On the back of a puzzling performance in the Pro12 Final, there has been a lot of confusion as to how on earth Munster managed to go missing so badly. One man who experienced few similar losses in a red shirt is Ronan O'Gara, who in his prime, pulled Munster back from lost causes on many occasions.
ROG showed little sympathy to last Saturday's team in his column in The Irish Examiner this week saying that the current squad, despite having a good grounding for the future, just isn't up to the mark mentally and that the people of the province are undergoing a "necessary reflection".
Last Saturday’s PRO12 final indicated that they’ve made a lot of progress, but it’s blatantly obvious, too, that they’re not there mentally, yet.
O'Gara questioned how capable the team is of showing up when they're required to the most, and even went on to have a pop about how he himself never had that feeling of being beaten so badly in a major final.
And that next step to a title is clearly a greater one than this group of players seem to grasp. You can try to reach for patronising sops after Saturday, but it’s very hard to have any positive reflections when you go 29-3 down in a final in Dublin. I’ve never had that feeling, so I can’t describe it, but I imagine it’s disheartening to produce their worst performance on the big day.
There’s a long-term game plan at play here which I’d have big confidence in, but the players — as opposed to management — must cotton on fast that cup rugby, and the final weeks of the campaign, are a bit different to the average Saturday, when you are always in contention.
Considering where Munster have come from, it was going to be difficult to go ‘jump-jump-jump’, then success, but they should be looking for clear indicators that they have an appreciation of what’s required.
Despite this O'Gara said he wants Erasmus to stay on saying that losing him would be "destabilising in the short term" and that management are not responsible for the team's failure to turn up to their big day.