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Donal Lenihan criticises ‘rubbish’ slogans from Munster coaches

Donal Lenihan

Donal Lenihan has accused Munster’s coaching team of relying on slogans rather than implementing tactical solutions to the problems they face.

An air of positivity had returned to Munster in recent times as they went toe to toe with European champions Toulouse, although a loss to a second-string Leinster side has seen the team again come under plenty of criticism.

Munster were expected to beat Leinster and secure at least a home quarter-final in the URC, but they were unable to pick up even a losing bonus-point and must travel to Belfast to face Ulster after finishing sixth.

Former Ireland captain Donal Lenihan was speaking on RTE’s Against the Head and questioned Munster’s tactical nous, having become frustrated with the province’s coaching team.

Donal Lenihan on Munster’s reliance on slogans.

“When you go back to that Toulouse game it was brilliant in that there was a reconnection with the soul of Munster, which I felt had sort of dissipated over the past two years,” Lenihan said.

“I know a lot of people in Cork who have just stopped travelling to Limerick for games. There was a lot of dissatisfaction about the way Munster were playing. So that experience, on and off the field, young kids coming to the game, was brilliant.

“But I’ll tell you what drove me mad. In the build-up to that Toulouse game, there was this nonsense coming out from the coaching team, ‘The brave and the faithful, nothing’s impossible, we’ll stand up and fight.’ That’s rubbish.

“From your coaching team you want technical and tactical additions. I don’t see that.”

The mood has changed once again in Limerick.

Munster played some of their best rugby of the season both against Toulouse and in the weeks leading up to that game, although they were a pale shadow of their former selves when they came up against Leinster on Saturday.

Several of the province’s best players were missing due to injuries, such as Peter O’Mahony, Tadhg Beirne, Damian de Allende and Simon Zebo, although Munster still put out a much stronger team on paper than Leinster nonetheless.

Johann van Graan’s men face an uphill battle to win silverware this season, as Munster will now likely need to win away from home in three consecutive games to win the URC.

A home final at Thomond Park remains a possibility, although it is a slight one, as Munster will need Glasgow Warriors to beat Leinster and one of the Bulls or Sharks to have a chance at hosting the finale in Limerick.

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