Monster coaches must change old habits

Bernard Jackman says Monster’s coaching staff must “change old habits” and cautions that it may be until January before they start to show signs of serious improvement.

Graham Rowntree’s reign as a coach started as an underdog Monster suffered a 20-13 defeat against Cardiff In the opening match of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

The visitors conceded two first-stage set-piece attempts at Arms Park while Max Llewellyn’s opening attempt was the result of some vile defense.

Rowntree is taking his team back to Wales on Sunday to face the Dragon, live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, and Jackman said patience is required.

The former Ireland prostitute told The Head: “Monster would be happy with an extra point given the content of the game. To concede those two attempts at set pieces, that’s an easy fix, and Dennis Lemmy will tighten all those areas over next month.”

“From an offensive point of view you can sometimes see what Mike Prendergast wants to do, but there was a lack of cohesion and clarity.

“You have to change old habits. Johan [van Graan] And Rasi Erasmus before him had a very clear outline of how the game would be played. That’s what they’ve learned in the past six or seven years. You must retrain them. They are also missing some international players.

“I think it will be January before we see what Monster is really about under Rowntree, Prendergast and Lemmy. They had a very short pre-season but the initial impression, and what I hear from the players, is a breath of fresh air. They love the way it is going. things out.”

Jackman said the opening round defeat should not signal “panic stations” for Munster and added that Cardiff had provided a glimmer of hope for the Welsh rugby club after years of poor performance.

“It’s good for the league that Cardiff is back,” Jackman said. “On paper they are Wales’ best team. Signing Taulupe Faletau, Liam Williams and Thomas Young – the league needs a strong Cardiff.

“Obviously we hope they don’t get points every week against the Irish counties but there is a lot of improvement in Munster there.”

Leinster must correct defensive lapses

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Jimmy Heslip, Doncha O’Callaghan and Murray Kinsella reflect on Leinster’s victory over Zepre

Jackman is not expecting a major death at Leinster either after his shaky start to the season in Italy, with Leo Colin’s side suffering a second-half collapse against Zepre, but I kept the victory 33-29 additional points.

They face more Italian opposition on Friday when Benetton visits RDS and Jackman believes a low-key start would have been factored into his former team’s pre-season plans.

“Colin and Stewart Lancaster know how to run their team,” Jackman said. “They usually play with over 55 players in the competition. They saw that their first game was away to Zebri and got the five points they were probably targeting.

“Obviously Zepre came a little bit closer than they would have liked. They only played one game pre-season against Harlequins because they actually thought they saw Zepre as one. Most of the guys would normally play two and a half games pre-season.

“The less pre-season you play, the more time you can spend on strength and conditioning. If you can avoid them, it can help you peak in time.

“Leinster had 21 players outside of Ireland, they would all be on individual tables. They were almost caught, but they didn’t. They got five points and in the season they wouldn’t say they should have started a week earlier.

“Defensively it was a bit unusual for them because no matter what the players play with Leinster they all seem to be on the same page. And I saw some examples of players watching the ball and watching the guys. It’s something they’re obviously going to do that needs to be corrected.”


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Follow the BKT United Rugby Championship 2022/23 via RTÉ Radio, Television, RTÉ.ie/Sports and the RTÉ News app.

Watch live coverage of Stormers v Connacht (September 24) and Dragons v Munster (September 25) on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.