Mike Sherry says it is time for the players to take responsibility for Munster’s current malaise as the province heads into tonight’s must-win RaboDirect Pro12 home clash with champions Ospreys.
Head coach Rob Penney’s side plays its final game of the Six Nations window at Thomond Park this evening looking to make amends for two straight away defeats at Scarlets and Treviso and climb back into the play-off race for one of the four semi-final berths.
With six games of the regular season remaining, the three-time league champions are six points off the pace with Ospreys holding onto the fourth place in the table. Sherry, who will start from the bench tonight as he rotates the hooking duties with Damien Varley, believes the tailing off of form since Heineken Cup qualification was secured with a rousing win over Racing Metro in January is the fault of the Munster players not the coaches.
“We’ve struggled the last two weekends, and especially [against] Treviso, so we’re coming from a different place [since January],” Sherry said.
“At the time we were jubilant that we got through to the quarter-finals but I don’t think fellas’ confidence will be too badly affected. We know we can get back to that place that we need to for the rest of the season and it won’t be an issue.
“The coaches can’t legislate for forward passes, knock-ons, not doing your job right. So it’s player driven and we need to drive it again. Coaches can’t be taking the blame about their game-plans, it’s nothing to do with that, it’s to do with our mindset. So if we mess up again, we’re gone, basically.”
Having captained Munster for the first time on February 16 against Scarlets, 24-year-old Sherry has emerged as one of the leaders in the squad and he agreed it fell upon the leadership group in the province to spearhead the fightback.
“Yes, definitely. There’s only so much coaches can do for you. When you play like that you can’t blame anyone else but yourselves. They don’t make you run into touch, they don’t make you throw a forward pass, which we did five or six times at the weekend.
“So, yeah, it’s definitely player driven. We need to be a bit harsh with each other. Because it’s not acceptable by Munster standards. So we have to get back on the horse this weekend and we have to fight or more words will be spoken.
“They’re all cup finals to the end of the season. We have to win every game. There can’t be any slip ups. We don’t have time for messing, for scraps, we’re focused now on doing our jobs to the best of our ability because we need to get results, big results.”
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