Tuesday 17 September 2019

Larkham focused on bringing Munster forwards up to speed

Larkham believes the key to moving Munster's attack on is to get the forwards and backs linking better. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Larkham believes the key to moving Munster's attack on is to get the forwards and backs linking better. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Stephen Larkham is at Munster for more than the experience and the Australian World Cup winner is targeting trophies with his new province.

Installed as a senior coach over the summer, the former out-half landed in Ireland last week and has been knuckling down ahead of his first season in northern hemisphere rugby.

Larkham is charged with improving the Reds' attack and he'll be focusing on improving the skill-set of the forwards to take the team to another level.

Under Johann van Graan, the team has reached successive semi-finals in the Champions Cup and PRO14 and the new recruit believes they can go to another level.

"I'm coming in here to make a change, there's no doubt about that, the club is built around success and we're chasing that," he said.

"We know the results from last year aren't good enough, semi-finals in both competitions. Most people say 'that's pretty good' but it's not good enough for us.

"So, we're chasing the next level and I want to be part of that.

"But there's a fair bit of development coming from the southern hemisphere having now been in the coaching game for, not that long, eight years, you hear plenty of stories about how difficult the competition is up here.

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"At some stage I wanted to get up here and experience it "

Larkham believes the key to moving Munster's attack on is to get the forwards and backs linking better.

"Here at the moment it's focused on the attack," he said of his role.

"We had a good result from last year, if I look at some of the scores, seven tries averaged at Cork in our home games,

"I think we averaged 26 points a game in both competitions.

"You know, that's pretty good. You probably have to factor in some of the lesser teams that came to play us in Cork and some of those scores that we had there in terms of those 26 points.

"But still, it's a very good average for the season.

"So there are things here in place that are working really well, so it's not about changing those, it's about maintaining those.

"But there is a bit of detail lacking in those couple of games from last year and in my interview process I identified a couple of areas where I felt the detail was lacking, in particular the use of skills with our forwards.

"So I really do want to make sure that from Nos 1 to 15 across the park, or from Nos 1 to 23, everybody who takes the field has the ability to make decisions and takes the right decisions.

"It's going to take a little bit of time, so we're not being unrealistic about it, but there is a good base there already in terms of points scored and the way that we've attacked"

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