Keeping Things in Perspective.
4th January 2006 By Munster Rugby
It was good to have that win but, mate, they could have won it and we couldn t have won down in Musgrave. So we need to keep things in perspective. – Leinster coach Michael Cheika.
It would appear, reading some of the media comment in the aftermath of Munster s 35-24 defeat at the RDS, that Munster s goose is well and truly cooked.
One-eyed, one dimensional, lack width, lack depth, lack this, lack that. Seems the only thing they aint lacking is right now is critics. And in fairness some aspects of their play in recent times make that inevitable.
However, the most stunning criticism came from Tony Ward, himself a former Munster player who, among other things said, This Munster side is a one-trick forward pony serviced by quality at half-back alone. Mind you, he goes on to say, At the RDS he (O Gara) was but a pale shadow of his normal self, and that Guy Easterby lost no ground on Peter Stringer and if anything outplayed him.
Not alone that but Munster s inadequacies behind the scrum have become an embarrassment in the professional age.
And furthermore, To have taken the bonus for finishing within seven would have been a steal.
Most people accept that Munster played below par for long periods and that Leinster deserved their victory. But it may be recalled that Munster trailed 21-9 at half-time and then by 12 points again with just six minutes of normal time remaining. Despite their, inadequacies behind the scrum , they came back to get within a score of snatching victory and for that alone, surely deserved some credit and maybe even a bonus point. So where’s the perspective there ?
It can be safely assumed that the former Munster out-half had already long left for his New Year s Eve celebrations when Leinster coach Michael Cheika, speaking to journalists at the post-match press conference said, It was good to have that win but, mate, they could have won it and we couldn t have won down in Musgrave. So we need to keep things in perspective.
The perspective Cheika spoke about was provided by Donal Lenihan in the Irish Examiner when he said, Munster’s strength lies up front – it has been that way for over 100 years.
And while Lenihan s former international colleague spoke of a Munster backline who are an embarrassment in the professional age , it was Lenihan again that provided perspective saying, Against Leinster there were times when they (Munster) betrayed their natural game in favour of a wider approach. The simple truth, given the quality of personnel available, is that Leinster are better at executing that game plan.
It may be worth remembering that in the two games between the sides this year, the try count stands 7-4 in Munster s favour. But that aside, just as no-one would quibble with the outcome of October s encounter, nor is there the least doubt but that Leinster were deserving winners in the RDS. But would Brian O Driscoll, Gordon D Arcy and co have looked across at those immediately opposite them on Saturday and considered them an embarrassment in the professional age?
Rugby Lenihan observed, is a multi-faceted game. Different teams have different styles. For the well-informed rugby supporter there is as much beauty in watching a well choreographed 20-yard driving maul as there is in watching O’Driscoll, D’Arcy and Contepomi working in unison.