Finn Russell Munster’s old dogs learn a few new tricks under Stephen Larkham

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The sight of Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander (not once, but twice) offloading the ball, the former in his own half, at Thomond Park on Saturday night was not only further evidence of the dramatic effect Stephen Larkham is having on Munster, but also gave the lie to the notion that you cannot teach old dogs new tricks.

Offloads were never a notable feature of Ireland’s more prescriptive rugby, which yielded unparalleled success until this year, but a striking feature of the early Euro skirmishes has been the palpable degree to which the front-liners have embraced the freer approach adopted by the provinces.

Like this game itself, it has been an antidote to the disappointment of the World Cup.

This has been particularly so for the likes of O’Mahony and Stander in returning to a Munster squad which had already begun to adopt the ambition being fostered by Larkham.

When asked what Larkham’s influence has been like, O’Mahony was not being critical of the Irish set-up when admitting: “It has been great, it’s been really refreshing. He has definitely given us licence to go and play some ball, which is really enjoyable.

“Training has been really enjoyable, we have had a lot of work to do to get up to speed with regard to plays and the likes, everyone has really enjoyed working under him for t

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