Jerry Flannery On How Rassie Erasmus’ Impending Departure Has Affected Munster

Still on track.

Munster open in their account in the all-new expanded Guinness PRO14 this Friday with a fixture against Italian side Treviso at Musgrave Park.

After an emotional season last time round, which saw head coach Anthony Foley pass away, before Munster reached the final of the PRO12, this time round they face another difficult season with Rassie Erasmus set to depart midway through.

How that will affect things, remains to be seen but forwards coach Jerry Flannery says it’s business as usual. Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Flannery says it was weird to begin with but the focus is now on improving on last year, and evolving Munster’s game.

It was weird with the announcement at the start, but it in no way has it affected our rugby,” said Flannery.
“Our main concern was that we felt we put down a good season last year and the main thing for us is to get consistency and continuity, year-on-year-on-year.
“Felix put an awful lot of work into our attack game in the off-season and you were worried then when Rassie and Jacques were leaving, is there someone else going to come in straight away, is that work down the drain, but from a rugby point of view, it has been incredibly positive. We have consolidated the good things that we did last year. We have looked where we can make a step up and we have been layering that in and developing the players’ skill-sets, so that we can play a little bit more of an expansive game when necessary, when it is on.
“We are not getting it 100% right, we are far from that, but I can see that we are creating opportunities and we are able to execute things that we weren’t doing last year.”

The Munster coaching ticket have also identified exactly where problems need addressing.

Whatever happened in the Scarlets game, that was obviously going to be part of how we planned this pre-season. After the Scarlets game, we had a wash up with each department all the way through from our medical department, our S&C [strength and conditioning] department, our attack, our defence. The Scarlets game showed up there were deficiencies and we had probably got away with them for the majority of games.
“And then when we looked at the Scarlets game, we would have seen that ‘okay, we are not challenging them enough in certain areas’. We can’t just overpower teams like we were able to do the majority of other teams we had played.
“It just showed us that there is room to grow everywhere. Our defence was outstanding last year and, in the Scarlets game, we got carved up seriously there. That has given us a focus around our defence, and for our attack, Felix has worked really really hard and [performance analyst] George Murray has come in as well and worked hard with us in putting shapes together, that we are not so reliant on one-off runners and of being able to use our forwards to get us momentum.”

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