HOUSE OF RUGBY: Candid Mack Hansen, Leinster the last province standing and Munster’s backfire
“I don’t know what to say. We keep blaming the coaches, but how many coaches have we had, at this stage?”
On House of Rugby, this week, there is a great chat with Connacht and Ireland winger Mack Hansen, more Leinster praise but tough analysis for Munster, Ulster and Connacht.
Former Leinster and Ireland star Lindsay Peat also put provincial differences aside and invited proud Munster men Greg O’Shea and Jason Hennessy along to the Champions Cup semi-finals (if Leinster make it there) at the end of the month.
The Monday morning after the rugby weekend before and only Leinster remained, of the Irish provinces, in the Champions and Challenge Cups. After giving Leinster their dues, O’Shea, Peat and Hennessy rolled up their sleeves and tried to solve Munster’s latest slump.
Hennessy argued, quite reasonably, that Munster could yet finish with their worst season in years if they do not come out of their URC trip to South Africa – Stormers and Sharks on the agenda – with more than two losing bonus points. The panel discussed Graham Rowntree’s decision to jettison Conor Murray and Joey Carbery in favour of Craig Casey and Jack Crowley.
“If you’re going to go ahead [like Munster did] and kick to the corners,” asked Hennessy, “why would you go with Casey, then, and not Conor Murray? Why are you picking this expansive team – Crowley, Casey, Shane Daly, Calvin Nash and Mike Haley in your back three – then kick to the corners?”
“The fact that Rowntree decided to go Casey and Crowley at 9 and 10 was a big statement. He seems to be picking these two as his half-backs, going forward,” said O’Shea.
“We had the Jack Crowley experiment at 12 – he started five games – and it just didn’t work,” Hennessy stated. “He didn’t even want Malakai Fekitoa in his team but was almost forced to bring him in… now he has dropped Carbery and Murray. There’s definitely something going on there with Murray as I thought he had a fantastic Six Nations.”
The panel dug further into some of the decisions of the Munster coaching staff [LISTEN from 41:20 below] and put two Munster backs forward for Ireland World Cup squad debate.
Ryan Baird of Leinster during the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 match against Ulster, at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile)
Full House of Rugby run-down
Also on House of Rugby, this week, the gang discussed Ryan Baird’s huge potential, broken broncos, Jason’s candid chat with Mack Hansen and Ireland’s faltering Women’s Six Nations campaign.
Show talking points:
Leinster the last province standing
Ryan Baird stars as Leinster beat Ulster (from 3:15)
Ireland back three debate (12:30)
Will Johnny Sexton play for Leinster again? (15:10)