Brian Walsh - (Former Munster centre/wing and Cork Constitution coach)
Published 19/01/2011 | 05:00
Have Tony McGahan and his staff delivered for Munster?
Over the years Munster have had a mystic quality and you almost expected the miracle match results when they were needed. There has been a huge change in the way the game is played since McGahan got the job and Munster have struggled to adapt. Rugby has gone very high-tempo and players need to be developed for that, while the scrum is a big problem. But there are positives, with good younger players coming through, and I think McGahan has worked well with the clubs.
Have the senior players delivered for Tony McGahan?
The senior players said it after the game -- the reality is that Munster have really good-quality players who are just not playing well. But there are a lot of them on the wrong side of 30. Not so long ago Munster were providing players 1-10 on the Irish team; not any more, and the age profile of the squad McGahan inherited hasn't helped. Munster have quality players, it is a question of finding the right approach to get the best out of them.
Have the overseas players delivered for Munster?
Not in the sense that Trevor Halstead did when he was with Munster a few years ago and was such a key man in the first Heineken Cup win. They have tried to create that with Sam Tuitupou and Jean de Villiers, who I think is an exceptional centre, but midfield is such a difficult area and there are certainly issues in attack which have affected the overseas guys. Halstead broke the mould.
Is this the end of the line, or is there a next generation set to take over?
There is plenty of young talent, players like Peter O'Mahony and Ian Nagle, and McGahan is aware of the need for game time, one of the positives since he took over. People say these guys should have been exposed to the Heineken Cup but that is a very difficult one: you have to name your Heineken Cup squad so early you don't know if they are ready. But there is definitely young talent to take Munster forward and the structures need to be looked at to maximise the production.
Is Tony McGahan the right man to take Munster forward?
I don't think there needs to be a change of head coach. Tony McGahan is a good coach who the players like and respect. But Munster need to prepare for the way the game is going and they need the right people on the back-room team. What do Munster have to do to become an effective side at the highest level and how do you coach that? Those are the questions and it needs patience to come up with the right answers.