Munster’s poor start to the season cannot be blamed solely on change, as the quality within the squad seems to be lacking, according to Matt Williams.
Munster suffered yet another defeat last weekend, losing 20 – 11 to Connacht at the Sportsgrounds in Galway. The Stags have just one victory from their opening four games, losing to the Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragon’s and Connacht on Friday night.
Munster seemed to turn a corner on matchday 3 with a hard fought 21 - 5 victory over Zebre Parma at Musgrave Park. However, with last Friday’s interprovincial derby defeat to Connacht, the team and the management in particular are again under pressure.
Speaking to Joe Molloy & Ruaidhri O’ Connor on Wednesday Night Rugby, former Leinster & Ulster coach Matt Williams admits that there has been a huge amount of change at Munster and that can cause performance levels to drop, but the main issue lies in player quality.
Munster lack of quality
“There’s one other big elephant that people aren’t talking about, and I’ll put it out there…the quality of the Munster players for a decade has not been good enough,” Williams said.
“They’re not bad players, and I’m not suggesting that they’re hopeless, but they [Munster] just don’t have the world class players that they relied on in the past to turn them around...
“They don’t have a Ronan [O’Gara], they don’t have a Paul [O’Connell].
“They even don’t have those wonderful players that they had when they were at their peak, like Keith Earls at his peak, Zebo at his peak, that could turn a game with some individual brilliance…they’re just lacking that really brilliant player to produce something…to get that spark”
Williams asserted Munster as a club are expecting too much too soon and that all the blame cannot be placed at the feet of Graham Rowntree and the Munster management.
Munster’s coaching ticket has been the most changed one in Ireland this season, with Rowntree adding forwards coach Andi Kyriacou, attack coach Mike Prendergast and defence coach Denis Leamy ahead of the season.
William's emphasised the amount of change that has happened at the province, and insisted the coaches need time to implement their ideas.
“Anyone who lays this just at the coaches’ feet is wrong,” Williams said. “Yes sure, there has been great change, and there are coaching issues there, they need time to implement that, they’re not bad coaches
“They’re very good coaches, hugely experienced, a lot of quality at other organisations, and Munster expect better, but that doesn’t mean their expectations are right.”
Munster host the Vodacom Bulls at Thomand Park this Saturday, they will be hoping that their famous home advantage can get them a much-needed victory before facing rivals Leinster the following week at the Aviva on October 22nd. Kick off in Limerick this Saturday is 19:35.
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