Keith Wood joined OTB AM on Wednesday morning to discuss where Munster rugby will go from here with head coach Johann Van Graan set to leave at the end of the season.
Munster have suffered a relatively disappointing season to date, culminating in a 15 point defeat to arch rivals Leinster last Saturday.
The transitional phase that Munster finds itself in is compounded by the imminent departures of head coach Van Graan and star Springbok centre Damien De Allende. Due to the impacts of Covid19, the academy players have been blooded to good effect.
“For Munster to be successful, you need the vast majority of (players) to have come through Munster,” said Wood.
“The Munster success in the 2000s was built off the back of a very good link of local senior rugby teams based in Cork and Limerick.”
'You need Munster to be, the vast majority to have come through Munster...' | 🔴
Keith Wood looked at the culture within Munster rugby and what he feels needs to happen to get it back to what it was | 🏉@GilletteUK | #EffortlessFlow
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Wood has been frustrated with the style of play Munster have deployed this season.
“From the 22 to the opposition ten metre line, Munster kicked the ball away. And when the ball is kicked back, the Munster full-back catches the ball and kicks it away again.”
“We drift into one-out runners ten yards from the line, which works sometimes but Munster do it too often. We kick the ball too often.”
“Nothing else happens. It is a very South African way of playing. It wins plenty of games but perhaps not the very big games.”
Alex Kendellen impressed off the bench after replacing an injured Gavin Coombes and will certainly play a big part in any Munster European success this weekend.
There have been calls for more of the Munster academy products to receive more playing time after impressing in the Wasps away game before Christmas.
Enhancing the use of the homegrown players along with incorporating players that perhaps haven’t quite just made the cut at other clubs is something that Munster need to improve on.
“It can’t just be the fact that we take players that are rejected from Leinster. I’ve no issue with that but I think our core should be driven from Munster,” said Wood.
“I have always said that Munster should have some international players, but I would like if they were retired from international rugby so you can get the best out of them when the Irish guys are away at camp.”
'Costello could train the next two generations of stars'
Last year Ian Costello returned from Wasps to Munster to become head of the academy.
“Ian Costello has taken over the academy, he’s got a decent plan in place for the pathway, that's what needs to be invested in.”
“There is an argument that Ian Costello should be involved in the coaching ticket, but (currently) he has the opportunity to build the next generation of players and I think that is the most important piece.”
“The next head coach or coaching ticket for Munster has to be something that maximises the talent of some of the young kids coming through.”
“The idea that most of the players are coming from Munster, I think means that there is a closer link with Munster fans.”
“And I think Munster fans would be far more forgiving for young guys coming through the system.”
Munster travel to Sandy Park on Saturday before returning to Thomond Park the following week for the second leg.
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