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Friday 18 August 2017

Munster must heed Leinster's mistakes and go direct: Horgan

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony speaks to his team-mates during
training at the University of Limerick this week. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster’s Peter O’Mahony speaks to his team-mates during training at the University of Limerick this week. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Former Ireland wing Shane Horgan is adamant Munster should stick to what they know in the PRO12 League final.

There were grumbles of disillusion when they opted to play little or no expansive rugby in the Champions Cup semi-final loss to Saracens.

What hurt them against the English club helped them to squeeze the life out of The Ospreys in the PRO12 semi-final.

"Rassie has spoken in the aftermath of the defeat to Saracens about having to move their game plan on," said Horgan.

"But, trying to have a big change in how you play rugby in the last couple of weeks of a season would be a really foolhardy move.

"The fact they haven't done that is smart," he said.

"If he wants to evolve that team into somewhere, which they need to, to be competing in the final in Eruope, as opposed to the PRO12, that is a positive thing."

First things first, as Leinster found out, this is a step-by-step process in which the ball is the priority.

Munster will not move the ball away from the basis of their game.

"You have that more rudimentary game plan for carrying strongly, getting around the corner to outnumber the opposition."

Horgan believes Munster can use Scarlets' shock of Leinster to their advantage to secure the title.

"I think Munster will take a number of learnings from the Leinster game," he said.

"A couple of things that have come directly out of the Leinster game is that you need to carry first-up ball really strongly and get over the gainline.

"I didn't think Leinster carried the ball particularly well.

"They were pre-occupied with going around the opposition or cutting them up with moves."

Horgan favours "a more basic game plan where the ball is being carried very quickly over a number of phases."

There is no better club in the PRO12 suited to that kind of direct assault on the Scarlets senses.

"Even when Leinster got forward momentum from a big carry, which wasn't that often, they didn't resource the ruck particularly well.

"All the momentum was gone at a slow ruck and The Scarlets defensive line was able to reset again."

The Welsh club shouldn't have the same opportunity to turn over or slow down the ball against Munster's main motivation to protect the ball, first and foremost.

"It fits in quite well with what Munster have been doing this season," he said.

"When they have played their best, they have been able to get quick ruck ball after a very strong carry.

"They carry the second ball from a one-out runner or from a slip ball to a runner to make it difficult to reset the defensive line quickly.

"I think we will see that again and it is complimentary to what Munster are trying to do."

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