2023 Munster Rugby vs Glasgow Warriors

Munster's Attack Shines, But Maul Woes Taint Victory For Graham Rowntree

Munster's Attack Shines, But Maul Woes Taint Victory For Graham Rowntree

Munster Rugby's attack shines in thrilling 40-29 win over Glasgow Warriors, but maul concerns taint the victory for head coach Graham Rowntree.

Dec 3, 2023 by Philip Bendon
Munster's Attack Shines, But Maul Woes Taint Victory For Graham Rowntree

In a thrilling clash against the Glasgow Warriors, Munster secured a 40-29 victory at Musgrave Park, displaying what head coach Graham Rowntree described as "beautiful" rugby. 

However, Rowntree's satisfaction is tempered by concerns over his team's performance in the mauls during the United Rugby Championship encounter. 

Despite Munster outscoring its opponents with six tries to Glasgow Warriors' five, Rowntree expressed frustration at his team's struggles in the mauls, particularly conceding all five of their opponents' tries from devastating line-out mauls. 

Reflecting on the game, Rowntree acknowledged the sharpness of Munster's attack, when speaking to Irish broadcasters RTE, "We looked sharp [in attack], didn’t we? We were really sharp in attack. 

 “We were really sharp in attack. Discipline, we’ll look at how we’re giving them mauls at our own try-line, and we have to be better there.” 

The head coach highlighted the team's need to improve in defending mauls, expressing concern that without addressing the issue, they could face defensive challenges throughout the season. 

Rowntree acknowledged the importance of discipline and stressed the need for the forward pack to enhance its performance in this aspect of the game. 

“I said to the lads, we have some work to do as a forward pack, otherwise we’ll be defending mauls all season," Rowntree said. "We’ve got some work to do there, but it stems back to our discipline around the middle of the field.”

Despite Munster's attacking prowess, Rowntree feels that the issues with the maul "tainted" the overall result against Glasgow Warriors. 

He commented, "Beautiful, beautiful, we got our game going... It’s tainted for me, with those maul tries." 

Rowntree expressed confidence in addressing the technical issues affecting the team's maul defense, stating, "We’ve got to be better, we’ll fix it. We’ve done it before, it’s a technical issue and we’ll get it right." 

Amidst the concerns, Rowntree reserved special praise for Thomas Ahern, who shifted from lock to flank and scored two tries in the match, earning him the official man-of-the-match award. 

Rowntree commended Ahern's versatility as a back-five player and highlighted his ability to adapt to different positions on the field. 

“We’d spoken about him, even when he was in the second-row, about using him on the edge of the field more," Rowntree said. “And then we made the decision last week before the Leinster game to put him back to six." 

While acknowledging that Ahern is not perfect, Rowntree expressed satisfaction with the competition in the back-five positions and praised the player's development and enjoyment of the game. 

“I remember telling him the morning of training, ‘How about six?’, and he just lit up. Tom’s not that expressive as a person, but I was impressed by it, and how he’s taken to the position. It’s good, he’s not perfect, but he’s showing to be a very versatile back-five player. 

“He was a fullback not long ago, now it does play into his strengths, and you can see he’s enjoying his game. 

“I’m chuffed with how he’s going. We’ve got some serious competition in that back-five now.”

Next up for the Irish side is their opening Investec Champions Cup clash with French Top 14 side Bayonne at Thomond Park in Limerick on Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m. local time.