Saturday 16 December 2017

Moss Finn - (Former Irish back. Played on the 1978 Munster team that beat the All Blacks)

Have Tony McGahan and his staff delivered for Munster?

McGahan had a very difficult job taking over a squad that had won two Heineken Cups under Declan Kidney and he was always going to be judged on that. When he came in, he tried to put his own stamp on things by getting Munster to play a fast, off-loading type of game, but it was being forced through too quickly and it didn't work. But that's not to say it can't work under McGahan, as long as there is a change in approach and Munster can adapt to the modern game and, at the same time, re-establish their strengths.

Have the senior players delivered for Tony McGahan?

This is a big issue, because I think his tenure has coincided with a group of players who had too many miles on the clock. If you look at it, Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer, John Hayes, Donncha O'Callaghan, Alan Quinlan and David Wallace are guys who date back to the 2000 final against Northampton, how much punishment have they taken in that time? That has to take its toll.

Have the overseas players delivered for Munster?

It's been a mixed bag. Wian Du Preez has worked out OK and Sam Tuitupou looks like a reasonable player, but he is a direct centre who needs quick front-foot ball to be effective. Against Toulon, because they were being dominated up front, it was too lateral. I never rated Jean de Villiers too much, he is a solid 12, but was never a 13, the likes of Eoin O'Malley and Fergus McFadden would run rings around him that way.

Is this the end of the line, or is there a next generation set to take over?

I think the Academy in Munster is very good. Leinster get all the attention because they have produced some incredibly good players like McFadden, O'Malley and Dominic Ryan, but it's a cyclical thing. I think Ian Nagle is the real deal and you have the likes of Peter O'Mahony, Ivan Dineen and Dave Ryan, but they need more game time, not just in Magners League, but in Heineken Cup matches. Going back to the old guard all the time can cause stagnation, there needs to be a more ruthless approach to the older players.

Is Tony McGahan the right man to take Munster forward?

He is the right man, McGahan is a fantastic coach and I know the players certainly think so. Also, with the older players moving on, he can really put his stamp on Munster, mould younger players who go into it with no set ideas. I would make other management changes though, and I think Munster need to start looking at indigenous coaches. Anthony Foley and Michael Bradley, for example, are just two ex-Munster players who know what it's about and can fire them up.

Irish Independent

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