John Langford, Jim Williams, Rua Tipoki, Doug Howlett, Trevor Halstead and Jean DeVilliers. Munster fans will be hoping that Stephen Larkham – today added to the coaching ticket – will in time, be added to that illustrious list.
Some of those players that came from overseas were key in the cultural shift from amateur to a more professional approach, some came over and gave our starting XV a boost as seen in 2006 & 2008 in particular.
Others came over and provided a different approach and coaching philosophy like Alan Gaffney and Rob Penny for example.
The province has seen many overseas contributors from players to coaches. Each in their own right got Munster fans excited, but as we look forward to the 2019/2020 season long gone are the days of signing the big name overseas player when you’ve Financial constraints plus well backed English and French clubs to compete with.
The reality is that Munster must use the players that they have at their disposal, bring in coaches with new ideas that might just push our current starting XV past semi-final stages and also reach a point of competition in a number of positions where you have Academy players sticking their hands up.
The Announcement that Graeme Rowntree will become the Munster Forwards Coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup is an excellent appointment.
However it is the appointment of Stephen Larkham that has really gotten Munster fans excited and rightly so.
Larkham (who had a very distinguished career as a player and a World Cup winner) was backs coach with Australian Super Rugby side, the Brumbies, from 2011 to 2013, before assuming the role of head coach with the side between 2013 and 2017.
Larkham was also attack coach with the Wallabies National team from 2015 until earlier this year and was involved in the Australia U20’s setup before they departed World Rugby U20s Championships in Argentina.
While still a young coach (45), he’s implemented brilliant attacking plays at the Brumbies during his time and he could very well be his attacking strategy and overall game philosophy that could see the likes of Joey Carbery flourish under for example.
Larkham is also a coach that loves detail, similar to Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt. It’s the detail that Schmidt provides in Ireland camp that’s seen the Munster players play well for their country and something that the Munster players might crave from a backs coach day to day in UL (like Larkham) that could see them into Finals.