Heineken Cup Video: Munster 12 - 9 Northampton, highlights
As decent a game as the Munster 12 - 9 Northampton clash was last night (see video highlights, right) - full of effort and pace, if not a great deal of precision - one thing that was obvious is just how much Shane Geraghty struggled.
We all know what he can do: run clever angles, create the unexpected etc, but on the evidence of last night what he cannot do is run a game, and the less said about his place-kicking the better. He was so obviously struggling to give Saints some shape that I was astounded it took Jim Mallinder until the 71st minute to bring on Stephen Myler to give some direction to the surprising amount of possession and territory the visitors were enjoying at Thomond.
What is perhaps most disheartening is how quickly he seems to stop backing himself when the odd thing goes wrong, because the greatest weakness an international player can have is a lack of resilience and mental strength.
It is not often this blog agrees with the EMO (England Management Omnishambles), but it would seem on the latest evidence that the Saxons is exactly where Shane should be at present. On the biggest stage he not only played poorly, at times he seemed genuinely lost. It will be interesting to see if he is first off the rank into the senior squad should either Jonny or Flood be injured.
It was also worrying to see just how much Ben Foden was outshone by his opposite number Paul Warwick.
Unfortunately for Northampton, for everything that went well - the pack scrummaging well and getting good territory - there was too much that went badly wrong; losing that scrum against the head when O'Connell was in the bin was a disgrace, many in the backline had poor or ordinary games, and both Reihana and Geraghty had their Toblerone boots on.
Credit to Munster, though, they really are masters at getting a result, even when not playing particularly well.Tweet
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