2013 to 2014 to 2015. The team gets used to winning.

It would mean that we stop picking on reputation. However O'Connell is our best lock. Who is? Toner? Tuohy? Nagle? Dont make me laugh.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by SecretFly on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:53 am

roddersm wrote:
SecretFly wrote:On the O'Connell issue - I'd say two more years of Paul helping out Munster and Ireland is reason for extension enough. If he said 'nope, can't commit to 2015' would that be reason for the IRFU to rip up his contract? He has a price that he's worth by now and I'm sure he hinted that he could get that price elsewhere if he wasn't a centrally contracted player anymore. Not that I think the conversation would have arisen.

Hmm I think you are twisting my words a wee bit. Off course the IRFU shouldn't rip up his contract. However he is contract until 2013 which gives Ireland two seasons to replace him for the RWC.

If he was saying that he was fit and motivated enough to carry on until the 2015 RWC then by all means give him an extension but he isn't. He's got 1 year extension until 2014 which in his words will be his last meaning it gives us and his successor 1 season to prepare for the RWC and for Ireland to re jig the pack and lineout with new players.

If Munster want to keep him until 2014 then fair enough but how is it in Irelands interests to keep him until then?

It just seems a bizarre and shortsighted descision by the IRFU.

Sorry, maybe I did paraphrase you there a little too freely Wink Still, the fact that he's staying until he goes is probably the most 'probable' thing that's going to happen Irish rugby in the next two years (barring injury). It wasn't exactly a surprise that we will be relying on Paul until he wants to retire or end his International career at least. So the fact that he's here until he decides it's time is a little like O'Driscoll - written in stone.

But that doesn't stop or hinder the development of a successor. And when the successor becomes more obvious leading up to 2015, well, he'll be getting his central contract in advance of Paul's retirement...I'd have thought.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:55 am

red_stag wrote:
It would mean that we stop picking on reputation. However O'Connell is our best lock. Who is? Toner? Tuohy? Nagle? Dont make me laugh.

O'Connell is our best lock now but won't be in 2015 because he won't be there as he has stated.

You might think Toner and Tuohy are funny now (I don't) but they could well be starting locks and calling the lineout in the next World cup.

The question therefore is not "who is our best lock" but who will be our best locks in 2015 and will they be better prepared for having 1 international season under their belts or 2?
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:55 am

I honestly think some people would moan and whinge and grumble about defeats for 4 years and then have a party when we make a semi finals.

There has to be more to international rugby than the RWC or it will turn out like soccer where players have little time for their international teams.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:58 am

roddersm wrote:You might think Toner and Tuohy are funny now (I don't) but they could well be starting locks and calling the lineout in the next World cup.

The question therefore is not "who is our best lock" but who will be our best locks in 2015 and will they be better prepared for having 1 international season under their belts or 2?

I'd expect Toner and Tuohy will be in the mix in 2015. However it is to me a really really really REALLY stupid idea to insist on playing them now because they might be good then.

We will go into the 6 Nations with a 28 year old lock starting. Why insist on depriving our team of our best player on top of that. We have a lock playing.

Chillax and just enjoy rugby.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:59 am

Ah no I forgot to include the other "really"s Very Happy
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:03 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Sorry, maybe I did paraphrase you there a little too freely Wink Still, the fact that he's staying until he goes is probably the most 'probable' thing that's going to happen Irish rugby in the next two years (barring injury). It wasn't exactly a surprise that we will be relying on Paul until he wants to retire or end his International career at least. So the fact that he's here until he decides it's time is a little like O'Driscoll - written in stone.

But that doesn't stop or hinder the development of a successor. And when the successor becomes more obvious leading up to 2015, well, he'll be getting his central contract in advance of Paul's retirement...I'd have thought.

Therein lies the crux of the problem secretfly.

If O'Connell leads the pack and calls the lineout for the next 2 years then I would say that certainly hinders the development of a successor.

One thing that was clear from the RWC was that the on field descision were taken mainly by 3 players O'Driscoll, O'Gara and O'Connell. watch the descision to kick for the corners against Wales for reference.

Sexton is the only other player to step up and take the lead for Ireland of the younger generation and has yet to show he can do it consistantly.

England suffered 10 years of mediocrity because all their key descision makers and leaders retired or were past their prime at the same time post 2003 and I fear we will suffer the same unless we are better prepared than Woodward and the RFU were.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by SecretFly on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

I remember an interview with Schmidt (written) He said he was a little uneasy, he didn't feel all that confident taking over Leinster. He didn't know what he could give to them. In this climate of doubt, he had a meeting with Sexton and another player (can't remember the player - might have been D'arcy) . Schmidt expressed his doubts. For some reason he was worried about the motivational side - worrying would Leinster players really work to his philosophy, would there be a lack of belief, maybe even a touch of juvenile laziness. He just felt he might be the wrong coach for the job. But it was Sexton that told him directly to worry about the coaching, teach them new things and He and other players would Do The Motivation. He said he was impressed by Sexton, by his drive and by the sheer determination from a young player.

Surely someone remembers that interview?? I'm only paraphrasing again from memory, but that's the gist of it.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:06 pm

Sextons mentality has always impressed me. Every bit as tough mentally as ROG.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by BlueMuff on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:08 pm

To be very honest I thinks its a poorly written long winded off the point ramble using out of context examples.

For example the 3 Borlase paragraphs. Is the mole suggesting that he hasnt been given a chance because of different forward coaches, injury or the fact that when he did play he was completely and utterly out of his debt.

Then he compares contemporaries like of Rob Keanry and Luke Fitzs. Of course you can pick any number of successful players and compare them. But why not use the Keith Earls, Peter O'Mahonys and Conor Murrays.

He is picking and chosing leaving out important pertinent facts to back up his long winded rant.

It definitely has some merits in terms of how we talk about our players amongst ourseves and outsiders but just drifts off topic ommitting key points like 2 HEINEKEN CUPS, success and Munster superb HC record over the last 10 years.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:09 pm

red_stag wrote:I'd expect Toner and Tuohy will be in the mix in 2015. However it is to me a really really really REALLY stupid idea to insist on playing them now because they might be good then.

We will go into the 6 Nations with a 28 year old lock starting. Why insist on depriving our team of our best player on top of that. We have a lock playing.

Chillax and just enjoy rugby.

Whos saying that? What I'm saying is that O'Connell should carry on until 2013 and if he thinks he can and has the desire to play in a 4th RWC then give him a new contract otherwaise let him sort out something with Munster.

In the interim a successor needs to be identified: be it Touhy, Toner, Nagle or whoever to take the reigns in 2013 not 2014.

I would be very happy if POC committed to 2015 but not for him to hang around the international scene for another season just for the sake of it if it hinders our RWC preperations.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:12 pm

red_stag wrote:Sextons mentality has always impressed me. Every bit as tough mentally as ROG.

I agree I think he has a real steel about him and the confidence at the top level. He reminds me a bit of O'Driscoll in that respect.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:16 pm

SecretFly wrote:I remember an interview with Schmidt (written) He said he was a little uneasy, he didn't feel all that confident taking over Leinster. He didn't know what he could give to them. In this climate of doubt, he had a meeting with Sexton and another player (can't remember the player - might have been D'arcy) . Schmidt expressed his doubts. For some reason he was worried about the motivational side - worrying would Leinster players really work to his philosophy, would there be a lack of belief, maybe even a touch of juvenile laziness. He just felt he might be the wrong coach for the job. But it was Sexton that told him directly to worry about the coaching, teach them new things and He and other players would Do The Motivation. He said he was impressed by Sexton, by his drive and by the sheer determination from a young player.

Surely someone remembers that interview?? I'm only paraphrasing again from memory, but that's the gist of it.

I don't remember reading that at all, but it's very encouraging to hear. The older players in the squad really admire him and obviously listen to what he has to say.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:17 pm

I feel there are question marks over his goal kicking. ROGs mental toughness has always twofold IMO:

1) His ability to concentrate on his kick in a pressure situation be it a dropgoal or place kick.

2) His willingness to put his body on the line as a target for ball carriers. The hits hurt him but though he is a useless tackler he never shirks away. Not quite a road block but a speedbump.

Outside of that I wonder about his mentality. Sexton on the other hand has more confidence in his ability on the field itself. Had Sexton come onto the field for the Lions in the 2nd Test he would have fared much better than ROG. However Im not sure if he was on the field in Cardiff 2009 we would be celebrating now.


Last edited by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Sin é on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:18 pm

roddersm wrote:
red_stag wrote:
It would mean that we stop picking on reputation. However O'Connell is our best lock. Who is? Toner? Tuohy? Nagle? Dont make me laugh.

O'Connell is our best lock now but won't be in 2015 because he won't be there as he has stated.

You might think Toner and Tuohy are funny now (I don't) but they could well be starting locks and calling the lineout in the next World cup.

The question therefore is not "who is our best lock" but who will be our best locks in 2015 and will they be better prepared for having 1 international season under their belts or 2?

Have you a link to where O'Connell made that statement?

Toner and Tuohy could be at the next world cup - both being the junior 2nd row partners in their provinces, they have a good challenge to surpass Muller & Cullen (though it should be easier for Toner as Cullen is in very serious decline).
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Mickado on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:18 pm

BM, the article is about a crop of academy player born between 85 and 86. None of Earls, O'Mahony or Murray fit in there.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:27 pm

Bluemuff, I think there is clearly a generation gap but IMO its not a problem and is to be expected.

Maybe it contributed to us not getting out of the pool last year but our past achievements and now the right signings and a new generation of players suggest to me its not really a big deal.

Leinster will have it too in their own way. Paul O'Donoghue at Connacht, Ian Keatley at Munster, Felix Jones at Munster, Jason Harris Wright to Bristol, Kyle Tonetti to Sale (now at Connaht), etc

With success this is not often a big deal.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Sin é on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:29 pm

red_stag wrote:I feel there are question marks over his goal kicking. ROGs mental toughness has always twofold IMO:

1) His ability to concentrate on his kick in a pressure situation be it a dropgoal or place kick.

2) His willingness to put his body on the line as a target for ball carriers. The hits hurt him but though he is a useless tackler he never shirks away. Not quite a road block but a speedbump.

Outside of that I wonder about his mentality. Sexton on the other hand has more confidence in his ability on the field itself. Had Sexton come onto the field for the Lions in the 2nd Test he would have fared much better than ROG. However Im not sure if he was on the field in Cardiff 2009 we would be celebrating now.

I'd also add that he is frequently targetted to be roughed up/on the receiving end of a few heavy tackles - and unlike any other outhalf he generally manages to keep his cool.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:31 pm

Sin é wrote:
red_stag wrote:I feel there are question marks over his goal kicking. ROGs mental toughness has always twofold IMO:

1) His ability to concentrate on his kick in a pressure situation be it a dropgoal or place kick.

2) His willingness to put his body on the line as a target for ball carriers. The hits hurt him but though he is a useless tackler he never shirks away. Not quite a road block but a speedbump.

Outside of that I wonder about his mentality. Sexton on the other hand has more confidence in his ability on the field itself. Had Sexton come onto the field for the Lions in the 2nd Test he would have fared much better than ROG. However Im not sure if he was on the field in Cardiff 2009 we would be celebrating now.

I'd also add that he is frequently targetted to be roughed up/on the receiving end of a few heavy tackles - and unlike any other outhalf he generally manages to keep his cool.

Yes true. I kinda lumped that in with point 2 in my head.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by SecretFly on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:31 pm

I was beginning to doubt my own memory there for a second, considering you guys between you must read every interview that's ever been written about rugby...both NH and SH!!!

Anyway, to ensure I wasn't going crazy I did a little word search and found it.

http://www.examiner.ie/sport/rugby/jonny-helped-convince-me-to-join-reveals-schmidt-155432.html

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by red_stag on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:32 pm

What article Secret. You must be going mad. Only you can see it!!!
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:33 pm

Sin é wrote:
Have you a link to where O'Connell made that statement?

http://m.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2012/0105/1224309834024.html?via=sport

Actually Sin...I've re read O'Connells comments and I actually misread it yesterday....

"A few years ago O’Connell admitted he would probably have regarded this contract, which will keep him at Munster and Ireland until he is 35, as the last of his career."

Sorry everyone! Doh
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Sin é on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:35 pm

red_stag wrote:Sextons mentality has always impressed me. Every bit as tough mentally as ROG.

For Leinster only though. How come he can (mostly) kick well in front of Leinster or a home crowd, but can't do it away from home internationally?

Thats a mental problem.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by SecretFly on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:45 pm

red_stag wrote:What article Secret. You must be going mad. Only you can see it!!!

Don't do that to me, Stag! I've a bottle of valium sunk already.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Red Right on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:45 pm

It's an interesting and well written article and it does raise the issue of how long is long enough for a player to prove himself or try and make a go of it somewhere else. I really don't see the benefit in keeping players around to make 2 or 3 appearances a season.

Personally I think that there is a issue within the provinces regarding squad rotation, more often than not it appears that the Irish provinces either field a first team or a second team with nothing in between - I find this incredibly frustrating as a Munster supporter. The arrival of Schmidt at Leinster has changed things for them as he appears to grasp the concept of rotation a little better - most likely due to his Top14 experience where rotation is key.
The whole NIQ arguement could be brought up here too as those NIQ players do offer a huge amount when the Irish players are rested.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:57 pm

Red Right wrote:
Personally I think that there is a issue within the provinces regarding squad rotation, more often than not it appears that the Irish provinces either field a first team or a second team with nothing in between - I find this incredibly frustrating as a Munster supporter. The arrival of Schmidt at Leinster has changed things for them as he appears to grasp the concept of rotation a little better - most likely due to his Top14 experience where rotation is key.

Good point Red Right. I have the same frustrations at Ulster, and Ireland too, and agree that Schmidt seems to be much better at squad rotation. The home and away thing is genious too I think and the way he juggles his midfield and backrow in particulat is spot on. That way the gameplan and units are always slick and aren't effected by personnel changes.

I don't think the Irish coaches are used to having strength and depth and tend to struggle with squad rotation and effective bench utilization.
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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by Red Right on Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:03 pm

Sin é wrote:
red_stag wrote:Sextons mentality has always impressed me. Every bit as tough mentally as ROG.

For Leinster only though. How come he can (mostly) kick well in front of Leinster or a home crowd, but can't do it away from home internationally?

Thats a mental problem.

I have my own opinion on this and it might be total bull but here goes -
The OH in rugby is a unique position in team sports, the only other position in a team sport with a similar amount of responsibility is QB in american football. For an OH to really be in "the zone" they have to have complete confidence that every decision the make over the course of a game is the right one with absolutely no doubts (whether it works out to be the right one or not).

Sexton is in a similar position now to where ROG was when he started off - back then ROG was looking over his shoulder at Humphrey's and it was 50/50 as to what kind of game ROG would have, once he was nailed on for the position (which was pretty much when Humph retired) his consistency improved immeasurably.
I take Johnny Wilkinson in the WC this year as a prime example. Although never one to set the world alight with an attacking game JW was always consistent and steady at OH - his decision making was conservative but rarely wrong. For the WC it was a toss up between him and TF and he definitely suffered in all aspects of his game when wondering if he was going to be called ashore or not.
Sexton is the man at Leinster - no doubts, its his way or no way once the game starts and he knows it and he benefits from it, its the same with ROG at Munster, its like Carter at NZ, Toby Flood often looks the same when playing for Leicester.

OH's struggle when they find themselves looking over their shoulder. In a position where your ability to make a decsion is every bit as important as your ability to execute that decision confidence is everything, knowing you are going to be hauled off does not help that attitude. As with ROG 10 years ago - once Sexton stops looking over his shoulder he will become a far better and more consistent player at international level, of that I have little doubts.

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

Post by rodders on Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:11 pm

OK With you on that one 100% too red right. You should post more often sir! Very Happy

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Re: Demented Mole Blog - Munster's forgotten generation

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