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Neil Francis Points Out The "Crazy" Munster Decision That Caused The Racing Collapse

Neil Francis Points Out The "Crazy" Munster Decision That Caused The Racing Collapse
By Gavin Cooney
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Neil 'Franno' Francis used yesterday's Irish Independent column to pick over the gnawed, fetid carcass of Munter's hammering against Racing in Sunday's Champions Cup semi-final and, as is often his wont, has ascribed an underwhelming performance to a single, hitherto rarely mentioned factor.

He did this most recently in regard to Teddy Thomas' underwhelming defensive performance against Scotland in the Six Nations:

How can you trust a man who wears a bun in his hair and has a name reminiscent of a 1930s tap dancer from a Hollywood musical to defend your line?

We'll leave that hang there.


In yesterday's column, there was no mention of Thomas, who so effectively ripped the entire Munster defence apart by himself in the first half, in spite of his refusal to change his name and get a short back and sides.

Instead, Franno decided to go looking for the reason behind Munster's non-performance, particularly in the first half. In this, he goes against the grain, and in fairness, has more legitmacy that his war on Teddy Thomas' whimsy.

In the lead-up to Sunday's semi-final, it was widely assumed that Munster's mini-break in South Africa for a pair of Pro14 games against the Cheetahs and the Kings after the quarter-final win over Toulon was a boon; it allowed the squad to bond in nice weather abroad, and escape some of the mania in Limerick and elsewhere.


Franno isn't convinced by it all, saying that playing so many first-teamers at altitude in South Africa was "madness".

The trip to South Africa was madness. Munster stayed at sea level for most of the two weeks that they were in the Republic.

They had to play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein which is about 5,000 feet above sea level - once you train or play there for even a couple of days, the oxygen-carrying capacity of your red blood cells will change and more importantly it will change once again when you go back down to sea level.

Ten of Munster's starters and 16 of the Bordeaux squad played in Bloemfontein. Crazy!

I think it had a huge impact on the team.

There are many things to discuss from the loss which we can do at a later date but Munster lost this semi-final principally because they were playing in slow motion from the off brought about by their South African tour.

The full column is worth a read on the Irish Indo's website.

See Also: Leinster Players Reveal Horrors Of Training On Lancaster's 'Stuesdays'

See Also: Jacob Stockdale Hits Back At Brian O'Driscoll's "Basket Case" Comment

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