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?


Last edited by profitius on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 10:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 11:53 am

Obviously non-irish fans don't know too much about Irish rugby! Eddie O'Sullivan encouraged players to express their skills and built clever game plans around that. All well and good but when injury struck the team fell apart because there was no alternative player to draft in - remember he brought Corrigan out of retirement when Horan was injured? Going out at the pool stage in RWC 07 proved that approach was flawed. Kidney initially increased the depth and won a GS in 09 with the remnants of EOS plans. After that it went downhill fast because he relied on individual skills to break games, but with NO structure It didn't work.
It was obvious that Ireland needed interchangeable depth within a structure - cue Joe Schmidt. His genius was coaching square pegs to fit into round holes because Ireland simply didn't have enough round pegs. The uniqueness of the individual 'square' skill set had to be sacrificed to achieve team success and what success Schmidt achieved! It is easier to get Larmour to play more like Kearney than vice versa, so the end result is that Joe could plan on having two Rob standard players rather than just one Jordan.
Joe has capped more players than his predecessors and given them individual programmes to work on. He planted seeds in the provinces to increase options but the harvest has yet to appear. Maybe Farrell will be the reaper?

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Post by eirebilly on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 12:23 pm

I think that Kidney's greatest flaw was being unable to adapt to the changes in the game (the ELV's). He was the one that started creating the strength in depth philosophy in Ireland.

What Schmidt did was go about 3 steps further than that. He set systems in place that are only just starting to benefit Ireland now but will for many years to come if kept in place. A lot of what Schmidt done within Ireland rugby went completely unseen but the legacy will be remembered.

I would not say that Schmidt has been Irelands best ever coach, I cant say who was as many coaches have had success with Ireland in phases. What I will say, Schmidt has been the best administrator Ireland rugby has ever had.

He will be a huge loss.
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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 9:14 pm

Looking at the reviews of the match our gameplan was good. We had multiple chances to open up NZ in the first half and either failed to throw the correct pass or just threw bad ones. It seems like a collective choke ,Farrell will have to get to the bottom of why that happened.

NZ weren't particularly good in defense but we made them look brilliant. Did Schmidts reviews get so intense this year that our players froze from fear of making a mistake or was it something else?Our defense wasn't intense or organised enough either, can he sort that now that he's 100% in charge.

Mike Catt seems to have done a good job with Italy but we'll have to wait and see what direction he takes us. We have huge talent in the pipeline from the provinces and the players in place are mostly still of a very high quality.

It's a sad end to Schmidt's reign but he left the team in a better place than he found it and has raised the bar in terms of what we hope for and expect from the team. He's by far the most successful coach we've ever had and can be proud of his achievements with this team. I hope he can get away from it all for a while now and concentrate on his family for as long as he wants.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 10:27 pm

Back to the drawing board.  Repeat as desired.  GroundHog Day.  Root and branch inquisition to come.  Typed reports on desks.

We've been here before and we can't keep blaming the Head Coaches.  Something within our entire structure at IRFU is just wrong.  We keep sending squads of players to the WC extremely undercooked for the endurance test that is four pool games, a QF, a SF and a Final.  Our tolerance for the stresses of this contest simply isn't there.  
We either just have to admit we are incapable of having the correct systems in place to peak at the right time and be a consistently high performance team... OR... we get serious about finding the real deep seated issues that repeatedly have our rivals sneering us even before we emerge from pools.
We fried under the stress of meeting NZ because the players in their hearts knew they were not at the levels they expected to be at.  Some individual, or group of people or organisation let them down.  Our preparation is always wrong and I really wonder if the performance of the layers beneath the immediate group of coaches has been ever honestly assessed.  I'm talking about medical backup, stats assessors, lab technicians, fitness calibrators, psychological evaluators.
I genuinely don't know how many people in real terms assist behind the scenes on a project like sending our team to a WC.  But the entire apparatus needs to be seriously assessed for weaknesses.  And weak strands cut out and replaced.  The system break down repeats itself too often for it to be merely the influence of the main coach.  Something more endemic is causing this virtual carbon copy story every four years.

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Post by miaow on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 10:34 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Obviously non-irish fans don't know too much about Irish rugby! Eddie O'Sullivan encouraged players to express their skills and built clever game plans around that.

Not sure about that. Maybe EOS's Ireland was a breath of fresh air compared to the 90s, but considering the stick England had in 03, Ireland always strick me as more 'boring' and more of a 10 man team. It seemed to be the old grind and spoil up front, with the extent of attacking play being a crossfield kick to Shane Horgan.

Yeah, maybe that's a touch harsh, as Darcy and BOD did well together for a while, but it was also a very different game - lots of 'rushed' back play instead of the rugby league-esque set ups we have today. It's actually a more enjoyable game to watch, in my opinion, as well, but that's another point...

For me, Irish rugby has always excelled at the less glamorous stuff. Different to England's set piece game, it's more that Munster ethic of out work, out spoil your opponent. Add in GAA skills, and the general attitude to sport, and I don't think Ireland are going to produce a positive, creative team in 4 years - if you want that, pick one of the provinces to be your creative/attacking/flair team at least - it's not going to be Connacht because of the weather, not Munster because of the history, and not Leinster because of the dominance they have, it's simply too easy to play positive rugby with such domiance. An Irish team likethe Scarlets - that can run the ball on the back foot - would do them well. Could Ulster be that side? Not sure.

Rugby's getting crazy though. Leinster seems well placed to survive the arms race in blooding/building gigantic youngsters in the age grades, and money is talking more and more; there isn't huge room to change the rugby culture from what it is. No doubt Schmidt got key things wrong - I just think he micromanaged too much, didnt allow consequences and responsibility to be core values relating to performance, and obviously got some personnel/style issues a bit too rigidly wrong - but he also did great things and, within his framework, I'm not sure any coach would have done better.

Particularly with Farrell as coach, I honestly think you're looking at 4 more years of something similar, but possibly worse overall. Fly is right when he says the metric for caps seems wrong - you can't judge it on dominance in the league, where the Irish tend to clean up, particularly Leinster. I maintain Beirne is symbolic of one clear area that's an issue for Ireland - at club and country level.

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Post by miaow on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 10:40 pm

And one final point on Leinster.

Having managed them, Schmidt presumably trust them to both 'get it right' under pressure, and to possibly reach similar standards of dominance. He really did trust some Irish players - not just Leinster - to reproduce their best performances when it mattered, and, clearly, in 2019, that didn't happen.

Ultimately, the pack was pretty much manshamed by a NZ team in the loose, with Connor Murray looking awful as a result - something I've felt for a while, but not voiced for the ire of sites like this. Not to say that he's awful, just that he's not world class, has specific threats, and can be nullified. His head had gone completely before the final whistle.

I genuinely think Joe was stunned at what happened - there was too much 'it's ok, the game went wrong here, here, and here' in the wake of games like Wales in the 6Ns, England in the warm ups, and even Japan in the group. As an outsider, I don't want to hear that - you want to see change, you want to see them learn and keep that in house, and don't underperform again. You don't lose a game basic of some niche elements around contact - and if you do, well, is there one of the fundamental problems?

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Post by miaow on Sun 20 Oct 2019, 10:53 pm

One question for Irish fans - do the qualification rules need looking at?

I'm not just thinking about Beirne, but I also am a bit, but is the 4 province rule a good one?

Not only is there clearly a vast disparity of talent between the 4 - to the point Leinster need to be forced to give their reserves out to become key men at the others, like Carbery and Murphy - but by having all that talent clogged back, it cannot help.

It also cannot help when you demand players 'fit' within the system - I understand it's an attempt to fast track, but it didn't work, so it needs looking at.

It also cannot help not letting players literally toughen up in England while still picking up caps - the Premiership is the breeding ground of testing how tough players are, no doubt. Not the absolute red carpet ride they get if they're top internationals in their own country. Welsh players improve when they go outside Wales, generally, or they are at least tested to see their weaknesses - look at Adams, look at North and Biggar.

I do think about Beirne and I question why that went so wrong - still time to sort it out, of couse.

But is there really sense in stopping players from playing for other Pro14 teams (at least)? Even if you don't want them in England, allow an Easterby, or a Copeland, or a Bowe to play in Scotland or Wales (less attractive these days), go and grow as people, grow as players, and not completely rule out the prospect of international caps.

Can't help but feel a lot of these 'homegrown' rules are a bit reducive and about copying NZ, expecting that insularity to apply to the NH teams as well - when it's quite clear why NZ has that policy.

SA pick overseas players. Australia has a mixed policy in that regard. France will pick just about anyone with a Fijian sounding name.

Is this rule an issue? Seem on the surface it is, to me at least, and I'd say the say would perhaps apply to Wales, and why mitigatin circumstances - like the 60 cap rule - are needed to help us out. Ireland's hard and fast rule, like England's, doesn't seem to be as sensible as it is for England. Too much 'let's be like NZ' for me, without realising it might not translate.

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Post by rodders on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 11:51 am

Good points but we need to keep the home based rule, otherwise we'll see players like Zebo going to France on massive salaries.

Unlike Wales the IRFU have a vested interest to keep the provinces competitive so I think the system is good.

Inevitably with such a limited pool quality players aren't going to come on a conveyor belt like NZ, we need to keep bringing players through and ensuring the quality of coaching at the provinces is a s good as it can be.

I think the IRFU need to put less emphasis on the 6N and AI's, not to mention the ECC to allow the coaches to peak for the RWC. I don't think having 3 provinces in European (and Pro14) KO stages was helpful in a WC year, with so many front line players involved.

If you look at Wales, they have really been good at peaking physically at the right time, that is something we need to learn. Our players are involved in too many big domestic games in between international duty.
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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 2:04 pm

rodders wrote:Good points but we need to keep the home based rule, otherwise we'll see players like Zebo going to France on massive salaries.

Unlike Wales the IRFU have a vested interest to keep the provinces competitive so I think the system is good.

Inevitably with such a limited pool quality players aren't going to come on a conveyor belt like NZ, we need to keep bringing players through and ensuring the quality of coaching at the provinces is a s good as it can be.

I think the IRFU need to put less emphasis on the 6N and AI's, not to mention the ECC to allow the coaches to peak for the RWC. I don't think having 3 provinces in European (and Pro14) KO stages was helpful in a WC year, with so many front line players involved.

If you look at Wales, they have really been good at peaking physically at the right time, that is something we need to learn. Our players are involved in too many big domestic games in between international duty.

I think maybe a rule that you can play overseas and still be considered for internationals if you have a certain amount of caps would be a good compromise. and as you say build towards a four year cycle to 2023 rather than pulling out all the stops to win the 6Ns or to get more Irish players into the B & I Lions.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 3:05 pm

Nobody cares about International when Provinces are fighting for Pro14 or in Europe.
Nobody cares about World Cups when Ireland are trying to get another 6N.
Nobody cares about 6N when we're annoyed about WCs.

It's inevitable.  Our priorities shift depending on what month it is or what year it is.

But IRFU have to admit that they can't be like fickle fans.  They truly have to have a long term objective.  They have to consolidate their organisational efforts to some distinct cycle.  And keep rigid focus on that cycle.  

Not so long ago, although Schmidt was allegedly employed to improve our fortunes at WC, we still heard him refer often to the 6N as our bread and butter event.  There's even a story going around from the mouth of a player I can't now remember (maybe Sexton himself) that it was players that came to Joe as a group (there was an inference that you didn't approach Joe with a suggestion as a single player) before the 2018 6N with the request that the coaching team concentrate on winning a Slam.  
Looking at that detail now - a year before the WC, and the mind boggles really.

Nothing against players looking for certain priorities to be emphasised.  It's their team as much if not more than the coaches - their effort, sweat and injuries.  But it kinda pinpoints how lax the WC prep logistics must have been.  Surely such planning about a 6N just a year out from a WC would be fully in the hands of the coaches as part of overall strategy to have the right players in the right condition for Japan.  But it seems players casually asking for special focus on a one off event in advance of the WC were listened to and readily accepted.
Is it the players job to know what the priorities should be to improve chances at the WC or is it the job of the coaches and the IRFU admin?

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Post by clivemcl on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 3:22 pm

England look great, and so did Saracens... New Zealand looked great, and so did Crusaders and Hurricanes... Ireland... How come we can't compete like they can in a World Cup?

Only 4 provincial clubs. 3 of which were European Qfinalists, two were Semi Finalists, and Leinster were runners up.
All 4 were QFinalists in Pro14, 3 were in semis, and Leinster were champions.
The teams Leinster put out in the finals of both competitions only had 2 non-irish players.

So... is it just me, or has Ireland in 2019 been hugely short of what the sum of their parts SHOULD be? And if so... why?

All this 'peaked too soon' talk kinda annoys me.

As if Ireland can only hope to ever be good for a short period of time and can't maintain it.

And if there is truth in the 'peaking too soon' surely that's a error and a miscalculation?

If the 'peaking at the right time' myth is a thing.... then fair play to England Wales, and France's coaches - they have been better than Ireland's.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 3:47 pm

clivemcl wrote:England look great, and so did Saracens... New Zealand looked great, and so did Crusaders and Hurricanes... Ireland... How come we can't compete like they can in a World Cup?

Only 4 provincial clubs. 3 of which were European Qfinalists, two were Semi Finalists, and Leinster were runners up.
All 4 were QFinalists in Pro14, 3 were in semis, and Leinster were champions.
The teams Leinster put out in the finals of both competitions only had 2 non-irish players.

So... is it just me, or has Ireland in 2019 been hugely short of what the sum of their parts SHOULD be? And if so... why?

All this 'peaked too soon' talk kinda annoys me.

As if Ireland can only hope to ever be good for a short period of time and can't maintain it.

And if there is truth in the 'peaking too soon' surely that's a error and a miscalculation?

If the 'peaking at the right time' myth is a thing.... then fair play to England Wales, and France's coaches - they have been better than Ireland's.

OK

But the 'peaking' thing actually does seem to unearth a few home truths.
1. Success in Pro14 or Europe does NOT denote the quality needed for the stresses of a WC. Again, we keep looking back to Wales, who aren't lauded either in Pro14 or Europe but who under Gatland always seem more prepared for harder International events, be it the slog of a WC or the marathons of Lions tours. Gatland does not rely on Pro14 or European exploits to select his Internstionals. He CREATES Internationals from scratch in International games and more importantly in the preparation environments he creates in camp.
2. New Zealand, although peopled by successful club players, still actually achieves a level of 'Peak' specifically for WCs. Ireland beat them before WCs - couldn't touch them at a WC. It isn't really just chance. Other nations too over the years genuinely did 'peak' at WCs. Australia, South Africa. Back to Wales. They do seem to get form right to always be ready to compete at a WC. Don't think it's all chance. It is a design, aided by science. So whilst it frustrates to hear about peaking, I know. There is a real element of truth to it. We just don't ever know the factors needed to achieve it.

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 4:45 pm

rodders wrote:Good points but we need to keep the home based rule, otherwise we'll see players like Zebo going to France on massive salaries.

Unlike Wales the IRFU have a vested interest to keep the provinces competitive so I think the system is good.

Interesting. Don't SA and Oz also have centrally contracted players and they control the pro teams?

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 4:48 pm

SecretFly wrote:Nobody cares about International when Provinces are fighting for Pro14 or in Europe.
Nobody cares about World Cups when Ireland are trying to get another 6N.
Nobody cares about 6N when we're annoyed about WCs.

It's inevitable.  Our priorities shift depending on what month it is or what year it is.


Also a good point. You don't need to completely restructure the whole thing, just tweak. Messing about with the provinces might just stop Leinster's success and produceno gains elsewhere. Ask BOD and POC if they wis they'd valued the 6Ns a bit less. Rugby is rugby is rugby. The WC is great, but it's not everything.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 4:57 pm

Collapse2005 wrote: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.

You mean to tell me that POM is actually poor, and will be cleared out at some point? The super star 6 is already in the squad, he can also play 2nd row.

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Post by Geen sport voor watjes on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 5:06 pm

We need a mr motivator at no.6

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 5:16 pm

miaow wrote:The WC is great, but it's not everything.

It IS great though.  Cool  I'd happily give back a 6N title to play in a semi-final or final.  The best is the best - and the best prioritise WC.

The tweaks should be to genuinely use 6N more for Unearthing Internationals rather than playing top Provincials.  Not saying you forfeit the idea of winning, but players with half an eye on European titles and half on 6N are players conflicted.  Needs to be a true system developed to find players who might not be the stars of their Provinces but have the quantifiable qualities of resilience (both physical and mental) in compact series of hard Internationals.  Different qualities apply really and I don't think we've admitted that yet.
To use an example - Heaslip.  Not the most lauded of Irish Internationals, but I always felt assured when he played.  He was robust, you expected to see him every week.  He was consistent in quality.  He was a perfect cog in a team that wanted consistency in a series of tough Internationals.
Conway is another existing player.  I don't regard it as form.  I just regard him as a true International more than I'd consider the more praised Earls.  Earls goes up and down between International games, Conway chugs along regardless.  Not as showy but more consistent quality.
A project to calibrate those standards and select them...that's what I want from future Irish International.

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 5:37 pm

That's just greener grass, Fly - and I thought Ireland was meant to hve the greenest grass of all...

Always want what you don't, or even can't, have.

There's more to the sport than just the RWC and I think it's becoming more and more cyclical in the NH at least - but probably all over the world - and it's not overly helpful at times.

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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 5:40 pm

How much of the issue for Ireland has been players who, really, were well past their peak and on the slide down. The 2018 calendar year was a great one for Ireland, but perhaps even then there were players who were using experience to see themselves and the team through.

12 of the Ireland team that beat NZ played in the 1/4 final. Of the 3 missing only 1 was really due to selection - Toner being dropped from the Squad. Aki was suspended while Marmion would not have played in 2018 if Murray had been fit.

Meanwhile 8 of the starting lineup for NZ that day played in the 1/4 final, including Beauden Barrett who actually switched positions.

It should also be noted that 8 of the England team that faced NZ the week earlier made it to the start against Australia this weekend (and 9 of the 23 did not travel to the WC).

The likes of Healy, Best, POM, Stander, Murray, Sexton, Earls and Kearney have been excellent to great players but none have performed any where near their best - and really that can be said about them for the entirety of 2019. While not age for all, it is an issue for many.

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 5:42 pm

And I don't disagree with your other point, either, at all. But one point might be not being too drastic - it's that the provinces should look for more than just whatever wins Pro14 titles against basically only 2 or 3 competitive teams from the lot, or getting in to the European knockouts which usually means playing the same number of truly competitive teams for Leinster, sometimes even fewer.

Agree about players like Conway. Looks like he has 'it' and no idea why he wasn't selected. Perhaps that's a key reason Gatland usually one-upped Schmidt, or at least it felt like he did - Gatland was great at identifying quality players from outside Wales. Look at Jake Ball and Tomas Francis, even Josh Adams. Nor key parts of the Welsh 15. It's almost counter intuitive that provincial form for Ireland doesn't translate to the best pros, but that's the issue with the club game in the NH - too fractured, too diluted.

Which is why I think there's scope for relaxing the qualification rules. Have Irish players playing in England at least eligible in the way Welsh plyers are - 60 caps or whatever, or if they haven't been offered an Irish contract in the way Beirne wasn't before coming to Wales.

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Post by clivemcl on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 5:55 pm

Over the WC I've heard so many pundits etc talk about the four year cycle and the need there was for Ireland to create a viable and good second option to Jonny Sexton.
All of them seem happy to ignore the fact that half way through that 4 year cycle or number ten in waiting was booted out of Irish rugby for actions no worse than other players who have been permitted to remain and continue their careers.
For all we know, we may have also had a contender at centre had another player not been exiled.

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6:03 pm

Did Paddy Jackson really look better than Joey?

On rugby, Jackson was never that good.

Miaow, can't really let that go I am afraid, its been well discussed and this is not the place for it. Please stick to the subject

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Post by clivemcl on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6:19 pm

Guilt aside, I do think he had better potential than Joey. He was only 25 when last playing at Ulster. (And for a good few months he was playing with the investigation hanging over him - before the public knew).
I think he was good, and would have continued to grow if his career hadn't been interrupted at Ulster.

Either way, Sexton and Murray both fell well short of being Ireland's talismen we hoped they would be.
And the writing was on the wall - I guess ultimately it was a mix of the backups not being awesome, and the blind hope that Sexton and Murray might perform at world class level when it REALLY mattered. That never materialised. But I'm not sure we had any other options.

Could we have given Carberry/Carty/Marmion/McCrath/Cooney more international game time in the past year? Hindsight is a grand thing, but I can understand the blind hope the coaches may have had with Murray and Sexton.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6:28 pm

Bring back Zebo.

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6:29 pm

Paddy Jackson, he wasn't particularly fast, strong, or skillful. In which case, where was his point of difference? I'm not really seeing it. Solid club player for me who never made the most of the test chances he had. Remember him mimssing a last minute conversion in Llanelli for the u20s and that summed up his full career for me - a nearly man, solid, but not great. Definitely don't think he would have aided Ireland at all in any shape or form in the last 3 years had he been free of controversy, personally.

It is true that the issue around Murray and Sexton was terminal, and - honestly? - fairly clear to see coming. You can't base a gameplan around 2 men. You can't be so restrictive, you can't try and control everything.

Schmidt felt like a jilted lover in the last 4 years who found out the apple of his eye had been cheating on him for years - the shock and pain caused him to double down and play it safe, avoid the pain, avoid the potential of small skills and small details allowing the game to run away from Ireland. Get back to basics, get exceptional at the basics, and it'll get us through when it really matters, when it's all about pressure rugby, thinking clearly, not knocking the ball on under pressure, not slipping off a tackle, or missing a kick. It made sense in some ways, but it just didn't work.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6:45 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote: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.

You mean to tell me that POM is actually poor, and will be cleared out at some point? The super star 6 is already in the squad, he can also play 2nd row.

No he is not poor he just isnt physical enough. The game has passed him by a bit at this stage. Martin Williams suffered a similar fate.

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6:55 pm

Good comparison. Players who excel at a certain level and then, suddenly, drop off overnight. Adam Jones a similar example.

Still think PoM is a decent player, just obviously limited by his own...well...limitations.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 6:56 pm

Who knows maybe Farrell will draft Jackson back in if he shows good form. Good player.

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Post by Engine#4 on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 7:07 pm

I'd take a look further down the pecking order than that. Conan and Ruddock are good but not world beaters and at their age probably aren't going to be. There are young backrows all over the provinces. Same at hooker. Cronin is 33. Scannell is 27. Neither managed to displace a 37 year old Best despite his weaknesses.

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Post by clivemcl on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 7:49 pm

To be honest, every nation probably benefits from more players retiring post WC - not at some half way point in between.
We kinda need clubs to be forced to reply on their younger guys at the start of the 4 year cycle, not mid way through it.

Would it be the worst think for Irish Rugby if players like POM, Murray, Sexton and Earls etc decided to finish their careers outside of Ireland?

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Post by Collapse2005 on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 7:51 pm

No it wouldnt.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 7:56 pm

Might not be a bad thing for some of them either. Go and see what other parts of the world have to offer while you have something to offer.

You could not blame any of them if theg were to retire from international rugby now and just concentrate on themselves for s few years before calling it a day.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 7:57 pm

I would bd more than hsppy if a few of the more senior mrmbers of thd Scotland squad who also under performed would take the same advice. It in no way dimminishes their careers.

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Post by theslosty on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 8:49 pm

Schmidt has faced criticism for not developing a clear 2nd choice 10 after Sexton but I agree that some have overlooked that PJ was developing nicely. I don't think he had quite as much raw talent as Carbery but he would probably have been a more rounded 10 for this WC. One of his last involvements for Ireland was the SA tour in 2016 in which he steered Ireland to a famous win with 14 men. He played in that year's Dublin defeat to NZ too when Sexton was subbed off early and despite the loss looked comfortable at that level.

Going forward, I'm slightly caught in two minds - if we're going to be ruthless we realise Sexton won't make 2023 and we should go into the next 6N with Carbery Carty and Byrne. However while I agree Irish rugby needs to prioritize the RWC more generally I'm not against keeping him in the fold if he remains the best option. That will probably be the case anyway since his contract doesn't expire until 2021. But if his form was lower or roughly equal to the younger options then there is little merit in persisting with him.

Agree that there is no point persisting with some of the established 2nd string like Cronin, John Ryan, Ruddock, Murphy etc who are all decent players but never going to be world class.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 9:05 pm

Rugby as a sport is well down the pecking order in Ireland. When Scotland and Wales blacklisted Ireland for the 2023 RWC they ensured that the gathering public interest generated by provincial success would be slowed to a standstill. Ireland simply don't have enough players to be consistently in the top four teams in the world. Hence Ireland can make the last eight consistently but never the last four, that is the reality of the situation. Farrell can't suddenly magic up hordes of Test class players to take Ireland to the next level and neither could Schmidt.
Guys like Best, Sexton, Kearney and Healy were simply the best available to Schmidt, nothing to do with sentiment or favouritism. Joe was criticised for leaving old favourite Toner behind and bringing in the new face of Kleyn, so he proved that he could make the hard decision if needed. He was absolutely right in not picking guys who weren't playing in Ireland because he couldn't afford to have his top players jumping ship overseas. At least in Ireland their workload can be managed and they get to act as role models for the understudies.
Why do the Welsh Pro14 teams struggle while their Test team wins the Grand Slam? If we are to believe that the Welsh don't care about the Pro14 but would die for the red jersey then the answer is fairly clear. The opposite might be true in Ireland where the pecking order is County, Province, Country. So it's the classic province v country debate where famously Declan Kidney had a 'clear the air' meeting at the end of 2008 to determine whether provincial rivalries were stopping the Test team unifying. Those deep seated historical rivalries have forced players overseas rather than play for another province, so how does the coach mend such deep rifts when a Test is nigh?
Schmidt had a grand plan at unifying the players within his designated structure and tried to get the provinces playing in similar styles. Right or wrong, Schmidt took Ireland to unprecedented levels so there is merit in the template he created and Farrell would do well to think carefully before changing anything.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 9:18 pm

BigGee wrote:Might not be a bad thing for some of them either. Go and see what other parts of the world have to offer while you have something to offer.

You could not blame any of them if theg were to retire from international rugby now and just concentrate on themselves for s few years before calling it a day.

Well it's not that difficult an equation for many of them.

All they have to do is find a quiet moment, preferably at night with the lights out, and ask themselves the serious question:  will I be at the WC in 2023?

If the answer in their head is truthfully No, then there is no reason to linger.  It mightn't be necessary for all of them to hop on a plane - though undoubtedly for a few more years it might be more profitable - but all they'd really have to do is announce their retirement from International.  Then they could keep the fires burning in Provincial rugby during the International windows as their younger colleagues went to International camp.

They already know rugby is ruthless as they all walked willingly into other people's roles.  You get your period and then it moves on.  New 10 and 9 combinations needed for next 6N.... but 9 and 10 were positively not the only malfunctioning aspects of the squad at Japan.  So let's not be too hard on two men.

Maybe another aspect to think about is restructuring those central contracts.  Right now it seems to work on the notion that if we pay them more, we play them more (at International) - bang for buck economics.  But that kind of unspoken truism formalises the notion that younger bloods have to work harder to get into the squad.... ie, if they're cheap, it probably means they aren't worth an entire 6N campaign to see how they go.  Central contracts predict future quality rather than incrementally assess it.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 9:28 pm

theslosty wrote:Schmidt has faced criticism for not developing a clear 2nd choice 10 after Sexton but I agree that some have overlooked that PJ was developing nicely. I don't think he had quite as much raw talent as Carbery but he would probably have been a more rounded 10 for this WC. One of his last involvements for Ireland was the SA tour in 2016 in which he steered Ireland to a famous win with 14 men. He played in that year's Dublin defeat to NZ too when Sexton was subbed off early and despite the loss looked comfortable at that level.

Going forward, I'm slightly caught in two minds - if we're going to be ruthless we realise Sexton won't make 2023 and we should go into the next 6N with Carbery Carty and Byrne. However while I agree Irish rugby needs to prioritize the RWC more generally I'm not against keeping him in the fold if he remains the best option. That will probably be the case anyway since his contract doesn't expire until 2021. But if his form was lower or roughly equal to the younger options then there is little merit in persisting with him.

Agree that there is no point persisting with some of the established 2nd string like Cronin, John Ryan, Ruddock, Murphy etc who are all decent players but never going to be world class.

Let Sexton be a sub but no more. I wouldnt be against moving on from him altogether. Carbery or Carty should start the big games.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 9:33 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Schmidt had a grand plan at unifying the players within his designated structure and tried to get the provinces playing in similar styles. Right or wrong, Schmidt took Ireland to unprecedented levels so there is merit in the template he created and Farrell would do well to think carefully before changing anything.

Oh yeah, you don't just throw everything out.... including the principles of total study of opposition and ruthless assessments of performances.  Ireland is too small to have multiple styles and then trying to find players to play one style.

But we do have to find a new method of gaining supremacy in a game and we need to play a game more suited to the calibre of player we produce.  We simply don't produce enough truly monstrous forwards to play collision rugby for 80 minutes.  It simply grinds down our own players over time more than it does the opposition, and bluntly, training for it must be no fun.  In reality, we have to play a game players would enjoy, and that's a game that gets adrenaline flowing, which in turn aids energy levels and joy in turning up for camp.

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Post by miaow on Mon 21 Oct 2019, 10:47 pm

Sexton could be ideal as a mentor but he needs to accept that even RoG played second fiddle by the end. Same awaits him. He's 34, I don't doubt he'll still fancy a shot at the Lions, but 2-3 years is surely all you're getting out of him now, and only in rotation.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 9:19 am

Although Sexton's time to hang up his guns is approaching.  And personally I think the vast majority of 6N should be given to another.  Incidentally, saying so probably infers that Sexton should only get walk on parts as a sub, because really, taking on perhaps one of the bigger games alone (for example England or Wales) wouldn't suit us as we'd be trusting him to be hothaving not played much.
Anyway, despite all that, I feel a real and blunt change of 9 is now required more than a change of 10.  I've tried to look at the benefits Murray brings with positivity over the years but now I want a return to a sharper, smaller, more opportunist version  If that means we sacrifice 'physicality' in the position, so be it.  Our fizzicality model ain't working anymore.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 11:43 am

Carbery needs all the time he can get for Ireland in the next four years, because he hasn't been convincing so far. It's best to find out if he can really step up or else another candidate needs to be tried before it's too late. Sexton can come off the bench to close games out if needed but even that needs to be curtailed by next November. Keeping Murray with Carbery makes sense to give him every chance to see if he really has the quality required.
The candidates behind Murray aren't exactly screaming to be selected and as his game has never really relied on pace it is unlikely his game will suffer much further in the next four years.

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Post by rodders on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 2:30 pm

I'm not convinced by Carbury as a 10, I think he'd be a much better 15 or 12.

Ireland have problem at 10, for me it is between Byrne and Carty to shift Sexton who's looked a long way off his best all season. Maybe Billy Burns is worth a punt, all 3 seem a similar level.
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Post by Ninjarugby on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 3:15 pm

Just a note on Farrell 's expectation. If I'm not mistaken in 3 WC's Declan Kidney & Martin Johnson are the only 2 northern hemisphere coaches (non-French), to get to the 1/4 finals of a WC & that was back in 2011. Lancaster didn't make it out of the group & wasn't Vern Cotter the coach of Scotland in 2015. And that's not even the semi finals.
An Italian mate thinks Conor O Shea could make the step up to Ireland at some stage. I'm not so sure.
I do have big hopes for ROG as he was willing to go the extra mile/19,000 km to get very good experience so lets see how he gets on at La Rochelle.

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Post by rodders on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 3:52 pm

It's ominous for Farrell that the media refer to him as "Englishman" or "the Englishman" already. I don't recall Schmidt's name being prifixed in the same way.

That said I think if he is Nucifera's appointment he will be in for a long haul until the next RWC.
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Post by SecretFly on Tue 22 Oct 2019, 8:41 pm

Already I'm feeling what's done is done and am quite positive that Ireland will play with more expression, width and invention under Farrell.  Call me too optimistic but that's genuinely how I feel.

I don't think any of our International Head coaches have been directly responsible for Ireland's average ranking over the years/decades - which sees us usually hover around the 5th to 7th.  I mean I think we have a stable quality regardless of coach that keeps us hovering in that mid top 10 range.  What Joe did was construct a gameplan/structure that hoisted that average for a few years into the top 3.
I think Farrell has a natural cushion to work from.  We might drop back to more regular 5th, 6th or 7th in the next few years.  But from that position Farrell can reinvigorate players under a different gameplan and plot perhaps a more timely rising towards the end of the next four year cycle.

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Post by Pie on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 6:36 am

Who will be Captain and is SOB gone for good?

I fancy POM as transitionary skipper

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:05 am

Pie wrote:Who will be Captain and is SOB gone for good?

I fancy POM as transitionary skipper

Interesting you should ask that as before I rose from bed this morning I was doing some thinking on bizarre happenings this World Cup.  I was thinking about who is up for it and then realised I was asking myself who truly was Captain at this WC.  Nobody - was the answer.  
And in Ireland we usually go back to the old cliche that the team is actually full of mature 'captains'.  Well to be blunt, not this time.  Pressure came on in two important games - high calibre attack pressure of the best WC quality - and yet again all 'captains' melted under the pressure.  And as they melted, they all went missing in one of the most important aspects of Captaincy - maintaining belief, offering some consolidation solutions, keeping morale up, stirring the battle instincts.  They all crumbled.  No hard words to rally the troops, no defiant screams of fight.  Just implosion... twice.... end of WC participation.
People often in the past and still do to this day criticise Heaslip.  But in adversity, even when he wasn't Captain, it would usually be him with the team in a circle, laying down markers in an attempt to stir the troops.  Where was it from our current 'captains'? The only talking I ever see these days is Healy waddling up to Best to tell him the next lineout call.  Leadership and Captaincy is really perhaps the most important aspect that went AWOL in this WC.

So who next?  People keep saying James Ryan.  I don't know.  I think it's more journalists trying desperately to create a new 'Paulie'.  Is that the best reason to choose Ryan just because he looks the most 'enforcer' type in the squad?  Does he really have the all round game vision to choose best direction in hot games?  Maybe he will have all that.  But right now, we've seen how one dimensional we've become when forwards drag all go forward momentum onto their own shoulders.  Teams know what's coming.
I think I'd choose someone from that transitional region between forwards and backs.  Whoever might be 10 - probably not Sexton at this point.  But for me right now, as I look at all the personalities available - Stander at 8.  He seems to have the right qualities but seems hesitant because of the 'project' baggage.  Choose him as Captain - and I think we'd see a real, vocal, positivity motivator at the helm.

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Post by Engine#4 on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:48 pm

I reckon O'Mahony may have been captain if he wasn't laid out for most of the season when POC retired. He's the most obvious choice for me if we were to leave form aside.

Ryan was the captain of every team he played for underage. Interestingly though Lancaster said that he is quite introverted. He said the same of Henshaw and Ringrose. Suggested that they prefer to listen in meetings than speak up.

There was an article the other day that suggested Murray was the obvious choice. I could be wrong but he has never struck me as a leader. Even now that he's a senior player I can't see it (and what the Frak was he smiling about when Ireland were getting battered at the weekend??).  

Stander would be a good choice barring the reaction from the 'he's not Irish' idiots, most of whom can't even speak the Irish language. Regardless I think there's too much store set in the title of 'captain'. Give it to POM. Who cares if he doesn't start all the time. He's the most impressive leader we have.

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Post by Brendan on Wed 23 Oct 2019, 11:03 pm

I think we are all a bit down at the moment.

Ireland have 1 really good province, two good ones and an average one.  New Zealand have built their success on competition at all ages.  We are getting to that.  As others have said the systems have now been put in place and better players are coming through.

If we have four compeditive teams we will have a strong international team.  New Zealand haven't been affected by a poor SR as their teams have just played among themselves

Ireland's problem is playing to a high level every game not 2 out of 3

Wales is different as Gatland is a really good man manger.  When he leaves, it is unknown if Pivac can get as much out of them.  Wales are more than the sum of their parts but are their parts getting replaced to the same standard, I know Ireland's parts seem to be the equal or better.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 9:23 am

Gatland increases emotions but controls them and uses them advantageously.  You always see him look for the angle where he pretends his players and team are looked down on, sneered at.  You even see some of that leak in here.... no respect!  You can imagine how it goes often in training too.  But it is controlled and used positively.  I heard here somewhere that AWJ's mantra is something about no such thing as training, about training with the same intensity as games always.

Joe Schmidt meanwhile was warning his players before the game to kill the emotion and trust process.  You can understand his logic to an extent, but it's virtually all our players hear when they enter International camp...process v emotion.  Might explain some of that programming that saw Murray smiling during the most important game of his life that we were being destroyed in.  It's not the first time I've seen the mental disconnect from the reality on the field, and not just from him.  But I've often been infuriated by that ball twirling act he does when waiting to put in in a game that is going away from us and the opposition have white hot rage in their eyes.

So hopefully, some coach in the new set up will stir these players on pride again rather than just memorised process.  Emotion can kill us too, I understand Joe's concerns perfectly, especially with hot blooded Irish players.  But we've gone too far the other way.  Programmed to be robotically emotionless.

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