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What an incredible time for Munster, the fruits of Rob Penny’s plans. Not alone did his team produce the try of the round but they also secured the signatures of two ‘leaders’ and potentially a number 8 of real quality for next season.
While I might have been a little critical in the past of this present management group, they are slowly developing Munsterism (previous letter) throughout this squad.
I was interested to hear Cathal Sheridan’s analysis of the Munster players’ response after conceding the try (against Perpignan) and as a young rookie in the cauldron of Stade de Mayol. This team demonstrated that belief is returning in that extraordinary two minutes and added a collective passion and purpose to secure the win. This will go a long way to create a team. All week the media were full of praise for the conclusion to this pool 6 game and of the retention of the Heineken Cup for the future. ‘Did you expect anything else from Munster?’ was the story of the round and yes, I do believe this is a crucial element in developing a team’s identity.
On the other side of this wonderful tournament we witnessed clubs with rich cheque books, yet nothing to show but early elimination. It is my contention that no collection of world stars will beat a team with collective passion and purpose, and encouraging players to stay and sign up for the future is a massive statement of intent toward developing that collective passion. What we now need is to develop leaders on the park who can ‘pull’ together this collective passion when the game begins to slip away.
As JJ demonstrated, his personal discipline taught him that nobody else can do your job for you and he had the belief/talent to go for it. The management team are certainly progressing with this team and now need to push on and develop cumulative character among the group. If each player has personal discipline and takes responsibility for their job and doesn’t expect somebody else to do it for them, then they will want to pull together as a team. Vince Lombardi (Green Bay Packers American Football) wrote ‘only by knowing yourself can you become an effective leader’. He believed that character and integrity developed from self-knowledge, and self-knowledge develops character. This present Munster squad have the talent. To repeat, it will take character.
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