2020 And Beyond: Andy Farrell's Ireland

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

First topic message reminder :

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 Sun 27 Oct 2019, 3:01 pm

We'll just put the whole thing down to the Curse of the Binliners.... Wink

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 4:09 pm

SecretFly wrote:Our players looked spent.  They are not being correctly conditioning to meet the endless demands of standstill passing in the middle of the field.  Modifying the gameplans and changing our conditioning culture is not a luxury.  It's necessary.................... in my opinion.
Are there more demands from "standstill passing" than constantly supporting players right and left across the width of the pitch?
Japan's plan was to have a high tempo off-loading game, in their own conditions and with no domestic distractions for a year - yet they couldn't sustain it and their players looked spent against South Africa. If Ireland's conditioning isn't good enough for "standstill passing", how are they going to elevate it to a game requiring an even higher workrate?

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 4:28 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Our players looked spent.  They are not being correctly conditioning to meet the endless demands of standstill passing in the middle of the field.  Modifying the gameplans and changing our conditioning culture is not a luxury.  It's necessary.................... in my opinion.
Are there more demands from "standstill passing" than constantly supporting players right and left across the width of the pitch?
Japan's plan was to have a high tempo off-loading game, in their own conditions and with no domestic distractions for a year - yet they couldn't sustain it and their players looked spent against South Africa. If Ireland's conditioning isn't good enough for "standstill passing", how are they going to elevate it to a game requiring an even higher workrate?

Japan were actually sustained to a degree in individual games by the game they chose to play.  It takes energy yes...of course it does  - but in a sense it's a hybrid automobile as it also gives energy in adrenaline levels that it spikes.  This is not fantasy stuff but real science.  Men become faster and stronger in spurts when they can generate adrenaline to turbo charge the system.  It too sucks energy of course but it's complex because you can get your damage done without feeling the length of pain that is our 'stand still' model.  Our game commands energy but it gives little in the way of adrenaline generally.

Plus, as I've said early and everybody knows, it's a different energy because different forces apply.  You can get hit as hard playing the Japanese way (and I'm not advocating Japan's way! ) but you won't be getting hit as often.  You'll tire over 80 but you'll have saved yourself on a bulk of the collisions.  I think recovering from tired legs is easier than recovering from sore shoulders, arms, legs, necks etc.
We've proven it, our game demands a lot from players who struggle to service it at its best tempo (high) over a tight sequence of weeks playing against top sides.

My opinion, yet again, we need a gameplan that frees us somewhat from the demands of all the collisions we engage in...and a game that might feed some needed energy through adrenaline surges from flying pace.
Not Japan!  Variety...honed, trained, used.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 5:07 pm

Yeah but we need to be able to play the game plan you are suggesting. No matter what gameplan we had this WC it would have failed because the team wouldn't have been able to execute it. S.A. have got to a final off a very limited gameplan but they have done it to a pretty high standard consistently. Ireland could have achieved just as much had they managed to bottle what we did in 2018.Something changed in the squad that allowed standards to drop so low and gameplan had nothing to do with it.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 5:26 pm

SecretFly wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Our players looked spent.  They are not being correctly conditioning to meet the endless demands of standstill passing in the middle of the field.  Modifying the gameplans and changing our conditioning culture is not a luxury.  It's necessary.................... in my opinion.
Are there more demands from "standstill passing" than constantly supporting players right and left across the width of the pitch?
Japan's plan was to have a high tempo off-loading game, in their own conditions and with no domestic distractions for a year - yet they couldn't sustain it and their players looked spent against South Africa. If Ireland's conditioning isn't good enough for "standstill passing", how are they going to elevate it to a game requiring an even higher workrate?

Japan were actually sustained to a degree in individual games by the game they chose to play.  It takes energy yes...of course it does  - but in a sense it's a hybrid automobile as it also gives energy in adrenaline levels that it spikes.  This is not fantasy stuff but real science.  Men become faster and stronger in spurts when they can generate adrenaline to turbo charge the system.  It too sucks energy of course but it's complex because you can get your damage done without feeling the length of pain that is our 'stand still' model.  Our game commands energy but it gives little in the way of adrenaline generally.

Plus, as I've said early and everybody knows, it's a different energy because different forces apply.  You can get hit as hard playing the Japanese way (and I'm not advocating Japan's way! ) but you won't be getting hit as often.  You'll tire over 80 but you'll have saved yourself on a bulk of the collisions.  I think recovering from tired legs is easier than recovering from sore shoulders, arms, legs, necks etc.
We've proven it, our game demands a lot from players who struggle to service it at its best tempo (high) over a tight sequence of weeks playing against top sides.

My opinion, yet again, we need a gameplan that frees us somewhat from the demands of all the collisions we engage in...and a game that might feed some needed energy through adrenaline surges from flying pace.
Not Japan!  Variety...honed, trained, used.

Pundits regularly say that defence is more tiring than attack. If that's true Joe's possession model must make the opposition proportionately more tired than Ireland? If Ireland play a game that is less taxing on them, then logically it must also be less taxing on the opposition.
Ireland has twice the population of Jamaica but don't produce world class speedsters that have "flying pace", so is it easier for Ireland to produce players who can cope with the conditioning required for "standstill passing" or "flying pace"?

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 6:00 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:Yeah but we need to be able to play the game plan you are suggesting. No matter what gameplan we had this WC it would have failed because the team wouldn't have been able to execute it. S.A. have got to a final off a very limited gameplan but they have done it to a pretty high standard consistently. Ireland could have achieved just as much had they managed to bottle what we did in 2018.Something changed in the squad that allowed standards to drop so low and gameplan had nothing to do with it.

Could Ireland consistently have too much adrenaline when the RWC arrives every four years? Like a golfer taking a shorter club coming down the straight because of the extra adrenaline coursing through their veins, Ireland get to the World Cup with a game that could go far but don't account for the magnitude of the occasion? The calmness goes and so does the timing, penalties are accrued that normally aren't, decisions are taken to force plays rather than trust the tried and tested.
Hansen wasn't far wrong when he wondered how Ireland would cope with being hunted rather than being the hunter. As a nation Ireland is renowned for its craic, which is usually self-deprecating and as far away from arrogant as it's possible to get, so the idea of being a favourite rather than an underdog doesn't sit easily. Guys like Sexton aren't really liked because they are so self assured, and it is no oversight that Sexton only started his first game as captain in the twilight of his career. Compare a 'near to boiling' POM with an ice cold Tim Curry. Controlled passion is something that Ireland haven't learned to bottle and they don't have enough depth to pick guys for that quality alone.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 6:19 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:

Ireland has twice the population of Jamaica but don't produce world class speedsters that have "flying pace", so is it easier for Ireland to produce players who can cope with the conditioning required for "standstill passing" or "flying pace"?

You tell me.  But 'standstill' rugby
- even if we're good at it (don't forget some people in here believe that it's not even coached anyway... so few are actually advocating it),
- even if we have the conditioning for it (I personally don't believe we have in these big contests that require it to be repeated through four of five games in succession.)....  
- even if we're good at it and have players naturally better at it, it in't exactly cutting edge rugby that threatens many of the better sides anymore.  

Let's not forget 2018 was an exception year in terms of consistency, it wasn't a norm year consistency that's suddenly drooped.  2019 has been bad but 2018 wasn't the norm.  For some reason, players were able to sustain Joe's gameplan in the only way it can be effective...hard hits with impetus, punishing tempo...i.e., not the stand still stuff.

Probable burnout hit players serving the gameplan in Joe's final year?  Unfortunate timing?  We'll see what the future will bring.  We had a good run but I'm looking forward to see is there freshness about our approach.

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Post by profitius on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 9:08 pm

Some early front runners for Farrell's first squad.

1. Eric O'Sullivan, Loughman,
2. Kelleher,
3.
4. Wycherley,
5. Thornbury,
6. Deegan, Jack O'Donoghue,
7. Penney, Connors
8. Doris,
9. Blade, Casey, Gibson-Park
10. Burns, Conor Fitzgerald,
11. Shane Daly,
12. Robb, Hume
13. Tom Farrell, Goggin
14.
15. Haley, Keenan


One or two have one or two caps. Might have left a few form players out and it's early season still.
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Post by miaow on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 11:29 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Ireland has twice the population of Jamaica but don't produce world class speedsters that have "flying pace", so is it easier for Ireland to produce players who can cope with the conditioning required for "standstill passing" or "flying pace"?

Tbf Ireland's problems with pace relative to Jamaica are hardly population size-based. Demographic, yes - but not by numbers.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 6:52 am

miaow wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Ireland has twice the population of Jamaica but don't produce world class speedsters that have "flying pace", so is it easier for Ireland to produce players who can cope with the conditioning required for "standstill passing" or "flying pace"?

Tbf Ireland's problems with pace relative to Jamaica are hardly population size-based. Demographic, yes - but not by numbers.

The point is that Ireland don't produce sprinters. In the history of the Olympics Ireland have won one 'sprint' medal gold for Bob Tisdale in the 400m hurdles in 1932, near neighbours Scotland have made the podium (for men's events up to 400m) ten times.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 9:20 am

Until quite recently..... remarkable as it might seem given our island status, we didn't really produce rowers or sailers.  But interests change, funding changes and you find there are rowers and sailers there that can be brought to certain competitive levels.

We don't produce tennis players.  But who is to say if money and resources were really put into such discoveries that you wouldn't find more than one.  I'd bet that you would.   Just as you'd find we have more top grade cricketers in the country than we think IF the country actually had more of an interest in cricket.  But we don't so therefore you naturally think people with such skill sets wouldn't exist in numbers.

Back to rugby.  The only reason we don't produce sprinters ( and I'm not claiming world beaters but just normal sprinters fast enough to at least compete) is because we haven't produced them.  We produce mid distant, long distance and cross country because that's what our athletics structures have concentrated on.  It's also cheapish to produce when compared to sprinting.  All you need is a road or an old track around a GAA field.... or a field.
But even so, even if we were producing sprinters, why do we think they'd all be transferring over to rugby anyway?  Jamaica's rugby team ain't at the WC.
Rugby is rugby, and if we want to keep playing it at the top level, we simply have to admit to ourselves that it's getting faster through 80 minutes and that forwards have to be virtually now as mobile as backs.  That's just where rugby is going.  So whether we want to or not, we have to find players and conditioning expertise that gives us the ability to compete.  
The players don't have to be breaking sprint records, all they need is turns of speed, injections of pace through sequences in an 80 minute game plus modern rugby skills.  Enough of them and we compete.  It's simple.  We don't produce or find them, and we don't compete.  I trust we'll compete into the next few decades. So I trust we'll find suitable players and systems.

One last thing.  Smart management of energy consumption.  Just was reading comments from an English player praising his generals on the field for placing them in the right positions AND giving them spaces to catch breathers.  No player can go for the full 80.  Wise teams are pacing but pacing smarter.

Anyway.....the glass really is half full....honestly Wink - I'm excited about the possibilities for the Farrell years.

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Post by rodders on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 9:49 am

Collapse2005 wrote:Leinster beat Zebre 3-0 last night. Future is bright.

I'd have taken that over the ABs in fairness.

I think there is far too much doom and gloom. England, SA, Wales and NZ have raised the bar but we haven't become bad over night.

I think we've become a victim of our own success this season, we were never as good as we appeared in 2018 and we're not as bad as people are making out now.

In 2004 we dealt England their first defeat as World champions maybe history is destined to repeat itself soon...
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Post by Collapse2005 on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 9:54 am

I think we were good in 2018 but you have to constantly improve and evolve to stay good and we didnt. It must be hard for players to do that.

Same happened to England, they were great when Jones took over, had a huge dip in 18 and have now bounced back. Lucky for them it happened at the right time for them.

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Post by rodders on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 10:20 am

Collapse2005 wrote:I think we were good in 2018 but you have to constantly improve and evolve to stay good and we didnt. It must be hard for players to do that.

Same happened to England, they were great when Jones took over, had a huge dip in 18 and have now bounced back. Lucky for them it happened at the right time for them.

Yes was thinking the same, if the RWC was last season we'd have been right in it.

I think we didn't deal well with the expectations last seasons results brought us, which is understandable as it was something our player weren't used to.
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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 12:02 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
miaow wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Ireland has twice the population of Jamaica but don't produce world class speedsters that have "flying pace", so is it easier for Ireland to produce players who can cope with the conditioning required for "standstill passing" or "flying pace"?

Tbf Ireland's problems with pace relative to Jamaica are hardly population size-based. Demographic, yes - but not by numbers.

The point is that Ireland don't produce sprinters. In the history of the Olympics Ireland have won one 'sprint' medal  gold for Bob Tisdale in the 400m hurdles in 1932, near neighbours Scotland have made the podium (for men's events up to 400m) ten times.

Start bringing in more migrants and you'll reap the rewards in 15-20 years' time. Not sure how many white Scottish sprinters there have been at the Olympics in the last...pfffft...40 or 50 years? But my guess is not too many of the 10...

Stockdale looks pacey, but there isn't enough speed in the Irish team, you are correct. If you look at England's flair/fast players, 1 is 'white' in Jonny May, the rest are not - Joe C, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson. You could probably add Daly in there for fairness, but Nowell is a jinker, not a pace merchant. So 2/5 of the English 'sprinters' aren't white, despite an overwhelming percentage of rugby players in England being white.

There's your answer, if you want one. Look at the 7s, look at the quickest players in the game. Look at NZ and how many of their out and out wingers have been Fijian? Rokocoko, Sivivatu, Naholo, now Reece. Add the power of Samoan/Tongan heritage wingers - Lomu, Savea - and you have pace and power. SA? Obviously the increasingly enfranchisement of the majority 'black' - and of course different cultures and tribes within that racial 'class' - players as the sport/country changes will help, but has there been a white SA'n winger since Habana? Can't think of one.

Considering England has a population more than 10x that of Ireland, might be a good area to start prioritising, as you can't rely on a Stockdale here or there to get by.

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Post by lostinwales on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 12:37 pm

miaow wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
miaow wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Ireland has twice the population of Jamaica but don't produce world class speedsters that have "flying pace", so is it easier for Ireland to produce players who can cope with the conditioning required for "standstill passing" or "flying pace"?

Tbf Ireland's problems with pace relative to Jamaica are hardly population size-based. Demographic, yes - but not by numbers.

The point is that Ireland don't produce sprinters. In the history of the Olympics Ireland have won one 'sprint' medal  gold for Bob Tisdale in the 400m hurdles in 1932, near neighbours Scotland have made the podium (for men's events up to 400m) ten times.

Start bringing in more migrants and you'll reap the rewards in 15-20 years' time. Not sure how many white Scottish sprinters there have been at the Olympics in the last...pfffft...40 or 50 years? But my guess is not too many of the 10...

Stockdale looks pacey, but there isn't enough speed in the Irish team, you are correct. If you look at England's flair/fast players, 1 is 'white' in Jonny May, the rest are not - Joe C, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson. You could probably add Daly in there for fairness, but Nowell is a jinker, not a pace merchant. So 2/5 of the English 'sprinters' aren't white, despite an overwhelming percentage of rugby players in England being white.

There's your answer, if you want one. Look at the 7s, look at the quickest players in the game. Look at NZ and how many of their out and out wingers have been Fijian? Rokocoko, Sivivatu, Naholo, now Reece. Add the power of Samoan/Tongan heritage wingers - Lomu, Savea - and you have pace and power. SA? Obviously the increasingly enfranchisement of the majority 'black' - and of course different cultures and tribes within that racial 'class' - players as the sport/country changes will help, but has there been a white SA'n winger since Habana? Can't think of one.

Considering England has a population more than 10x that of Ireland, might be a good area to start prioritising, as you can't rely on a Stockdale here or there to get by.

Alan Wells.

(The wonderfully named Elliot Bunney is also worth a mention)


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 12:42 pm

James Lowe is available imminently isn't he?

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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 12:49 pm

Alan Wells - so 1 of the 10? Wasn't that the Olympics the Americans boycotted? In any case, it's still a pretty simple, even obvious, point I'm making.

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Post by rodders on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 2:19 pm

miaow wrote:
Stockdale looks pacey, but there isn't enough speed in the Irish team, you are correct. If you look at England's flair/fast players, 1 is 'white' in Jonny May, the rest are not - Joe C, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson. You could probably add Daly in there for fairness, but Nowell is a jinker, not a pace merchant. So 2/5 of the English 'sprinters' aren't white, despite an overwhelming percentage of rugby players in England being white.

Yeah I do agree Ireland have a lack of strike runners but I think that is a small part of the issue. The main is creation of and ability to use space.

England have a solid platform up front, with an abundance of huge ball carriers, the Vainapolos, Tuilagi, Sinckler, Itoje which not only gets them easliy over the gainline, it allows them to suck defenses narrow and creates space for the likes of May, Watson, Daily etc. then inside you have great distributors like Farrell and Ford able to shift the ball at great speed.

I guarantee if you put Ringrose, Stockdale, Earls, Larmour, Conway...even Kearney on the outside of that and they would put a lot of scores away too.

Ireland's ball has been so slow and static this season from phase play, add to the fact Sexton doesn't attract defenders as much as he used to, it has made life very difficult for our outside backs.
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Post by sensisball on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 2:29 pm

Wyndham Halswelle, London 1908: Gold, 400 m

Eric Liddell, Paris 1924: Gold, 400m (world record time) and Bronze, 200m.

David Jenkins (convicted steroid supplier), Munich 1972: Silver, 400m relay.

These are the only Olympic sprint medals for Scots I could find.

Not bad for one of the unhealthiest countries in the western world!
I don't think we will see the likes of Wells again though.

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Post by lostinwales on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 2:40 pm

miaow wrote:...
Stockdale looks pacey, but there isn't enough speed in the Irish team, you are correct. If you look at England's flair/fast players, 1 is 'white' in Jonny May, the rest are not - Joe C, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson. You could probably add Daly in there for fairness, but Nowell is a jinker, not a pace merchant. So 2/5 of the English 'sprinters' aren't white, despite an overwhelming percentage of rugby players in England being white.
...

I'd bet both Joseph and Watson are from a mixed race background. Their running speed may have nothing to do with their skin colour.

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Post by theslosty on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 2:59 pm

"We aren't as bad as being made out" and "we haven't become a bad team overnight" - is that not exactly what happened? We shipped 4 hammerings and lost to a Tier 2 nation in one year, there's no getting around it was an atrocious season. People are talking about gameplans and skills development and whatnot but the immediate focus for the IRFU must be to find out what on earth happened to cause performances to fall off a cliff. The 2018 gameplan may not have been enough to win this RWC but no strategy would have salvaged our results this year. Players were suddenly making such basic errors, we were lacking physicality and aggression and the defence was oftentimes non-existent. Yes we need to evolve our attack in particular but it's a long way down the list in terms of things that went wrong in 2019.

Schmidt still leaves a great legacy but this forum is talking as if we went as far as we could and the ABs were a step too far but in reality it was one of the worst years Ireland have had that I can remember.
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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 3:14 pm

Yes, they are mixed race - hence not 'white'.

Don't want to get too hung up on race - it comes across as uncomfortable at the best of times - but the way rugby is going, that extra yard of pace is increasingly crucial between being world class and ordinary, having a test career and not, being champions or not.

Look at Beauden Barrett - would he be as good as he is without his searing, top level pace? Absolutely not. Does it matter that he's white? Nope.

The point I'm also making - and it relates to Scotland in terms of sprinting - is that globalism is seeing a huge rise in living standards in poorer parts of the world. Nutrition, health, culture etc - it all combines to maximise natural ability.

Ireland is already a 'developed' nation, for want of a better word. And they cannot produce really, searingly quick rugby players. Part of that may be structural, but part of it is genetic. By and large, 'white' people are middling or even poor in terms of pace, and seemingly lose it quicker than other 'races' as well. The Chinese are absolutely putting loads of effort in to losing the idea of Asians (Chinese in particular) being 'small' - the average height has increased massively in the last 50 years as nutrition has improved and the middle class has boomed as well. It's like the Dutch (and the British) - malnourished in the C19th and generally seen as too small, the Dutch are now, I believe, the tallest nation on earth?

Perhaps the flipside to that is that Europe - particularly the West - is too unhealthy in a different way now. It doesn't maximise the likes of Beauden Barrett's talent. There are fast runners out there - I know many from primary and seconday school - but they simply don't do anything with it, the pathways aren't there, they don't stand out. There is also a very explicit and deliberate bias, particularly in football, towards black players for athleticism in the scouting and academy systems, to the detriment of South Asian footballers in particular. Is this also based in truth though? Yes. Stereotypes often have at least some truth to them, although damaging. By and large as well, in my experience, the fastest kids I went to school/played with were the non-white ones - who were also a tiny minority.

Now on the topic of mixed races - well there's probably, in theory, the 'best' of all worlds when you have enough kids over a large enough sample size...someone's going to come out with the genetic elements that give them the 'best' elements that manifest most commonly in different 'races' like durability, muscle length, bone density, size, whatever. But then that gets in to the idea that traits of race are fundamental to skin colour, and it all gets a bit murky and messy, and it's not the point I want to make at all. But the melting pot of a place like London alone, a city of easily 8 million people - if England tap in to even some of that they have the potential to surpass NZ. South Africa likewise, but perhaps to a lesser extent, as it's a less attractive place to emigrate to. It's disrespectful to put it all down to 'genetics' but it does relate to physical ability, and by and large - particularly when it comes to speed - it's the physical potential that aids rugby playing ability overall. You don't get to be Beauden Barrett without a good system as well, but pace has helped him immensely, and makes him a far more dangerous player for it.

But basically, yeah - the Samoans and Tongans and Fijians (and Maoris) are about 1000 years of a combo of vaguely Asian and African migration - which you can still see in how they look), the absolute fittest, healthiest, strongest men surviving the voyage to the Pacific, and then thriving on a protein rich diet and tough life of some farming mixed with hunting. Compare that to 1000 or even 5000 years of civilisation in Europe and Asia respectively, and the issues that come with that as well as the mere chance of which genes flourished in those places, and you get the Islanders who are built almost perfectly for rugby - the Fijians retaining more obvious pace, and the Tongas/Samoans relying more on power and size.

So how does that relate to Ireland? Well, you're not the biggest 'people' in the world - and also not the quickest. So that's the point I'm making. You can only do so much with the people you have - Japan found a way to play the game that works for them, but they still needed a few imports in the boilerhouse and a few Islanders in their team as well (and mixed race heritage players helped, too). Japan's average height in the not too distant past was 5'2" I read recently. They cannot play like South Africa or France or England. So can Ireland play like the Ireland of old, or - and here's the crucial part - play a game that works within Ireland itself and hope for the best? Because the 7s circuit proves - Wales, Ireland, and Scotland are some way off the Fijis, South Africas, USAs etc. of this world.

This point ties right back in to Ireland trying to imitate NZ by keeping everything 'in house' - central contracts, have to play for a province, domestic form rewarded with test caps. But that only works in NZ because they are vastly better and more competitive and meritocratic than anywhere else in the world when it comes to rugby, but also because they have a mixed race population. DMac and Barrett and everyone else HAD to compete and flourish among the bigger, early developing Maori boys (which is why they do weight categorisation) - they had to learn to tackle them, had to learn compete and beat them. That's partly why it is so, so rare to see NZ get outgunned in any position - and why the NH teams can get caught out up against Islander teams as they're just not used to the pace and physicality. If you insist on being an insular country when it comes to rugby, then you need to make sure your internal standards and structures are right at the top, highly competitive, and will actually prepare you for test rugby.

If you look at it dispassionately, if rugby became a truly global sport, the 'Celtic' countries would have a similar standing to what they have in football, with only England near the top of the game. Are Ireland going to mitigate what is a disadavantage in terms of population health/size/genetic disposition? And if so, how? Generally speaking, the really fast players in the NH tend to be donkeys - Cuthbert, May before he became good, Stockdale has flattered to deceive and is showing fundamental flaws to his game. The game at lower levels is still too much about 'give it to the strong/fast boy and let him get us going forward' instead of just playing the game for what it is, and developing skills in every player in every way.

In terms of pace and speed, I can't see how Ireland will ever compete as the game goes global tbh.

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Post by profitius on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 3:26 pm

miaow wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
miaow wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Ireland has twice the population of Jamaica but don't produce world class speedsters that have "flying pace", so is it easier for Ireland to produce players who can cope with the conditioning required for "standstill passing" or "flying pace"?

Tbf Ireland's problems with pace relative to Jamaica are hardly population size-based. Demographic, yes - but not by numbers.

The point is that Ireland don't produce sprinters. In the history of the Olympics Ireland have won one 'sprint' medal  gold for Bob Tisdale in the 400m hurdles in 1932, near neighbours Scotland have made the podium (for men's events up to 400m) ten times.

Start bringing in more migrants and you'll reap the rewards in 15-20 years' time. Not sure how many white Scottish sprinters there have been at the Olympics in the last...pfffft...40 or 50 years? But my guess is not too many of the 10...

Stockdale looks pacey, but there isn't enough speed in the Irish team, you are correct. If you look at England's flair/fast players, 1 is 'white' in Jonny May, the rest are not - Joe C, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson. You could probably add Daly in there for fairness, but Nowell is a jinker, not a pace merchant. So 2/5 of the English 'sprinters' aren't white, despite an overwhelming percentage of rugby players in England being white.

There's your answer, if you want one. Look at the 7s, look at the quickest players in the game. Look at NZ and how many of their out and out wingers have been Fijian? Rokocoko, Sivivatu, Naholo, now Reece. Add the power of Samoan/Tongan heritage wingers - Lomu, Savea - and you have pace and power. SA? Obviously the increasingly enfranchisement of the majority 'black' - and of course different cultures and tribes within that racial 'class' - players as the sport/country changes will help, but has there been a white SA'n winger since Habana? Can't think of one.

Considering England has a population more than 10x that of Ireland, might be a good area to start prioritising, as you can't rely on a Stockdale here or there to get by.


There are different types of speed. Look at BOD for example. Lightening fast over a short distance yet had a low top speed.


Shane Williams was one of the fastest players of the professional era because he had a great step and acceleration. Wasn't slow in terms of top speed but you'll find many top wingers who have a higher top speed yet wouldn't be half as effective as Williams because of his type of speed.


Part of it is timing. When to time your run and where to be. Kind of like a good goal poacher in soccer. Chris Ashton being a good example as well as Stockdale.


And if you want an example of speed not being everything, 2 words. Carlin Isles. It's important but I wouldn't get hung up about it.
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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 3:34 pm

Agree with that, but also, the way the game is going, Shane and even BOD would be less effective these days. That's sort of my point. The 7s circuit is a great indication where outside back play and skills and physical needs are going in terms of ball in hand play and finishing. For every Carlin Isles, there's an Olympic-winning Fijian 7s team that goes on to play for the best clubs in Europe at XVs and becomes a really quality test team.

NZ tried it early - Goodhue at 13, Barrett 15, then two pacey wingers. Nearly worked, but they got the balance wrong in the end. Ireland...almost the complete opposite. Kearney too slow, Earls not quick enough to mitigate his lack of size/strength, Henshaw/Ringrose/Farrell - none of them quick. Just average in pace. Even Conway, who I like, also suffers from some other skills, and doesn't have that real excrutiatingly quick 'give him the ball on the outside and he'll score 99 times out of 100' pace that Jonny May has...and because he's small, that's more of an issue that if he wasn't.

3 main attributes as I see it in backs play: footballing ability (the brains, the hands, the skills, reading of the game); strength and size and power and durability (bump people off); and searing out and out pace. If you don't have one exceptional element of those 3, you're going to struggle - or, if you have one particularly weak point, you'll get exploited. Which makes for tough standards. But that's what's needed.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 3:38 pm

Speed of thought is still more important than speed of leg. Both of course is best.

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Post by rodders on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 3:39 pm

theslosty wrote:"We aren't as bad as being made out" and "we haven't become a bad team overnight" - is that not exactly what happened? We shipped 4 hammerings and lost to a Tier 2 nation in one year, there's no getting around it was an atrocious season.

I mean this is the problem, it wasn't atrocious, just below our previous seasons standard, which were exceptional.

We lost to England twice, once in a warm up. England may indeed be world champions and just demolished the ABs in a similar fashion to us. Aside from that we lost away to a good Welsh side who won the GS and reached a RWC SF and narrowly to the host nation in very tough conditions.

Clearly that is not great but last season we could have lost to France in Paris and just scraped a series win in Australia. If either of those go a different way it puts a different slant on things.

In both 2016 and 2017 we've only won 3 games in the 6N and finished 3rd, so maybe 2018 was the anomaly, where everything has gone really well for us and this season has been a painful correction.

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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 3:43 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Speed of thought is still more important than speed of leg. Both of course is best.

This man wouldn't have a rugby career if that were true. I'm not even saying that to be churlish, I mean it. There's nothing more powerful in a ball game than pace - and as rugby is about running with the ball more than something like football, it's only now we're realising how important pace is 1-15 without scrummaging lke Australians.



Not wanting to make this about just one thing - nor Wales - looking back to the recent past on the pace issue, and speed of thought, and even something like this relied on the old bounce of the ball, that good old 50:50 that is just pure luck and percentage play, which is at the heart of British and Irish sport. Yes, Horgan was a big winger for his time, but lightninh quick he was not - he didn't finish the first outside break with Moody on his inside, but had the power to stay up and ride Moody's tackle to score.



If you then compare to the way the game has gone - and it's tough to use this example - but the thumping at Twickenham shows how the raw skills and mentality of the Irish is lagging behind England. And it's not good enough to just imitate them - it's about finding a way to really maximise what are 'Irish' specific skills - is it kicking, is it the aerial game, is it counter attacking, is it perfecting or improving the odds of percentage plays. But it would be good to also find pacey players.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 3:49 pm

Except Cuthbert's career stalled and died because the only thing he had was pace.

Oh do not get me wrong, pace is important - but not the only thing.

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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 4:04 pm

Yep, not doubting that for one moment. Definitely not the only thing - but it is becoming a semi-requirement in every position, and for outside backs, 13-15, wings in particular, searing 40-60m speed is vital.

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Post by rodders on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 4:09 pm

Wales won a GS and narrowly missed out on a RWC final spot with a fairly pedestrian back line.
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Post by miaow on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 4:18 pm

Exactly. Internal competition that failed once they came up against the bulk of the South Africans.

I would still say, though, that Wales have at least one more 'pace merchant' in Adams, along with North, than Ireland have, even if Adams isn't quite up there with the very quickest. He's still quick enough and his tries show that. But basics - strength and pace - did get exposed against Australia, and the point is, we had the gameplan - honed over a decade - to make the most of that. We mitigated our weaknesses while still playing to some of our strengths (the idea of Welsh 'flair' has all but gone in the last 10 years, at most levels of the game) - Ireland took a different route and were too limited, too rigid in their tactics to do the same. So when it got found out - it got found out. That's sport. Time to have another go.

If you added in peak Shane Williams to Wales either this year or any of the last 8, we may have had enough spark to win a world cup, who knows. We did have Liam Williams - who has the other element, the footballing element, and isn't weak or slow even if he's not amazing at both.

So, compared to Ireland's back 3, Wales have two pacey wingers, one who is a tank, and a footballing full back. Ireland have a high ball specialist at 15 who is slow and old, a very quick strike runner, and then Earls, who is sort of...safe at everything, exceptional at nothing?

I think there's a big difference, myself. But not saying Wales are perfect whatsoever. JD2 is quick enough but looks awful outside Parkes, and really needs a ballplaying 12 to shine - but we don't have one.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 6:05 pm

sensisball wrote:Wyndham Halswelle, London 1908: Gold, 400 m

Eric Liddell, Paris 1924: Gold, 400m (world record time) and Bronze, 200m.

David Jenkins (convicted steroid supplier), Munich 1972: Silver, 400m relay.

These are the only Olympic sprint medals for Scots I could find.

Not bad for one of the unhealthiest countries in the western world!
I don't think we will see the likes of Wells again though.

There are also the athletes that won medals as part of relay teams.

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Post by profitius on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 7:14 pm

miaow wrote:
So, compared to Ireland's back 3, Wales have two pacey wingers, one who is a tank, and a footballing full back. Ireland have a high ball specialist at 15 who is slow and old, a very quick strike runner, and then Earls, who is sort of...safe at everything, exceptional at nothing?

I think there's a big difference, myself. But not saying Wales are perfect whatsoever. JD2 is quick enough but looks awful outside Parkes, and really needs a ballplaying 12 to shine - but we don't have one.


I'm not sure Adams is faster than Earls. Earls is fairly rapid. Wouldn't surprise me if Kearney is faster than Liam William too but as we all know, LW is a much better player, started for the Lions, which again shows that speed isn't everything.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 8:07 pm

theslosty wrote:"We aren't as bad as being made out" and "we haven't become a bad team overnight" - is that not exactly what happened? We shipped 4 hammerings and lost to a Tier 2 nation in one year, there's no getting around it was an atrocious season. People are talking about gameplans and skills development and whatnot but the immediate focus for the IRFU must be to find out what on earth happened to cause performances to fall off a cliff. The 2018 gameplan may not have been enough to win this RWC but no strategy would have salvaged our results this year. Players were suddenly making such basic errors, we were lacking physicality and aggression and the defence was oftentimes non-existent. Yes we need to evolve our attack in particular but it's a long way down the list in terms of things that went wrong in 2019.

Schmidt still leaves a great legacy but this forum is talking as if we went as far as we could and the ABs were a step too far but in reality it was one of the worst years Ireland have had that I can remember.

Did performances really fall off a cliff? The 2018 season scaled a higher cliff than had ever been ascended and by 2019, others climbers learned from the route Ireland took. This implies that Ireland need to find a new route, and Fly wants that to be a fast offloading one, maybe that is the way to go but it's not the only way.

The other assertion is that Ireland have become a bad team overnight with lacklustre performances caused by something no one understands. So what might be the reason?
- Schmidt was experimenting during the 6N.
- In the warm-up Ireland couldn't cope with England's power and weren't prepared to risk their bodies and RWC participation to meet the shortfall. England had an extra game under their belt too.
- Japan had the weakest opponent first up and two more days to recover for the Ireland game. They were playing in their home conditions that were just too hot and humid for the Irish.
- The ABs had dissected Ireland's strengths, nullified them and changed their tactics to win the game.
Throw in the long seasons for the provinces, the legacy of injuries and out of form players etc. etc.

So if these are valid reasons for Ireland's disappointment, what should they have done differently?

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Post by theslosty on Mon 28 Oct 2019, 11:25 pm

I don't really see 2018 as the anomaly but more as the crescendo of what Schmidt had been building, other than that I'll accept England, Wales and NZ were considerably weaker than what they are now. 3 wins out of 5 in the 6N this year doesn't really tell the full story. I was in Cardiff for that Welsh game and couldn't believe what I was watching it was so poor.
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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 11:29 am

Personally I dont think Wales nor NZ were considerably weaker in 2018. NZ only lost 2 games and Wales also won most their games. NZ and Wales have around the same form this year as last. England were definitely weaker though as they were wrecked from the Lions tour and they hadnt uncovered Curry and Underhill yet.

I think its a combination of Ireland not improving or being slightly worse particularly in the backrow and everyone else moving on a bit.

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Post by miaow on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 11:43 am

Agree, Wales and NZ weren't weaker. Irish players lost confidence in the system. That, and the system was 'worked out' by others - just stop Ireland from getting in to your half with the ball, basically. NZ did it by smashing them in to submission, England did it by keeping Ireland behind the gainline, and Wales did it by playing like Ireland and holding on to the ball in Ireland's half. But I'm convinced a lot of it was the players looked fractured and lost hope over the duration of the 6Ns - as mentioned, fine margins in 2018: Sexton DG v France, some marginal wins in the summer, and then the ABs victory. Very different story if some of those go against you. Swallows and summer etc...

Issue to me was Schmidt becoming too controlling and micro managing, and he lost the players. Can't create a culture of digging out players in front of their teammates and expect it not to get them down. Mistakes happen. Players are fallable. If you're getting hammered for not binding on properly to someone in one of your supported carries, slip off, and the other team turns it over...I mean, it's the kind of thing to make you want to lose your mind. It's not the rugby that inspires players, and as soon as Ireland stopped winning - as soon as the idea they were world class got severely questioned by England in Dublin - the players lost it. Seeing Sexton flinging the ball in anger in Cardiff was a pretty telling indictment that something was seriously wrong with the belief, togetherness, and culpability within the team.

And, again, I go back to the dynamic - yes, Schmidt is to blame for that. He became too controlling. But where did we see these fractures in a RWC last time? That's right, with England and Farrell. And that's the man taking over. I do question how much his personal ambition belies his actual abilities and/or divisive nature.

Also not sure on the point about Earls v Adams. Conway's probably his equal in terms of pace, but I don't see Earls burning too many people. Adams has 6 tries in the RWC and a healthy strike rate prior to that - not all of them are from runs, but enough are. He's got good pace and, crucially, acceleration.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 1:54 pm

miaow wrote:Also not sure on the point about Earls v Adams. Conway's probably his equal in terms of pace, but I don't see Earls burning too many people. Adams has 6 tries in the RWC and a healthy strike rate prior to that - not all of them are from runs, but enough are. He's got good pace and, crucially, acceleration.

Earls looks to be the quickest player in this RWC squad, but rarely manages to burn anyone in attack because he has the mindset of a distributing centre looking for support. However in defence he has made enough last ditch tackles by hauling in genuine speedsters to show pace isn't an issue. The question for Andy Farrell is should he persist with one of his fastest players because he can stop tries rather than score them?
If anyone needs to be replaced it is Stockdale who seems to have lost his mojo, but apart from Conway, there aren't too many plausible candidates.

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Post by miaow on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 2:30 pm

I think Earls maybe takes time to get up to speed. He showed good gas to catch the Japanese break away in all fairness.

I suppose that is the keye question - far too many defensive minded players in the Irish backs. Farrell, Earls, Kearney etc. - all feel like they're there because they're solid and/or defensively sound. The best backlines in the world no longer have a single player like that - you can probably get away with 1 at most if your backline's good enough. Even South Africa didn't have de Allende in their original RWC squad - they wanted to play a bit more rugby.

Agree about Stockdale, not sure what the solution is. He looks like your Cuthbert. More potential though. In 2 years he could be the starting right winger for the Lions. Needs to work on his skills.

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Post by rodders on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 4:13 pm

James Lowe will offer plenty in attack from the wing and then we have Will Addison to come back.

Carbury offers more threat than Sexton these days as well. Larmour and Stockdale are still young.

Henshaw is the only outside back which questions hanging over him, his durability is a real issue.

I think we have plenty of backs to select, the back row is a bigger issue.

Speaking of defense, anyone catch Trimble's comments on Farrell's defensive system on Joe.ie. He stopped short of being critical but sounds like he felt it had it's flaws...
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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 5:28 pm

I wouldnt be surprised if Ireland win the six nations next year.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 5:39 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:I wouldnt be surprised if Ireland win the six nations next year.
WHY?

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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 5:45 pm

because its often the way with a new coach. Ruddock, Schmidt, Jones and Gatland all won the 6n in their first year. Howley too. England and Wales will have stagnated after Englands RWC win and Wales' 2019 GS.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 5:48 pm

But wont the Ireland team in the 6ns be different than the one that played in the RWC?

New players, new coaches. I am not so sure. 

I guess it is wait and see.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 5:51 pm

It's the better year for england in the fact that wales and ireland are at Twickenham. Simply dont know enough of who will line up for it. Emgland may very well be lining up without Jones ad head coach. We want to freshen up the team a little too in terms of scrum half perhaps introducing guys like Dombrandt, willis or mercer into the back row. Who knows yet.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 6:00 pm

majesticimperialman wrote:But wont the Ireland team in the 6ns be different than the one that played in the RWC?

New players, new coaches. I am not so sure. 

I guess it is wait and see.

Yes probably all teams will be fairly different

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Post by miaow on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 8:14 pm

Understand the logic and use of history, but England are in far less need of a rebuild than Ireland. England will go in hot favourites simply through durability and the fact this is a long old season - there's barely a break in rugby terms between the RWC and the Lions tour now unless players get injured or are given extended breaks. England could swap in 6-7 replacements and not look much weaker: no side can say that. As England play Wales and Ireland at home, they have to be favourites - but not out of the question for Ireland to win.

Depends how much hurt there is among the players. How much hunger. Time for the likes of James Ryan to stand up and show what he's got. For me, he's a good player, but not worth the status he has just yet. I'd also say you need a more athletic lock beside him - a Henderson or a Beirne - for him to really get away with that grinding basics stuff he does well. There's a danger of him being another Jonny Gray if he doesn't kick on.


On the topic of breaks, I also wonder how Farrell feels, whether he needs one. It's a weird situation - will he have held things back from this tournament that he's seen/wants to use for 2020? If so...another reason why the lack of a clean break is a bad decision. You want to be peaking not already beginning the transition.

It's not an exact science, but 3 of the teams who went through 'early' replacement searches for coaches went out arguably earlier than expected: Ireland certainly, NZ definitely, and Wales sort of. Wales obviously had our own issues with Pivac, you with Schmidt after the announcement. NZ? I feel like the coronation of Foster post-Ireland was a mistake and, in hindsight, premature by Hansen...he had eyes on the future when all eyes, clearly, should have been on England - which they cannot have done enough of. It's a better situation to have what EJ is in: truly decide after the tournament, or just leave it with 'I'm going' but no replacement. It doesn't need the speculation or the pressure. Erasmus and Jones - the two finalists - both utterly focused on the job in hand, and not the status of their jobs and their successors. Gatland hoping, romantically even, for the 'perfect ending' against England. You can't quantify it, it's more a mental thing, but I dislike the fanfare and the process of promoting coaches early.

If Farrell does come out with a whole, new successful gameplan that wins a 6Ns...might Schmidt be a little bit miffed?

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 9:23 pm

miaow wrote:
If Farrell does come out with a whole, new successful gameplan that wins a 6Ns...might Schmidt be a little bit miffed?

Don't think so.
He already gambled beyond his usual three years when he agreed to extend his stay. I'm sure if you caught him in a private moment and he committed you to keeping his thoughts to yourself, he'd perhaps admit that he stayed too long, both for his own interests and the interests of the team.
I'm sure, Joe being Joe, he'll quickly enough work out the matematical inevitability of the burnout.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 29 Oct 2019, 10:06 pm

Schmidt's perseverance is phenomenal. Turning a sow's ear into a silk purse visibly took its toll on Joe and he must have been approaching burnout. Farrell would do well to follow Joe's lead and nothing would delight Joe more than to see a legacy of success built on his foundation.

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