2015/16 has been the most volatile season for Irish rugby since turning professional, and that is probably distilled in that headline. Brendan Fanning writes in today's Sunday Independent of the inexorable decline of Munster Rugby, following a farcical week in which the province wheeled out Anthony Foley for a presser an hour before confirming the appointment of Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus as Director of Rugby. Fanning writes that Foley's future is the least of Munster's woes, as they struggle with debts of around €2million repayments on a Thomond Park they struggle to fill. In addition, one club source told Fanning that their approach to player recruitment is "arseways".
Munster might yet do enough to sneak into the Champions Cup, but they will do so as Irish rugby's poorest relation, as they watch once-minuscule Connacht streak off into the distance. Irish Rugby's High Performance Director David Nucifora gave an interview to Peter O'Reilly in today's Sunday Times, wherein he revealed that the IRFU have agreed to inject €2.5 million into Munster on the proviso they emulate Connacht's business model.
Connacht got themselves there by being pushed down the path but now they've built a model that is sustainable and they are benefitting from it. They've got a good coaching group, good young players, and they are giving them opportunity.
They're being well-managed, well-run, they've got good systems and processes in place, so their success on the field doesn't happen by accident. There's no reason that model cannot work elsewhere.
How times have changed.