2020 And Beyond: Andy Farrell's Ireland

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Post by profitius on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:18 pm

I've started this thread to appease the mocker gods.


It's almost the end of an era as Schmidt's time is coming to an end. Farrell is the new coach and will bring in his own way of doing things. Mike Catt is the new attack coach and John Fogarty takes over from Greg Feel.


There'll be changes in squad selections too with players possibly being involved with the squad for the last time in this world cup. Ireland don't do world cup cycles like other teams so for instance the 32 year old Healy won't be gotten rid of even though he's unlikely to make the next world cup.


There's a new generation of players emerging now so who do you think will make the squad in 2020 and the proceeding years?


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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:37 pm

Greg Feel?..... always had my suspicions about him.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:43 pm

I didn't know about Catt involvement until you told me earlier.

Head coaches get to choose (I hope) and coaches have the right to pick faces they might be comfortable with... but is Mike Catt the future of cutting edge Ireland in attack mode?

I look forward to having my doubts lifted but in truth I probably was hoping for a touch of wildcat SH blood on the coaching ticket


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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:44 pm

...and I know, I know in advance....Catt is South African. But folks know what I mean.

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Post by profitius on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 7:44 pm

SecretFly wrote:I didn't know about Catt involvement until you told me earlier.

Head coaches get to choose (I hope) and coaches have the right to pick faces they might be comfortable with... but is Mike Catt the future of cutting edge Ireland in attack mode?

I look forward to having my doubts lifted but in truth I probably was hoping for a touch of wildcat SH blood on the coaching ticket


I'm the same. Not convinced by Catt's record but it looks like a big change in style to Schmidt which isn't a bad thing. I know people will disagree but I'd prefer some more excitement when watching Ireland.


In terms of new players, I think one or two of the Leinster backrow (Penney, Deegan, Doris), one or two new hookers (Kelleher, ?), Shane Daly.
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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 9:01 pm

Think many if not the majority would like to see more excitement with Ireland.  I think it's possible, desirable and we certainly have the players to service a newer more dashing version if teams like Wales and Scotland can be lauded for it.

BUT.... the more rugged, big game forward aggressiveness and defensive meanness has to be maintained.  There is absolutely no point in having a lightweight show pony side, cutting, ducking, darting and offloading all over the place having lost the hard nosed grunt needed to win the bigger games.
Scotland get praised for their off the cuff heads up rugby, but it's faint praise when the yearly results come in.

We have to find a balance that works.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 9:57 pm

Does any one think that Johnny Sexton, and Rob Kerney will still be in the Ireland squad come the 6ns?

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 10:39 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:Does any one think that Johnny Sexton, and Rob Kerney will still be in the Ireland squad come the 6ns?

They might both announce their retirement from International duty after the WC.  But both seem prepared to play on a bit more for Leinster.  And if no declarations come,  then performances with Leinster would I'm sure dictate Farrell's opinions when it came to the 6N representation.  
He'll want to adapt the side with next WC in mind eventually but first he'll want a decent beginning with a decent 6N.  If Sexton is still top dog form-wise then he'd still be top dog form-wise.  Kearney might be less secure as the 15 spot really does need new experimentation with new candidates given superior minutes.

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Post by miaow on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 10:51 pm

Does anyone think Andy Farrell might become Ireland's Gregor Townsend?

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 10:58 pm

miaow wrote:Does anyone think Andy Farrell might become Ireland's Gregor Townsend?

In what sense?  Producing a side addicted to trying to play off-the-cuff instinctive stuff even when inappropriate?
Don't think Farrell's more dogged defensive sensibility would sanction that.

But there is always the danger when replacing a head coach that you get a Luke-warm one that's okay but not good enough.  That's the risk many sides are taking after this WC.  You can't really know what's coming until it arrives.

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Post by rodders on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:12 am

miaow wrote:Does anyone think Andy Farrell might become Ireland's Gregor Townsend?

Much hinges on the next couple of weekends, a big finish to Schmidts reign and he may struggle to fill his boots....I don't see him being afforded a great deal of time by the media and IRFU, if performances aren't up to scratch.

EOS, Kidney and Schmidt had a lot of credit in the bank to ride through the rough patches. Farrell might not be afforded the same patience if he doesn't hit the ground running next season. I'd say he's got 2 seasons to pick up a 6N title or the vultures will start to circle......
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Post by Collapse2005 on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:41 am

I would agree with that. It helps however, that Farrell hasnt previously coached Leinster as much of Schmidt's criticism comes down to the fact that some "fans" believe that he is biased towards Leinster players. Some "fans" dont like him simply because of his association with Leinster.

I dont think Farrell's brief involvement with Munster will make much difference.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 12:51 pm

rodders wrote:
miaow wrote:Does anyone think Andy Farrell might become Ireland's Gregor Townsend?

Much hinges on the next couple of weekends, a big finish to Schmidts reign and he may struggle to fill his boots....I don't see him being afforded a great deal of time by the media and IRFU, if performances aren't up to scratch.

EOS, Kidney and Schmidt had a lot of credit in the bank to ride through the rough patches. Farrell might not be afforded the same patience if he doesn't hit the ground running next season. I'd say he's got 2 seasons to pick up a 6N title or the vultures will start to circle......

I can glide in a circle. Count me in.

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Post by miaow on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 1:40 pm

By Townsend, I mean promoting a useful/driven assistant coach in to the main job almost by default, and it all going wrong when you realise he doesn't have the attributes of a head coach.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 2:00 pm

Yeah Miaow, but I think Farrell was earmarked for the main job from the beginning. He's really only with Ireland as assistant to smooth his start up.

IRFU have presumably seen something in Farrell that allowed them to choose him.  The rest of us might be more clear on that when he gets up and running as the main man.  

I think he's very much taking a firm back seat at the moment.  He almost at times seems emotionally disconnected from the whole show for now.  An attitude of 'this isn't my business yet.'  We'll see how he might change when the buck stops with him.

But with everything IRFU have been doing for a decade or so, everything seems to be always part of longer range forecasts and plans.  For instance, in my book there is absolutely no coincidence that so many ex-England coaches have taken on work with Provinces.  IRFU will have looked at the positives inherent in the England teams they ran, acknowledged the negatives but made a decision that the time is right to get an Anglo influence into the overall product they mean to serve at Provincial and International level.
There is method behind the coincidences. Farrell it appears is just a cog.

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Post by miaow on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 2:37 pm

I just get some 'red flags' with Farrell. Responsible for the fallout in the England RWC camp in 2015. Never really proved himself a 'top' man in club coaching.

He's not a head coach for me. Like his son, he's a driver of standards, but he's not your thinker, he's not the philosopher that so many good coaches - Eddie Jones, Jamie Joseph, Schmidt, Rassie - appear to be these days. The man to really pick things apart in detail, have a deep, ever-evolving understanding of the game, and know how to delegate and delegate well.

Basically, Andy Farrell's a bit of a blunt instrument, and perhaps Ireland need to opposite of that after the last 4 years of Schmidt - a progressive coach - honing in on the rather rudimentary, almost 'negative' basics of rugby.

If the players lose respect for his mind - his tactics, his understanding, his details - his chest-thumping, man-upping standards will be met begrudgingly, rather than as par for the course. He needs 'thinkers' beneath him if he's going to succeed, but he's also proved to be a bit power hungry, and does he have that confidence that Rassie has, that Gatland has, to defer and allow coaches to effectively do things he cannot? I'm not so sure. The Lancater debacle is a hard one to judge from the outside.

To me, he's an assistant coach. Like Townsend. It was a mistake to line him up for the job if that was always the intention. Just have to wait and see how things go though I suppose.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 9:08 pm

Anyone who thinks Andy Farrell is a chest thumper is just a little bit deluded. He thinks very carefully before he speaks, which the brash mistake for a lack of intellect. He is not as loud as his old Wigan mucker Edwards, but that can be a strength not a weakness. He is comfortable with Catt and Ireland will see a more multi faceted attack. There will be a lot of pragmatism as Farrell will always insist on defence being fixed first.

His biggest issue will be coping with the domestic politics. At the moment he can leave that to Schmidt and Nuciafora, but will have to tread a fine line.... Perhaps though helped by not having any provincial affiliations. Should things not start in a stellar fashion, then maybe being English (or RL) will be used against him.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Wed 16 Oct 2019, 11:21 pm

Being ex RL won't count against him, that game doesn't register over here it's being English that could bring out the worst in a minority if things go downhill.Hopefully it won't come to that and I think we're a bit more mature about that kind of thing than we would have been in years gone past.

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Post by miaow on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 12:31 am

Harsh to call me deluded, LT. Think you're putting words and motivations in my mouth.

He IS an emotional coach and one of his main assets is the mental side he offers to players - just look at his Lions stuff. He brings the grit, the standards, the motivation - but as said, he doesn't bring a deep understanding of Union relative to contemporary head coaches in world rugby. He was a great RL player and a bang average or even poor Union one, at test level at least. That's not using it against him at all - that's the reality. I pose the question about Townsend as there are parallels - fundamental issues Townsend seemingly misses, doesn't understand, and cannot fix because it doesn't enter his remit as a former player. Farrell is/was the same for me in what I've seen. Didn't think Saracens were great under him, and he's been an assistant for the last decade. He had apparently taken over the coaching of England in 2015 - who knows the full story there, but that went horribly wrong - and, clearly, he has done something similar in wanting the top job with Ireland, and you have to assume he left the IRFU with little chance of hiring anyone else. He's a peruasive character who has made the most out of his life, you have to give him that - and no doubt the 2018 title and the ABs win were held up in his favour as the decision on Schmidt's successor was taken. 'More of the same? Errrr...yes please!'. Except life doesn't work like that.

I'm yet to be convinced he has what it takes to take the top job. He still looks and feels like an assistant to me. I'm not calling him thick, I'm not saying any of the things you're trying to imply - I'm not calling him a chest thumping raging lunatic either, but he has an absolute steel confidence and desire to keep going - which you see in his son - which is clearly his biggest attribute. I'm intrigued to see how he gets on as the man in charge, I'm interested to see if he can develop something in the shadow of Schmidt, who - as we stand, right now, before knowing what Ireland will bring against NZ - has limped over the line in his final 12 months after some stellar work at Leinster, and some unbelievable domestic/European success from 2013-2018. He cannot just keep things ticking over - he has to reinvent. That's a tough task in itself. Can he match Schmidt within 3 years? Better him?

Maybe he makes it as a head coach, not sure. But I don't think my point that he'll leave a lot of the holistic tactical work to someone else if he IS to succeed is that contentious. That doesn't mean he cannot 'think' or that he's thick - just that I don't see him having the calibre of the recent brand of HCs like Schmidt, Joseph, even Gatland. How long ago was he at Saracens? And how did that go?

His imprint - his 'thinking', even his genius if you want to put it that way - is all over the way Ireland currently play and it has its function, but also its deep, deep limitations. All the fine details around contact, all the 'sections' of the breakdown, the tackle, the minor positional stuff that Ireland have used to choke - in many senses - the life out of opponents. That's Farrell. And now he's head coach? It'll be interesting to see how that fits in with the rest of the world.

It's a risk for Ireland going for Farrell, and vice versa, for sure. And Fly makes a good point about the way the IRFU is profiting from the previous England camp's failure in 2015 by bringing all that IQ over to the domestic game - same for Wales by the looks of it, with McBryde off over there. Ireland has the money, so it sweeps up whoever doesn't make the grade elsewhere - like NZ coaches scattered around the world, it's seemingly a good employer for Brits at the moment. McBryde, Rowntree, Lancaster etc. You have to wonder who his coaches will be - RoG will surely come in at some point, you'd feel; Flannery's doing alright lower down the scale and could be a useful old face; POC started his coaching but seemingly it's not for him; there's Felix with SA, and no doubt some I don't know.

So presumably there will be English coaches in there as well - is it too ridiculous to suggest Lancaster becomes an assistant? Probably. Either way, Farrell is up against the likes of Gatland, Eddie Jones, Hansen, Jamie Joseph - serial head coaches, some who've done it for decades, and have adapted, succeeded, failed somewhat, and then come back stronger. Farrell doesn't have that. He has that experience as an assistant. Perhaps he's lucky in that his first 6Ns is going to see Wales with a new coach for 1st time in 13 years, one who has minor international experience with Fiji and mixed success at club level; a mixed bag in Townsend; who knows what from the French, presumably a whole new team and captain or a new coach; and maybe-maybenot O'Shea at Italy. If EJ is still there it'll be the only established test coach he's competing against. On the world stage, Hansen is off, but Erasmus is world class, and who knows about Australia. I don't think Farrell sits in the top tier, or even the next tier of experienced head coaches, in test rugby. He's a risk. An unknown quantity as the top dog.

Ultimately, there is no brand new start for Ireland, either. It's been a poor RWC, it's been a poor 2019 overall, and the defence coach is becoming the head coach. Big old risk from the IRFU. What they hoped would be a passing of the mantle, the old king accepting and ordaining the coronation of his successor, but it's threatening to be anything but as Schmidt's tenure is seemingly one game away from being underscored with 'was that it?'. If they get hammered - or even just lose without being competitive - against the ABs that is a huge failure for Ireland - and Farrell is partly to blame.

What a context to bring in to his next job!

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 8:38 am

Too much is made of Ireland being either good one day or not good the next.  Too much is made of their poor record at WC.
If we lose against the ABs at the weekend, we'll all be mad as hell but the world itself will move on without a thought.  Why?  Because despite two recent wins against them, it's expected that Ireland will lose.  It won't be a shock so why should either Schmidt or Farrell suffer adversely?  Would Wales be expected to win?  Would it be a shock if they didn't?  And they are one of the genuine favourites for the WC itself.

So context, context, context.  Not so long ago at all in historic terms we were pretty useless at rugby in any real competitive context when you'd compare us against the world's absolute best.  We're still very much in the middle of a journey of consolidating and seeking to expand the sport in our country.  It is still a small sport in Ireland from which to take genuine super skilled players from to represent the Nation.  

For those who insist on not believing that old chestnut, go take some time to really watch Gaelic football and Hurling.  Look at the specimens of athletes it attracts.  These men are sinewy, hard as nails plus-6foot toned athletes who can run at pace for entire games in a fast sport that happens on bigger fields than rugby fields.  They're amateurs.  But there is a lot of them.  And mostly, rugby as yet can't tap into that reservoir. Some migrate but overall it's still a rugby school pathway that avoids rough necked village hardmen who bwork on factory floors.
So rugby in Ireland is at a stage.  Win or lose against the side most favoured to win the WC itself and Ireland will still be at the stage it's at - way way behind NZ in terms of rugby genes from cot to International.  We're just on a journey.  For now, Farrell will be given a few years at the head of it to see where we might improve further.

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Post by rodders on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 9:28 am

Isn't Joe staying in Ireland now? Maybe Farrell will bring him in as an assistant...
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 7:18 pm

rodders wrote:Isn't Joe staying in Ireland now? Maybe Farrell will bring him in as an assistant...  

Great minds think alike....(not often though Cool ). I said that a while ago.  Take the pressure off him, let him be in the background.  
Don't know what role he'd serve now though as I was fanciful thinking of Joe before I learned Catt was New attack coach.
So, if Joe stays in Ireland, and he wants a break from International like he alluded to...maybe Connacht - back to coaching a Fast game to release all the attritional tension within him.

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Post by miaow on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 7:34 pm

SecretFly wrote:Too much is made of Ireland being either good one day or not good the next.  Too much is made of their poor record at WC.
If we lose against the ABs at the weekend, we'll all be mad as hell but the world itself will move on without a thought.  Why?  Because despite two recent wins against them, it's expected that Ireland will lose.  It won't be a shock so why should either Schmidt or Farrell suffer adversely?  Would Wales be expected to win?  Would it be a shock if they didn't?  And they are one of the genuine favourites for the WC itself.

Context, as you say Fly. 6Ns and GS champions 18 months ago. A gruelling win v NZ 12 months ago. Some good results in the previous 2 years. Yet a dire 2019, outclassed by Wales and England, some big wobbles in the warm ups, and then getting it wrong v Japan as well. It was a mighty fall all predicated on 'peaking at the right time' - if one good win v Scotland was the peak, then yeah, it will be a difficult final season to stomach for Schmidt - and so too Farrell. Think that's obvious enough. Wales haven't beaten NZ, it's generally accepted if we are to win this thing, we need to avoid them and hope someone knocks them out before we meet - although, tbh, I really don't think Wales have the same chance as NZ, Eng, and SA do of winning it. But we're also GS champions. We're not on a downturn - we kept it in third gear, blooding new players, adding *some* attacking strings to the bow which we haven't really seen in the big games in the last 2 months (bar parts of the SA game) but then we managed to do the 'peak at the RWC' thing while also winning a GS. Suppose those are the contexts. Difficult for Ireland, but losing meant they got the tough side of the draw, and if they lose v NZ, there will be basically nothing good about his last 12 months - the 'peak' will be two dreary warm up wins v Wales, and dominating a poor Scotland side, when so much more was hoped and perhaps even promised 12-18 months ago.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 8:05 pm

Well, let's wait for the game.  Let's see how Ireland play.  Then, if NZ wins, let's see what they do from there on.  Let's see if they get past England (if England it is) and let's see what they do in a final and to who.

2019 has not been a vintage year for Ireland so far.  Was it ever meant to be?  Were they trying to win that Slam?  It's a WC year.  Wales needed the psychological booster of a good 6N to prep them for the WC.  Ireland had come off a great year for them and didn't really need the 6N to be psychologically ready to believe they had the drive to do well in a WC.

Wales might win the WC.  Good for them.  Ireland might also win it.  

If they go out against NZ at the weekend, depending on performance, no it won't be a wasted year, or a disappointing year.  It'll be the end of our shot at the WC, after meeting the number 1 side in the world before a final.  Doesn't matter how the earlier part of the year might have gone, that would still be the simple equation - we had a chance of meeting NZ in a quarter final.  The rest of you bar Scotland didn't.  There was always more of a likelihood that our WC would end sooner due to meeting such a ...well, habitually exceptional rugby team.
So no...no heads bowed if we lose honourably, by making them fight furiously to get the win.

But the game hasn't been played yet.  And certainly no premature white flag from me.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 8:17 pm

I'd pick mostly Leinster players and have former Leinster players now playing for Munster and Ulster on the bench. Leinster are by the far the best at developing internationals.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 8:37 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:I'd pick mostly Leinster players and have former Leinster players now playing for Munster and Ulster on the bench. Leinster are by the far the best at developing internationals.

That's the conundrum though. Ireland never wants to play like Leinster. Maybe Farrell, Catt might finally give it a go.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 10:14 pm

Not if you play a mostly Leinster Ireland team. With Best out of the equation post-RWC that is one less pivotal position that isn't filled by a Leinsterman. McGrath and Sexton fill the other most pivotal positions. Not sure if Toner will get a recall, but surely an outside option. Dropping POM is the easiest decision but Beirne should go to 6, plus he's technically a ladyboy right? Smile

Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, Beirne, VDF, Conan - McGrath, Sexton, Stockdale, Henshaw, Ringrose, Earls, Larmour.
Subs: Scannell, Kilcoyne, Porter, Henderson, Stander, Murray, Carberry, Anyone O'else.
Shout outs to former ladies in McGrath, Moore and Murphy - now of Ulster.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 2:04 pm

When a new coach come's into a team he would normally clear out the old guard as they call it. How many of this Ireland squad will survive on to the 6ns?

Apart from Rory Best(retiring)

Should the like's of Johnny Sexton, Rob Kerney, Connor Murray be axed as well. Each one seems to be past their best. 

Who else shpuld go?

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Post by BigGee on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 2:18 pm

You could probably name a lot of the over 30s in the Irish side who are not quite the players they were a few years ago.

In all honesty he wants to be thinking about which players will be coming back to play in the WC in 4 years time. That does not mean you have to bin them all in one go, the ones that don't make their own decisions, but you do have to go through that process.

The WC cycle dictates international rugby now and it will be on the minds of all the international coaches who are, or come into place over the next year or so.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 2:30 pm

Kearney is gone.  He's a one-game per series player at this point if even that.  He just doesn't have the engine for white hot game after game anymore.  His experience is outweighed by his non-threat in attack.

Sexton, probably jaded playing Ireland's game.  Always struck me as frustrated by our style but his loyalty to Schmidt kept him obedient to it.  It's a four year cycle.  He had his shots at it.  It hasn't worked out.  He won't be there again in four years.  At this point, Farrell must begin looking at full time replacements.  Whoever it is, or whichever players are competing for the 10 at the next WC, should now be getting most games, starting with the 6N.

Conor Murray.  Can still be very good in a grinder against midrange sides.  But his natural cruise workrate is too slow.  Even today, you look at his body language and there was just no urgency there to get his troops pumped even as we were being destroyed.  You have to meet the intensity offered you by your opponent.  We need to go back to more natural hot blooded, smaller, faster instinct driven 9s.

Earls - for me, and there'll be roars of derision - becoming more known now for his last gasp speed in defence rather than his lethality in attack.  Just not there anymore as a go-to first rate attacking option.  You can blame our gameplan, fine.  Blame the gameplan for much of our impotency in attack but still I'd have Conway all day as a more robust, heads up option.

There are some more that I'd be feeling ruthless about now ....in a calm way.  Not anger, just common sense now to be honest about the qualities needed to compete with the best - regularly - and the limits of players that have reached a level but struggle beyond it.

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 2:46 pm

Don’t know what you will do with sexton. In the same way Scotland need Russell, if sexton has a bad game or isn’t playing then Ireland have a bad game.

Another player who hasn’t been pulled up is stockdale. He’s had some really awful performances since his blazing form in previous 6ns. Today was another example where his defence was really bad. Two NZ tries came from terrible play from him.
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Post by theslosty on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 3:14 pm

Agreed Stockdale has been muck ever since he dropped that try vs Leinster. Earls has had a poor tournament as well but he'll probably look great again as soon as he returns for Munster. Our gameplan just doesn't put him in any space. Conway deserved to be in the 23 at least today. Larmour has done well and I'm sure will have a fine career but I no longer think he's the Irish Christian Cullen as he looked like 12-18 months ago.

Not particularly optimistic with Farrell at the helm. Would rather Ireland just started this new cycle totally afresh. It's a shame Connacht couldn't hold onto Pat Lam as someone like that would have been ideal.

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Post by whocares on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 3:59 pm

Do you all expect Ireland to start a fresh 2-8-9-10-15 axis in next 6N ? Exciting times ahead if that’s true. I really like Carbery this year, not sure who’s going to be fill the next key positions.

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Post by theslosty on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 4:06 pm

I'd probably pick Scannell - Conan - Murray - Carbery/Carty - Larmour but as CJ, Sexton and Kearney still have 1/2 years left on their central contracts I imagine they'll stay involved.

My expectations are a bit lower for the next 4 years - I think we brought the best squad we've ever had to Japan but sadly couldn't manage to perform when it counted.
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Post by SecretFly on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 4:14 pm

theslosty wrote:great again as soon as he returns for Munster.


The team, the coaches, IRFU etc, all have their own issues to deal with.  But we fans/followers have our own issues.  And I think you touched on one of the main ones.  I think I've said exactly what I'm going to say now after each of the last two WCs.  We keep seeking to determine our best International players from Provincial exploits.

And the answer will be "well how else are you going to judge and choose our best selections for International?"

True.  You have to have the yardstick, a yardstick, any yardstick.  

But as we settle back down to watching Pro14 after the International windows, be they 6N, AIs or the WC, we all too quickly and willingly judge excellence in Provincial as our best bet at International.  But of course that actually proves not to be the case in the real world as Welsh teams prove.  They haven't exactly been making big histories for themselves either in Pro14 or in Europe.  And yet there are these Welsh players, who when they put on their International shirts, they become different beasts.  They can compete on all levels with the best.  They perform much higher than is expected of their exploits in Regional rugby.

The International coach really can't as yet use Regional as the yardstick so what has Gatland been using?  I'd probably think he's basing his views on actual International games AND training in International camp.  
The level at the peak of International is what it is (as we've found out yet again today).  You just have to try to establish conditions that meet that demanding environment.  Four or five games in a tight series of Internationals is a world of difference to two weeks on, two weeks rested for Pro14 games against Ospreys, Treviso or Edinburgh.  I think Gatland has always been so conscious of the uselessness of Pro14 exploits when rating players he needs with the resilience to punch hard in four of five straight Internationals one week after the next.

For me, Irish players over the years have proved skilled but not nearly resilient enough for weekly International combat.  So maybe it's time our International coaches changed the criteria they use.  Instead of the often well rested stars of Pro14, start choosing on headings of proven resilience, proven stamina rates week to week, players with big hearts that can withstand constant pressure and still turn up ready for more on Monday, players that do the hard stuff in training camp, rather than simply choosing the star that 'you know' is holding himself back in training to give more in actual games. Call the star's bluff - choose the trier.

We simply need to improve the 'type' of player we give to International.  All too often Ireland's efforts are predicated on trying to pace our intensity to get through a series.  We don't and currently can't give our all to four or five games in sequence because overall, our players prove they are not resilient enough.  Biggest change needed - tough players that can last the distance without dropping standards or intensity. I don't mean big, I don't mean strong. I mean tough - players with the physiology to take big hitting International games and bounce back the following week for more. THEN lay a good gameplan on their shoulders.

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Post by miaow on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 5:51 pm

Tough ask now for Farrell. No clean break from the old regime.

It wasn't really about the ABs game - although the gulf was really hammered home. No one's at the AB's or NZ's level in general. SA maybe 2nd, then England/France fighting it out for who underutilises their weatlh and population. France clearly 'winning' that fight...

It's about the last 12 months, the style of rugby, the lack of style and adaptability.

It's about doing a bit more with the players you have. If you build a game on control, pressure, possession, no mistakes, and choking the opposition - and then get met with that - it's little surprise when you're outclassed.

Ireland have some fine players - Lamour is great, but lots of players in that team can play invetive rugby. Beirne could - perhaps should - have been what Savea is to the ABs. Instead he's almost been a reluctant afterthought - cast out from Ireland, European player of the year overseas, and then middling success back home. He's got all the skills, as do other players, they need to be allowed to do what England have - both play it tight, but also play with a bit more intelligence and not necessarily 'creativity', but freedom.

Do Ireland suffer from Leinster's dominance? Similar to Wales in a way, lack of competition at domestic level doesn't prepare for test rugby - but this time it's too much is put on a 'plate', so to speak. Not sure what the answer is there - you're more likely to ruin things than improve if you go meddling.

Either way, rough, rough job for Farrell. Expect a backlash,but judge him in 2-3 years' time, and, of course, how Ireland do in 2023.

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Post by Taylorman on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 7:36 pm

I’ll maintain that I don’t think Farrell will make a successful head coach. First of all his expertise has been one...as an assistant coach, two, as a primarily defensive coach. He’s sat behind the scenes for a long time now and I think there’s a reason for that...he doesn’t see himself as head coach over his roles to date.

What Schmidt brought was primarily to give the Irish the belief that they could win, and that’s not just a coaching skill.

What Farrell will need to do is add more scope in attack to Ireland’s style and game plan. And Farrells expertise is in defence. He’s the acknowledged expert in that area.

Being able to maximise potential like Larmour will be key. Hopefully the ABs confirmed that in this day you just can’t have as limited a style as Ireland does to regularly compete for no. 1.

Good luck to him, but Ive my doubts about his transition to the main job.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 8:08 pm

Larmour is not the only Irish player that plays like Larmour outside Irish camp.  I mean Ireland International is the most 'boring', one dimensional, attritionally addicted component of rugby in Ireland.  I don't think most outside observers fully understand that.  The Provinces have their ups and downs, their loses and their wins, but mostly all of them play a much more ruthless, varied, faster and more 'positive' game.

Schmidt's philosophy, never fully or publically iterated, seems to have been that the Rugby of his Leinster side would not be sufficient to transfer to International.  So he shaved off all the extras that most sides use now at club and International, stripped it all back to basic ingredients and practically forced Irish players to use it and win with it.

Now finding arguments against this belief, if he held it, is difficult because he actually did find a lot of success with it.  So you're arguing against a philosophy that worked to a degree.

But I've always had a major problem with Joe's lack of faith in a version of rugby he used so effectively with Leinster.  And I was also probably annoyed that he had so little faith in players that were well able for a high tempo loose attacking game, that was multifaceted and kept opponents so busy trying to figure out which way the next Leinster attack phase would come; - so little faith in players that played such a game and topped Europe playing it that he'd suggest they couldn't transfer it to International.
I kept thinking he'd get there eventually and catch everyone off guard, but nope, he never had faith in coaching players who play a much faster game at club level to mimic their more natural weekly efforts at International.

Always the strangest aspect of Joe.  Hopefully one day in interview or in a book, he'll honestly explain that lack of faith in the very thing Leinster players invited him to Ireland for.

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Post by Taylorman on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 8:25 pm

Yes I’ve noticed and have heard that as well, especially after seeing some of Leinsters matches. I think it’s simply this. I think he’s chosen the template that will best give Ireland’s results, given his available resources, and the opposition he deals with. He found success against NZ that way and that’s what he’s paid to do as the core part of his role...win.

It’s no point trying to take the ABs on with an attacking style that isn’t going to be done with players that don’t have the same or better skillsets and Im afraid the Kearney, Earls etc are not at that level from an attacking sense.

He’s won through strict formula that’s given him consistency that was never there before.

But he’s gone now and clearly that needs to change. Is Farrell capable of not only taking over, but also developing a more balanced style of play?

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Post by Maine man on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 8:29 pm

Team I'd like to see starting in 2020 if fit:
Kilcoyne, Scannell, Furlong, Ryan, Henderson, Ruddock, Leavy, Stander, Murray, Carberry, Larmour, Henshaw, Ringrose, Conway, Addison.
The team I think we'll see:
Healy, Scannell, Furlong, Ryan, Henderson, POM, Leavy, Stander, Murray, Sexton, Stockdale, Henshaw Ringrose, Earls, Kearney.
Maybe I'm just being pessimistic after today but I can't see much change under Farrell.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 8:38 pm

I think the trouble with Ireland. is what use to the trouble with England, untill that is Eddie Jones came along and changed every thing.

Ireland had a certain amount of player who was in the team/squad and no one else could get a foot in the door. win a game or lose a game the same players was all ways there.

Eddie Jones came in to the England set up and started putting pressure on players by bringing other players in the position.( If you wan't to be in the team/squad) prove it.

By bring in player's tweaking the squad and dropping those that was not on form it made England stronger and a better team than they was before he came in.

What i am trying to say is that Ireland kept too much to the old players and did not bring the squad up to date.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 8:47 pm

Taylorman wrote:Yes I’ve noticed and have heard that as well, especially after seeing some of Leinsters matches. I think it’s simply this. I think he’s chosen the template that will best give Ireland’s results, given his available resources, and the opposition he deals with. He found success against NZ that way and that’s what he’s paid to do as the core part of his role...win.

It’s no point trying to take the ABs on with an attacking style that isn’t going to be done with players that don’t have the same or better skillsets and Im afraid the Kearney, Earls etc are not at that level from an attacking sense.

He’s won through strict formula that’s given him consistency that was never there before.

But he’s gone now and clearly that needs to change. Is Farrell capable of not only taking over, but also developing a more balanced style of play?

Not my point about trying to mimic the ABs.  It's simply about trying to play to the more natural strengths of players that aren't built like SA giants.  

Playing a potent attacking game, better than any side in Europe for quite a period, and still playing it potently enough today, is not claiming to be able to beat NZ at their own game but simply saying Irish players are genuinely as able to play a loose, offloading game as their Scottish neighbours ( who play it), their Welsh neighbours (who can play it), their English neighbours (who use the bonus of some monster line breakers to play it).  Why should we hang our head and pretend because we're Irish, we can't play it.  The proof is that we can.  And I'm not even saying Schmidt brought it with him.  He didn't.  Leinster for example always played more adventurous rugby.  

Joe simply should have had more faith to add Leinster's more natural rhythms to his other demands of dogged defence and collision addiction.  We can be a more wholesome side by keeping the good bits and adding ingredients that aren't a luxury but a necessity to compete at the highest levels.  And despite today's result we do intend continuing to compete at the highest levels Wink

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Post by miaow on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 8:53 pm

Agree with your final point maj, it's one of the few fundamental mistakes Ireland made, I feel - all about consolidating, as I said, and not building with unitary focus. In the end, this final 12 months felt like the building process - the mistakes that would be learnt from. But it wasn't. Not enough in the end. Too many old heads. All respect to the likes of Best, Kearney, even Sexton potentially, but you cannot limp over the line in WCs anymore. I feel NZ won almost in spite of Carter and McCaw 4 years ago - or in spite of their fitness, at least. Their quality bridged the gap and they had their moments. If you're playing a game at a tempo and in a style that fits the old boys, eventually it will come unstuck. You can be a master in 3rd gear, but some players - and I've played with them - as soon as it gets to a pace beyond what they're used to, they go to pieces. It's not that different at pro level, world class players becoming ordinary when pushed out of their comfort zone.

England have done it. Ireland didn't, apart from Toner. You have to accept when too old is too old, too slow is too slow. I feel Wales are possibly risking it with AWJ - who does get physically dominated in contact - and Parkes, who surely only has a couple more test matches in him. But to have several, like Ireland - it just proved too much, and once teams honed in on a RWC tempo, Ireland's old boys didn't like it.

Physicality and pace is like 60% of rugby, at any level. Asking mid to late 30s Irishmen to compete in a RWC was a key error, but in general, I do feel Schmidt simply micromanaged too much. That would be my biggest criticism. Huge task for Farrell to learn Head Coaching on the job, and change the culture to allow freedom - which then produces creativity. Not sure he's that man tbh.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 8:59 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:

What i am trying to say is that Ireland kept too much to the old players and did not bring the squad up to date.

Fair comment and correct.  The changes that have been made at times were never given enough time to bed down and prove their point.  Which in a sense hints that Joe was never serious about believing in the ability of alternatives to take the place of his favourites.  Now I will say injury forced his hand with some options when he did seem to have faith in the new, for example Conan and Leavy.

But I might go further than you, and suggest Joe committed a cardinal sin in coaching.  He became sentimental about certain players.  He wished them a fairytale ending and he overlooked current limitations in them to keep selecting them for these special games.  He just must have been seeing the lack of form in his training field stats, and other targets that are scientifically calibrated.  But he still perhaps placed regard for individuals above the requirements of the team... somehow thinking they just might do it one more time.

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Post by Taylorman on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 9:30 pm

Case in point, Larmour. Should have started. He’s clearly better than the incumbent in terms of potential. No time for sentiments at this tournament. Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty have been ten year servants to AB rugby, yet Hansen was prepared to drop both right out to risk what he thought were better options, even if as yet unproven.

I hope Schmidt’s not given out any caps here for ‘services rendered’.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 19 Oct 2019, 9:34 pm

Secretfly.

If you look at England when Eddie Jones first took over. We had Dylan Heartley, Chris Robshaw, Jame's Haskell, In the squad and i for one did not think their was any one better than those named.

But then along came Jamie George, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, and  those above have not been in the team squad since.

What i did not understand from an Ireland view is was their no one in Ireland who could come in for the likes of Rory Best, Peter O'marney. Rob Kerny.

No offence to Rory Best he as been a solid player for Ireland, but in all honesty he is like an (old age pensioner ) compared to the likes Jamie George, Luke Cowan Dickie.

I do hope Ireland do come back a stronger team for the 6ns. 

But not too strong. kiss

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Post by theslosty on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 2:18 am

In fairness to Joe whilst he's clearly got a few things wrong this year I've not really hugely disagreed with his selections. Yes he was a rather conservative selector in the last WC cycle but he has pushed through the likes of Porter, Ryan, vdF, Leavy, Ringrose and Stockdale even when I felt they weren't quite ready for Test rugby.

Did O'Mahony or Best let the team down? They were probably 2 of the better performers, admittedly it was a low bar. You have a point with England though, Ireland dispatched them at Twickenham in 2018 but since then they've really strengthened with Sinckler, Curry, Underhill and Tuilagi.

Honestly I'm not seeing Larmour as the great white hope that others do. Yes he has a step but he doesn't have enough straight line speed. Stockdale is still the most exciting talent but he's gone from being a world class potent winger to a total liability in the space of 6 months.

As for Leinster, has anyone watched them recently? With the exception of the mercurial James Lowe, I don't think they've played a hugely different brand of rugby to Ireland. It's still based on ball retention and fast rucks, it's just a bit easier t9 pull off at club level. I'd be critical of the style of rugby Joe's enforced but in his defence only Connacht of the 4 provinces play with real elan and width and there were none of their representatives today.
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Post by Pie on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 3:55 am

I wouldn't wish Ireland on anyone right now and I predict numerous steps backward next 2 years

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 10:22 am

theslosty wrote:In fairness to Joe whilst he's clearly got a few things wrong this year I've not really hugely disagreed with his selections. Yes he was a rather conservative selector in the last WC cycle but he has pushed through the likes of Porter, Ryan, vdF, Leavy, Ringrose and Stockdale even when I felt they weren't quite ready for Test rugby.

Did O'Mahony or Best let the team down? They were probably 2 of the better performers, admittedly it was a low bar. You have a point with England though, Ireland dispatched them at Twickenham in 2018 but since then they've really strengthened with Sinckler, Curry, Underhill and Tuilagi.

Honestly I'm not seeing Larmour as the great white hope that others do. Yes he has a step but he doesn't have enough straight line speed. Stockdale is still the most exciting talent but he's gone from being a world class potent winger to a total liability in the space of 6 months.

As for Leinster, has anyone watched them recently? With the exception of the mercurial James Lowe, I don't think they've played a hugely different brand of rugby to Ireland. It's still based on ball retention and fast rucks, it's just a bit easier t9 pull off at club level. I'd be critical of the style of rugby Joe's enforced but in his defence only Connacht of the 4 provinces play with real elan and width and there were none of their representatives today.

I have seen them recently and no way can anyone claim they play like Ireland.  I don't claim Leinster are dumb - in that they play with some mythic fantasy elan.  Elan alone is probably foolish in high level International.  They are multifaceted with the objective of creating space and tempo.
Ireland play nothing like Leinster  70% of the time.  When at their best, perhaps.  Their more usual tempo and threat, no.  And certainly this year... well they aren't playing like any of the Provinces.
Larmour has had more little jabs at him this WC than he's had praise as our GWH Wink.  It's only in the latter stages that some people have had to admit he wasn't as lightweight as they expected he'd be.  Did he do anything exceptional?  No.  He's playing in currently a pretty bad side form wise.  But he's more than held his own in it.  With a team with a more go forward philosophy (i.e. With more space to play with) he has potential to be PART of a successful brand.  Not a BOD.  We don't want anymore GWH BODs... we want a hatful of them Wink

We-simply-can-play-better-rugby.  And current Ireland International brand isn't it as 2018 was pointedly now a fluke year for consistency or maybe just a year when other sides were too busy preparing for 2019.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 11:14 am

Irelands back row has been poor this year. I think the clear out will start there. Move forward with Leavy, Conan and Ruddock or some super star 6 we havent discovered yet.

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