Munster beat the Scarlets 23-13 in Wales this evening.
Rassie Erasmus began his reign as Munster’s new Director of Rugby with a hard fought 23-13 win over the Scarlets this evening.
Although Munster fans were cautiously optimistic ahead of the new season, few expected to see the Reds beat the Welsh side in their opening game of the season.
Indeed, many were watching to ascertain what type of game plan Munster would employ and what kind of influence Erasmus was having on the squad.
However the southern province came away from Parc y Scarlets with a well deserved win.
From the outset, Munster’s line speed was very noticeable. The Scarlets were frustrated by Munster’s efforts to close down the space in front of their dangerous back line.
Not only that, but Munster were very quick to roll away from the tackle and not contest for possession on a number of occasions. Instead they numbered up, and simply waited for the inevitable Scarlets handling error.
Of course the Scarlets played into Munster’s hands by continuing to go wide, but already the influence of Jacques Nienaber was there for all to see.
One of the biggest criticisms of Anthony Foley’s time in charge of Munster was their limited ambition in attack. Under Foley, Munster laboured up front and didn’t create many opportunities out wide.
Although the conditions made it difficult for Munster to demonstrate a huge amount of attacking intent, they appeared to be playing heads up rugby.
Under Foley, Munster utilised designated pods of players across the field, making it easy for defending teams to sniff out any threat.
Erasmus on the other hand, seems to be allowing his players more freedom. James Cronin’s try came after a late call was made to move the ball left where the defence was undermanned.
Similarly, Ronan O’Mahony took his score brilliantly after spotting that there were no pillar defenders either side of the ruck.
3. Things To Work On
For a number of reasons, Munster have been unable to recruit star players this summer. This leaves them very short at scrum half, where both Tomas O’Leary and Duncan Williams struggled at times.
Box kicking straight into the hands of Liam Williams only brought further pressure on Munster’s defence. The line out was also an issue, but more time on the training filed should rectify any wobbles in that regard.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena