Muster getting within a score of Clermont in Saturday’s Heineken Cup semi-final was always going to be notched down as another ‘heroic’ performance. Based on form over the season, operating budget, home advantage and other reasons, Clermont were clear favourites. While Munster’s display was excellent and should be lauded, the players and management will have serious regrets about the chance that was missed.
The emotion of the Munster players immediately after the final whistle told the story. This wasn’t a case of being well beaten by the better team on the day, but rather of an opportunity missed. Clermont’s mental fragility at this stage of knock-out competitions was evident again, as Munster turned up in a big way. Rob Penney and his squad won’t merely shrug their shoulders and admit to being beaten by the best team in Europe. Instead, they will look to learn as much as possible from this loss.
Joe Schmidt made an interesting observation at his unveiling as Ireland coach, saying, “I am a massive believer that transition is a constant.” While it’s clear that Munster are in the midst of dealing with a changing playing staff, they remain in the business of winning trophies. The loss to Clermont won’t be accepted as something that was inevitable, but rather with a pronouncement of not making the same mistakes next time around.
More specifically, while this was an exceptional Munster performance with some top-class individual efforts, there were aspects that let them down. In the video below, the focus is on Munster’s use of possession and their inability to turn it into points on several occasions. Obviously they scored a superb, intelligent try through Denis Hurley and nearly had another after Casey Laulala’s perfectly-weighted grubber, but here the focus is on the opportunities they let slip.
The intention is not to be overly negative about Munster’s showing. They played some great rugby and it was thoroughly encouraging for next season. Paul O’Connell summed it up perfectly after the game:
“Second half we had our opportunities and we didn’t really take them. We got a good try from a great little chip from ROG, but there were plenty of other opportunities when we were in their 22, 10 metres from their line, five metres from their line particularly just before half-time and we didn’t take those opportunities.”
Let’s have a closer look at what O’Connell was talking about:
I’d appreciate people’s honest, constructive feedback on this type of video post. Is there interest in more of this kind of thing? What could be done better? Let me know. Thanks.
Photos: Mathilde Bourel is on Flickr, and can also be found on Twitter.
I like it! Great article and solid analysis!
Fantastic idea. Really enjoyed it. As you said yourself, it was probably slightly too long but I thought it was excellently done. Fair play.
Thanks Cian. Yeah too long this time, I will try to be more concise in making the point if I do similar stuff in the future. Cheers for feedback.
Great piece Kinsey. Really like the video analysis.
Thanks Brian. Will try to do similar stuff in the future! Took ages…
Excellent work Murray. Really enjoyed the analysis. Breaking up the video in segments covering the different types of mistakes might be helpful. I know you learn more from your mistakes but it would nice to see again some of things the also got right as well.
Cheers Diarmuid, really appreciate the advice. It would certainly add more balance to the video to have more of the positives. That’s a great idea to group the types of mistake. Taken on board. Cheers!
Interesting idea Murray. Hope to see more of it.
Class stuff Murray, on the ball as ever! The Touchline is my go to for rugby articles!
Great idea. Despite the length of the video it didn’t seem tedious at all so any improvements and it’ll be really very good.
Hi Murray, excellent analysis, great concept with the video bits – sorry, I only know on-off bits so can’t help the techno bits!!
Stay with them, though, your research and evaluations are worth your perseverance.
Watching Q of S tonight. James Haskell on panel. Murray, NONE of our players at either Provincial nor International levels built like that. Ok, he is not a Lion, but think the emphasis on size. It’s not just Ireland, it’s possibly the game of rugby that’s fucked.
Thanks for the encouragement Brian. Will try to get this kind of stuff done more regularly so.
Haskell is a freak. Just huge and judging by his Twitter activity, he lives in the gym. While we don’t have players like him physically, we do have better rugby players. Despite his phenomenal athletic abilities, he’s struggled to be first-choice for England. So much more goes into making a good rugby player than physical ability.