Damien Varley on Munster: "You have to question attitude"

Former front-row and Bernard Jackman discuss Connacht-Munster fallout with Off The Ball

Munster, Tommy O'Donnell, Connacht

Munster's Tommy O'Donnell dejected at the end of the game NPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Former Munster hooker Damien Varley believes the attitude of the team has to be questioned.

Connacht beat Munster 35-14 in the Guinness Pro 12 to stay joint-top on points, while Munster's tough campaign continues to languish in mid-table.

Varley and Grenoble coach Bernard Jackman, whose side narrowly beat Connacht in a Challenge Cup match, joined us on Off The Ball tonight and the form of both the western province and Munster was analysed.

"You have to question attitude I think when you look at Connacht and Munster and you see how one team really sank and one team grew as the match went on. That used to be the reverse for years and years where Munster grew and they bullied opposition to defeat. I think that's the difficult part in seeing that that's now being done to Munster," said Varley.

 

Connacht's Robbie Henshaw, Ultan Dillane and Bundee Aki celebrate at the end of the game ©INPHO/James Crombie

Connacht's approach has also impressed Varley greatly and he feels other provinces can learn from them.

"They're constantly building and what was great to see at the weekend from their point of view was that they didn't shy away from anything. They almost took lessons from the loss the previous week and brought them forward. They weren't any more cautious. They still took risks. They didn't pay off the first half and hour but in the last 50 minutes, they really opened it up which was good to see. As the next season progresses, they're going to get a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident in playing that way. It almost resembled Munster in the early 2000s, which is good to see," said Varley, before continuing.

"On the other hand, it's terrible to see a Munster performance that bad. A spade is a spade. Probably very few teams would have taken seriously in the last number of years but what they have demonstrated this year, Connacht with their limited resources, just by showing a certain skill level and an attitude in how they approach games, I think it's a lesson for everyone else." 

Jackman also analysed the Connacht approach and some of the comparisons with the approach used in New Zealand.