It was the late Garrett Fitzgerald who made Munster one of the world’s best rugby clubs and instilled the values that forged lifelong bonds between former Munster players, according to Ronan O’Gara.
Whatever about losing the World Cup final, English rugby had every right to be feeling good about itself and the future of the game after a successful tournament in Japan — until, of course, they found themselves with a PR nightmare on their hands with revelations about Saracens and their manipulation of the Premiership salary cap.
Stephen Larkham has been labelled a “signature signing” for Munster and one that can help the province’s talented backline to click and the team to reconnect with a style that delivered a pair of Heineken Cups.
The Munster and Ireland legend has already established an enviable reputation through his stints as an assistant at Racing 92 and Crusaders but he is assuming the role of head coach for the first time at La Rochelle where he will work under director of rugby Jono Gibbes.
It’s impossible to get used to -2 degrees in July. Irrespective of how many years a Paddy spends in Christchurch, heading out with a couple of Crusader coaches to a Japanese restaurant dressed like a lagging jacket always seems odd.
Former Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris has hit out at the hardline stance taken by Joe Schmidt and the IRFU which has resulted in both Simon Zebo and Tadhg Beirne being omitted from the coach’s Six Nations squad.
While Ulster’s players and management insist that the focus is entirely on Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle, it’s become clearer who will be replacing Christian Leali’ifano when the Wallaby’s short-term contract ends this month.
Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss could hardly have been more candid in describing his team’s performance when he responded to a post-match query in Galway on Saturday night after his side capitulated to Connacht in the Guinness PRO14.