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Donnacha O'Callaghan Says Munster Players Can't Use Coaching Excuse After Dragons Loss

Donnacha O'Callaghan Says Munster Players Can't Use Coaching Excuse After Dragons Loss
Michael Bolton
By Michael Bolton
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Munster were left to regret individual mistakes as they suffered a shock 23-17 defeat to the Dragons.

With the likes of Peter O’Mahony, Simon Zebo, Craig Casey and Keith Earls back in the side, they would have expected to get their first victory of the season against a Dragons side searching for their home victory in over a year.

However, a poor opening 30 minutes filled with errors and ill-discipline was punished by former Munster fly-half JJ Hanrahan.

Despite underperforming, Munster scored two tries from Stephen Archer and Ben Healy gave them an undeserving 17-15 lead at half time.

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While the Irish side would have been expected to kick on and take control of the game after a strong end to the first half, neither side got going in a cagey second half, with the breakdown letting Graham Rowntree’s team down.

Then in the 70th minute, a poor clearance from Joey Carbery went straight to the Dragons back three, with electric winger Rio Dyer scoring an excellent individual try to put the Dragons in the lead.



Munster pushed to re-take the lead late on, but handling errors once again cost them as another Hanrahan penalty secured a famous victory for the Welsh side.

While it may be early days, Rowntree will be concerned with the way his side lost this game. Missed tackles, poor discipline and handling errors was the story for the second weekend in a row, despite Irish internationals coming back into the side.

Donnacha O'Callaghan calls out Munster men after Dragons loss

Speaking on RTÉ after the defeat, former Munster second row Donnacha O’Callaghan claims that the players have to step up and claim responsibility for today’s defeat, with coaching making little difference when they perform to that level.



That was a frustrating game when you consider it from a Munster point of view. There were an awful lot of errors. You can’t take away from the Dragons performance, they were questioned as a playing group and an awful lot of their senior players certainly stood up.

But Munster knew that was coming. To go out and put in a performance like that was so under par. There were too many errors. We’re all looking at the coaching ticket and saying, ‘when are we going to see some of this coaching stuff’, but you can’t get into that if your players put in that type of performance.

We’re talking about over 13 handling errors, the breakdown again was a problem, set piece was a mess. There comes a point as a player where you’ve got to take responsibility for your job and role, that’s it.

If you’re carrying the ball into contact you look after it, we’ve even seen internationals missing tackles. It was an underperformance from the playing group yet again.

The Munster players had grown visibly frustrated with former coach Johann van Graan in the second half of last season after he confirmed that he would be moving to Bath at the end of the campaign.

It was hoped that their performances would improve after Graham Rowntree's move into the top job, but this showing was proof that a simple coaching change may not make up for all of their recent deficiencies.


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