Belfast Telegraph

Erasmus implores Munster side to cut out the errors

By David Kelly

So much for the theory — for now at least — that when Munster’s South African coaches decided to up sticks, nothing good could come from goodbye. A trip to Wales will test their resolve after a brace of utterly benign outings against the Guinness PRO14 bottom feeders.

Consistency, the signature of Rassie Erasmus’ reign, has grounded the side, all the while as they seek to tinker with a game-plan that was good enough to reach the play-offs of two competitions last term but nowhere good enough to get any further.

Perhaps because his Lions remain unavailable, Erasmus has yet again only made one change to his consistent side as he seeks to develop sufficient squad strength for the man who succeeds him, whoever it may be and whenever he takes over.

“Like we saw last year, you need three top-class players in each position if you want to be competitive at the end,” he said.

“We were punch-drunk last year when we got to the European semi-final against Saracens and the final against Scarlets.”

Not only did squad weakness ultimately self-harm them but their game-plan did too.

There have been encouraging signs — admittedly against Southern Kings and Benetton — of an inclination towards more off-loading and subtlety rather than mere brute force in the attack.

“Guys were taking opportunities which presented themselves and didn’t wait so much to play structure,” offered Erasmus. “That was positive.”

Some negatives persist.

“Concentration lapses when you have a team under the pump like when we had them down 22-3 at half-time and then you go out and just give a try like we gave away.

“One-on-one defensive errors. I think the systems were good, I think the attack was getting there, here and there at the breakdown they really caused us problems.”

While Munster are still without their Lions, Ospreys are allowed to bring Dan Biggar on to their bench, as well as welcoming back outstanding flanker Dan Lydiate alongside him after a 10-month injury lay-off.

Their form is indifferent, though and they were limp in defeat to Glasgow last time out. Munster have won eight away games in a row in the league and lost just one in six against today’s opponents.

This is a chance Munster should seize with both hands.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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