David Corkery: All I can see is Munster getting the better of Exeter in a tight match

Tuesday's announcement that the provinces current forwards coach and former English international Graham Rowntree will be calling the shots for the next few years must have been like winning the lotto.
David Corkery: All I can see is Munster getting the better of Exeter in a tight match

Munster forwards coach Graham Rowntree talks to the players during Munster rugby squad training at University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

I don’t think there has been as much anticipation amongst the Munster faithful since they waited to welcome home their heroes of 2006 and 2008.

I fully realise that sport isn’t exactly the most important thing in the world however, if you are a devoted Munster enthusiast and you’ve supported them over the last decade, Tuesday's announcement that the provinces current forwards coach and former English international Graham Rowntree will be calling the shots for the next few years must have been like winning the lotto.

It was highly anticipated that Rowntree would be given the job some time ago, but those who make the decisions in dark corridors and behind closed doors have made some very strange and questionable acquisitions over the years and no one was going to put their house on the English man's appointment.

During last week's heart-warming performance it was very interesting to see at half time when the cameras switched over to the two dressing rooms, that Rowntree was in the middle of reading the riot act to the players.

It is probably best that there was no sound transmitted with these pictures because if their was I think the commentators would have been apologising on Rowntree’s behalf. 

I am no lip reader, but judging from his facial expressions and agitated body movements, it was crystal clear that he was not very happy with how the players were performing and he was giving them an ultimatum.

Because Rowntree has never been head coach of any team he has worked with, there is a big question mark over his credentials, however, he seems to be made of the kind of stuff that Munster need at this current time and I cant imagine him suffering any fools.

Munster's Thomas Ahern applauds the fans
Munster's Thomas Ahern applauds the fans

It will be very interesting to see what kind of coaching team he builds around himself in the coming months because it will be imperative that whoever he brings in, that he has their trust and they have his. 

A coach without the backing of his assistants is nothing more than a dead man walking.

It must be great for everyone involved in this current Munster regime that this announcement has been made because now they can fully focus on the remainder of the season and more importantly, tomorrow's home tie against a very dangerous Exeter team.

I guess you can call this game the second half and Munster are trailing by five points however, there is a big difference and that difference is that the play ground has changed and this time Exeter are coming to Munster’s house and there are not too many who leave Munster’s back yard with their reputation intact.

Last week, what you could only describe as a very youthful and raw Munster team travelled to England to take on a very good and well established bunch of players.

In the opening exchanges it seemed as if Munster were going to be in for a very long day at the office, however, as day passed and the setting sun descended in the south west of England, so emerged a performance from this Munster team that you could only describe as inspirational.

Now, without wanting to lose the run of myself and blow their performance out of all proportions, the reality is that they lost and were it not for some very uncharacteristic and silly errors from the home side, Munster could have been chasing a much bigger margin in tomorrow's game.

Exeter also found themselves down to thirteen players for a period after the break and it was during this time that Munster were able to up the tempo and run the legs off their older opponents.

I would loved to have seen the same team take to the field again for tomorrow's tie because they all worked so hard, but that’s not how the departing Johann van Grann see’s things and has reappointed some of his more established players to the starting fifteen.

Munster's Thomas Ahern wins a lineout
Munster's Thomas Ahern wins a lineout

Looking back to move forward is never a good strategy to take albeit, on this occasion Munster will have reviewed the video of last week's game and you can be sure that they will have worked rigorously on the breakdown and how they go about protecting the ball.

The amount of penalties that Munster conceded in the first half was just crazy and as I stated already, that if Exeter were as accurate as they normally are, Munster’s task tomorrow would be incredibly harder.

The men in red have not fired on all cylinders for some time now, but I have a very good feeling about this game and all I can see is a Munster win.

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