Thursday 13 December 2018

'I have grave questions over van Graan' - Matt Williams criticises Munster coach after slow start to the season

21 September 2018; Munster head coach Johann van Graan prior to the Guinness PRO14 Round 4 match between Cardiff Blues and Munster at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
21 September 2018; Munster head coach Johann van Graan prior to the Guinness PRO14 Round 4 match between Cardiff Blues and Munster at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Leinster coach Matt Williams has hit out at Munster boss Johann van Graan after his side were heavily beaten by the Cardiff Blues last weekend to fall to their second away defeat of the season.

Munster have won two home games against under-strength Cheetahs and Ospreys sides to open their PRO14 campaign but have also shipped two defeats on the road to Glasgow and Cardiff.

Last Friday's loss in Wales was particularly disappointing after Joey Carbery and Tadhg Beirne - marquee summer signings - started in what was a strong Munster side.

Munster trailed by just one point at half time but didn't score in the second half as Cardiff ran out 37-13 winners.

Speaking on the Second Captains podcast, Williams questioned both Munster's attack and defence and said that head coach Johann van Graan has a lot to work on going forward this season.

"I have grave questions over Coach van Graan," Williams said.

"I have grave questions over what he is doing offensively and defensively with this side. Do you have to mould your coaching style to the talent of your players? Absolutely. He has a really good kid there and he has to mould him. We are not going to see the best from Joey Carbery or the Munster attack for a long time. It's still September but we have got to see something besides the individual.

"An individual side-stepping and making a break, that's not a system. What structures are they putting together like Leinster have? Leinster have structures that allow the talent of the individual to excel within those structures. With Munster, we are not seeing the structures offensively or defensively that I think are required.

"For them to excel and pick up a trophy they have to work on those two aspects that are so basic to their success."

Munster are facing into a tough run of games over the next four weeks, with Ulster visiting Thomond Park this Saturday before a trip to the Aviva Stadium to face Leinster on October 6. After those two inter-provincial fixtures, Munster open their Champions Cup campaign away to the Exeter Chiefs before welcoming Gloucester to Limerick the following week.

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