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Munster legend Keith Wood and journalist Ruaidhri O'Connor joined Wednesday Night Rugby to discuss Ian Costello.

Munster have very little left to play for this season. In theory, they still have very important URC games to play, but since both games are against seemingly superior opposition in South Africa, it's not likely they will get the points they need to extend their season.

As such, eyes in Limerick are looking towards next season. And there's plenty of reasons to be optimistic if you're a Munster fan.

Graham Rowntree and Mike Prendergast had a positive impact on the team overall. Jack Crowley is one of a handful of young players who are establishing themselves as quality starters. And RG Snyman successfully returned after so long on the sideline.

But the most important move for next season is Ian Costello's appointment as Director of Rugby. Costello will give Munster the direction and identity that they've severely lacked over recent years. He will be responsible with creating pipelines of talent, succession plans for established starters and he will make sure the squad's issues are addressed.

Munster should be better equipped to build on their success, says Ruaidhri O'Connor.

"There are some signs that they are getting some things right," O'Connor said.

"A key appointment is that they've moved Ian Costello from next season into a kind of Director of Rugby role. He will now be responsible for the squad strategy. They brought in Rassie Erasmus as a Director of Rugby. He was all things to all men."

Anthony Foley sadly passed away which disrupted the Munster structure at the time. And then Erasmus departed so Munster no longer had someone spearheading the rugby decisions behind the scenes.

That has led to too many mistakes.

"It's not like they haven't been trying to sign a front row, but they look like a dysfunctional organization behind the scenes in terms of succession planning, in terms of identifying what they need. They needed a big, scrummaging, carrying front row and they signed Malakai Fekitoa.

"They signed two centers.

"There's obviously a certain amount of budget there and they...obviously think center is an issue, but they haven't been able to get that tighthead. The two best scrummaging props that Munster have produced in the last decade, one plays for Leicester Tigers and one plays at the top of the Super League with the Chiefs.

"The overall strategy underpinning it all has been muddled over the past couple of years."

O'Connor notes that he's hopeful because Rowntree has the players on his side, the coaching staff as a whole is loaded with promise and now Costello can come in as the final piece of the puzzle.

"His only job is making sure the squad is strong in every area...that gives me hope."

Munster desperately needed John Ryan against the Sharks.


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