Shane Horgan: Munster style better suited to Scarlets than Leinster

Munster’s gameplan is better suited to causing Scarlets problems than Leinster’s, according to former Leinster, Ireland and Lions back Shane Horgan. 

The West Wales side upset Leinster in the Guinness PRO12 semi-final to book a place in Saturday’s final against Munster at the Aviva Stadium.

Scarlets beat Rassie Erasmus’s side at Thomond Park this season, but Horgan doesn’t foresee a repeat of that result.

“For starters, Munster will certainly take some learnings from the Leinster game and from the experience of having played and lost to the Scarlets this season. They will have studied a lot of video from the last 10 weeks, in particular, and something evident from the Leinster game is that you need to carry first-up ball really strong and get over the gain line. I didn’t think Leinster carried the ball particularly well; they were occupied with going around the opposition and some of the line speed from Llanelli was very good, so Munster will have to come up with something to combat that.

“But Munster displayed some excellent things against Ospreys; they carried the ball very quickly over a number of phases. I think Munster will play the way that fits in quite well with what they have been doing this season. They will seek to get quick ruck ball after very strong carries from one of their back row. They just play in such a way as to make it very difficult for the opposition to get back into formation in their defensive line. Scarlets were able to do that, because of the way Leinster played last week.”

Horgan believes Erasmus’s tactics may need to evolve to make Munster a threat at the top level of European rugby, but for now insists the province will stick with what got them to the PRO12 showpiece.

“I think Rassie has spoken about wanting to move the gameplan on, but trying to have a major change in how you play rugby in the last couple of weeks in the season is not the way to go about it.

“If he wants to evolve the team a little bit in order to be competing in the final of Europe rather than in the final of the Pro12, that’s fine, but right now they have a good gameplan, carrying very strongly, going around the corner, trying to outnumber the opposition before releasing wide to some of the more potent strike runners to create a bit of magic. That’s the kind of thing that Scarlets might struggle with.”

 

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