DESPITE Donnacha Ryan’s move to Racing 92 in France and the possibility of Munster coach Rassie Eramsus returning to work in South Africa, the Reds must be hugely focused for their Champions Cup quarter-final this weekend.
That’s the view of Evening Echo rugby columnist and former Irish international David Corkery, who is concerned about Munster’s build-up to tomorrow’s showdown with Toulouse at Thomond Park. “I know these latest announcements are all part of professional sport...but they are still negative and will cause much concern,” writes Corkery in his column in the 16-page Cork Sports World pull-out inside Friday's paper.
“Timing is such a key element in all walks of sport, and if there was ever a time for these two declarations not to have been cast out to the public, surely the week leading into one of Munster’s biggest games in their illustrious history was it...”
Corkery believes 33-year-old Ryan should have been offered a better contract by the IRFU to ensure he stayed with Munster.
“For the life of me, I can’t even come close to comprehending the IRFU’s decision not to offer Donnacha Ryan a worthwhile contract, but then again I guess he doesn’t play for Leinster.
“The Tipperary native will be sorely missed by all, not only as a player, but also as a squad member who epitomises exactly what playing for Munster means.”
Corkery concedes it is understandable why Erasmus would be tempted by a return to his native shore.
“South African rugby is in a mess at this moment and a man with Erasmus’s experience and understanding of how the modern game operates would be a massive benefit to have leading their recovery process.”
For all that, Corkery is still hopeful Munster can secure a semi-final spot in the Championship Cup.
“Maybe I am being a wee bit optimistic but this Munster team have a job to finish and I have full confidence in their ability to see it home.”
See Friday's Evening Echo for Corkery's full column.