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Erasmus can bring vital development, but leaves Foley in 'tricky' spot, says Shane Horgan

The pundit hopes that Connacht’s trail-blazing will encourage more teams to try something a little different.

FORMER IRELAND AND Leinster wing Shane Horgan has concerns for Munster head coach Anthony Foley after this week’s appointment of Rassie Erasmus.

The ex-Springbok back row will take over as the province’s director of rugby this summer with both results and performances at a worryingly low ebb.

Anthony Foley Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I think there’s definitely a malaise there,” Horgan said at a Heineken event this week.

“Whether the appointment of a new director of rugby will change that, we’ll see, but I think that Anthony Foley is in a very tricky position because it never looks good from a personal point of view for someone to be hoisted in over on top of you. That creeps into the talk among sets of players as well.”

As for whether a South African, with their traditionally simplistic rugby principles, is the right fit for a club seeking a radical change on the pitch; Horgan was hugely positive about Erasmus’ merits and hopes to see Munster joining Connacht in seeking out success by being a little more adventurous, rather than being overly concerned by errors.

“Having watched (Erasmus) as a player, he’s a bit of a thinker. I don’t think the traditional South African model applies to him.

“Certainly they need to evolve their game. It’s something Rob Penney tried to do before Anthony Foley. I don’t think he was doing it in the right way, but I think what we’ve seen this year in the Pro12, and the lack of competitiveness of the Pro12 teams in the European Cup, is that you actually have to think about doing something different in rugby.

“What was successful for Leinster, Munster and the Pro12 teams of two years ago, I don’t think it’s going to be successful anymore.

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“You see a team like Connacht, who are trying to do something different, are having huge success, and disproportionate success actually for the quality of rugby and the level that they’re executing.

“They’re making a huge amount of mistakes, they’re not executing what they’re trying to do perfectly by any manner or means. But they are trying to be different and they’re stretching the other teams that aren’t used to it, and they’re having huge success.”

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Sean Farrell

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