How They Rated: Munster would do well to block out the Outside Noise Spotify playlist

There's more to come from this Munster side - and a thumping win gave us a glimpse of what that might be this season 
How They Rated: Munster would do well to block out the Outside Noise Spotify playlist

RECORD BREAKER: Munster's Simon Zebo on his way to becoming the province's top European try scorer at Thomond Park on Sunday. Picture: Sam Barnes, Sportsfile

It's been a weird week for Munster by any stretch of the imagination. Winning away in France used to be the gold standard for the Irish provinces up until the Style Collective decided that Castres Olympique, third in the Top 14, were rubbish - despite all evidence to the contrary.

As a result, some of the Outside Noise Spotify playlist this week has featured instant classics such as Ould Lads Crying Over The Idea Of Box Kicks, Castres Just Don't Care and Castres Just Don't Care; The Remix featuring Oh No Did They Nearly Beat Total Rugby Harlequins Away From Home?

It got to the point that Stephen Larkham got pulled during the weekly remote presser on Munster's perceived style of play issues by an overly eager journo looking to ask The Tough Questions. That was an awkward few minutes. When Larkham asked him for specifics on what exactly Munster need to do that they aren't, the response was about as vague and non-specific as it's possible to get. Something about kicks, something about "strings to the bow"... 

This is where Munster are at, though. The perception is that they're playing very poorly despite only losing twice all season long. Coming into a game against Wasps - a dangerous breakdown side - the pressure would be on to not only win but to win with enough style that anyone watching the highlights has a few nice scores to look at.

Sunday's first half was an example of what Munster have been doing all season. Go back to their work before the Omicron Incident in South Africa and you'll see a lot of the stuff that highlighted the first half here - offloads, a fluid 3-2-2 structure, variety - it was all there but with end product to go with it. 

There's more to come from this Munster side, that's for sure, and this game gave us a glimpse of what that might be this season. 

HOW THEY RATED

15. Mike Haley - Super solid under the high ball and better on transition than he has been as of late 7/10.

14. Andrew Conway - Very sharp, very effective. Back to his best 7/10.

13. Chris Farrell - Great physicality and a real leader in the outside backline 8/10.

12. Rory Scannell - Another well-built game from Scannell with a little bit of everything. Deserved the try at the end 8/10.

11. Simon Zebo - Two tries? That's what Zebo does when you give him an opportunity. Limited opportunities but lethal when called upon 8/10.

10. Ben Healy - This was the performance of a young flyhalf out to prove a point after a frustrating few weeks. He slung passes, ran the ball incredibly well and found the accuracy needed to move Munster on. His kicking down the line was something else 8/10.

9. Conor Murray - Another classy, mature performance from the greatest Irish scrumhalf of all time. He just doesn't tend to make mistakes and gives you a platform you can rely on starting or off the bench 8/10.

1. Jeremy Loughman - A good breakdown penalty, some nice handling, solid scrummaging and a fine close range finish were the main highlights for Loughman. Solid 7/10.

2. Diarmuid Barron - A decent evening's work. Very busy at the breakdown, carried well enough and bar one or two scragged throws, he was pretty good in pressure situations 8/10.

3. Stephen Archer - Busy around the breakdown as per usual with some nice scrummaging and carrying thrown in for good measure. Just really, really consistent 9/10.

4. Jean Kleyn - One of the most underrated forwards in Ireland. This was another example of his power, impact and set piece smarts even if some of his handling wasn't what it needed to be at times 8/10.

5. Tadhg Beirne - Another consistently good performance from the Danny Ocean of rugby. Simply one of the best players in Europe at the moment. 8/10.

6. Peter O'Mahony - He's playing some of the best stuff of his career right now and this game was another example of what he's good at - outstanding basics 8/10.

7. Jack O'Donoghue - Good stuff from O'Donoghue. He does a lot of things really well and balances every backrow he's selected in 7/10.

8. Gavin Coombes - His carry in the build up to O'Donoghue's try in the first half was just one of the coolest things you'll see in this game 7/10.

Replacements: Munster's bench had a pretty good impact on the game. It's great to see young lads having a crack at this level and thriving as the half pushed on. 7/10

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