Off The Ball
Off The Ball

21.24 3 Jun 2015


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It was the end of an era at Munster this week as they dealt with double-pain: the pain of losing the Pro 12 final to Glasgow Warriors, but also the confirmation that the legend that is Paul O'Connell has played his final match for his home province, along with other departures including JJ Hanrahan.

The Irish Times' Gerry Thornley and rugby analyst Liam Toland joined us on Off The Ball to assess Anthony Foley's first season in charge of Munster and the challenges they face in the future.

Gerry noted some disparities between Munster and Glasgow at the weekend.

"For me, the most disconcerting aspect, if you're a Munster fan is the gulf in the respective attacking games. There was a gulf in the respective defensive games, but that's more readily fixed. If you look at the game, Munster huffed and puffed without anything like the same footwork, the same pace or the same offloading game that Glasgow have and that's a challenge facing Anthony Foley," he said.

"And what must be worrying for Munster fans is you've lost Ronan O'Gara a year ago and now you've lost Paul O'Connell - two of the great totems of their entire professional era - and readymade replacements for those sorts of players don't fall off trees." 

Meanwhile, with the extra difficulties in bringing in stellar overseas talent and producing elite homegrown players, Toland feels that is affecting the Munster brand.

"The landscape of rugby at the elite level has changed over the last couple of years and as a result Munster have been left a little bit behind."


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