Opinion – Bell tolls as Big Ben leaves


Screen shot 2016-07-14 at 10.15.41RIGHT, lets get down to business.
Young Munster and Irish U/20’s prop Ben Betts, who has represented Munster at Youths, U/19 and U/20s level, while also playing for Ireland at U/18, U/19 and U/20 level will leave for the Tigers of Leicester this coming season.
Before we go any further, yes, I do coach at Young Munster RFC, however, only this coming season, so before we start, we all have the facts.
Speaking of which, when Munster announced their academy intake for the coming season on June 30, Ben Betts, along with Kelvin Brown of Shannon RFC and the Irish U/20’s World Cup final squad, were both notable ommissions.
Munster fans could not believe that two players who had excelled at Irish level were not deemed good enough to represent the province any longer.
What was even more surprising was that Munster allowed Betts to leave these shores. Not all Munster’s call, not all Ben’s, but it should not have been allowed to happen anyway.
Yes, players have left in the past. Yes more might leave in the future, but where is the long term vision for Munster? Where is the culture? Are they blatantly ignoring their fans?
Munster are not able to shop in the same market as the bigger teams in Europe, including Leicester.
So, when a side like Leicester sees something in a player, that you may not have, you do not leave the player go. You hold on to him and figure out what you have missed. Simples.
Munster’s disconnect with their fans has been chronicled here enough times for us to all know it is not about a motorway or a mismash of kick off times, it is more about the players not being known to the fans. Here is a player (Betts) from Estuary RFC, through Young Munster, who would have bolstered gate receipts on his own, regardless of his undoubted talent. Sadly, as Big Ben leaves, the bell tolls for Munster.