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O'Callaghan's Munster Player Criticism Important As New Coach Search Begins

O'Callaghan's Munster Player Criticism Important As New Coach Search Begins
By Maurice Brosnan
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This week Munster Rugby announced that Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones will depart the province at the end of the season. It comes amidst prolonged criticism of their attacking structure.

Much of the blame has been placed on the coach's door and Munster have reportedly reacted, interviewing for a new position with Rob Howley recently linked to the province.

However, speaking on Eir Sport during Munster's disappointing quarter-final performance against Benetton, former lock Donncha O'Callaghan felt players need to shoulder more responsibility.

I know an awful amount of time and talk around Munster at the moment has been on the attack and attack coach but this is player responsibility. Player's stepping up and saying 'I'm bossing this.' Between Tyler (Bleyendaal) and Coner (Murray), or Rory (Scannell) when he steps in there. To have a more consistent attack shape. At the moment it is sporadic, down to what Rory thinks is on as opposed to what is right for the team.

It's up to players! Don't be looking to coaching boxes or anything around you. You've brilliant players around you, take advantage of it.


He went on to stress the need for individual leadership: "You don't want to labour the point but what that needs is a boss. Someone to step in at first receiver and saying 'this is how I'm running it.'"

It's been a theme of Munster this decade. Whether it be Rob Penney, Tony McGahan or Simon Mannix, coaches have shouldered a large chunk of the blame.


On this week's World in Union podcast, the lads discussed the issue as well as the potential candidates to join the coaching team.

Munster analysis (11.31) candidates to join (45.48)

Maurice: You can get the best coach in the world to implement the best-attacking shape but he can't control it if Bleyendaal decides to kick a ball down the full-backs throat. He can't stop it if Munster successfully turnover the ball and CJ Stander decides to pick off the back of a ruck instead of going wide.

There is poor decision making. You can put that down to not having an overall shape or back-up plan but ultimately, there has to be individual responsibility as well.  Maybe a fresh plate reinvigorates that but this isn't that simple.

The improvement needs to come from within the coaching structure and the players. It is not one or the other. It might make analysis easier to pretend that is the case, but it's not.

To listen to the full podcast, which includes an interview with former Connacht man and current USA international Tadhg Leader as well as a full preview of the Champions Cup Final, search 'Balls.ie' on Spotify, iTunes, Pocketcast, etc. 


SEE ALSO: Tadhg Leader, Munster Criticism, Champions Cup Final Preview - World In Union

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