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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 Geen sport voor watjes on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 11:44 pm

Maybe the national coach should be listening to the provincial coaches for a change. Start with connacht and build from there. More rugby players and less Rick resourcing please.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 09 Nov 2019, 10:48 am

Well, that was a sobering night for the Connacht way of Andy Friend.

If there is a warning sign about too much emphasis on lighter, faster and looser rugby, then last night was probably a good example.

Balance, balance, balance.  That's what Ireland didn't have.  The hard yards, ruck resourcing game is a good slice of what a good team should have.... but not all that they should have.  

Connacht need more strings to their bow to withstand the games top sides will throw at them, in Pro14, and from England and France.  They were blown away last night with power, panache, pace and...... practice.  They didn't have a Schmidtonian game to attempt a slowdown on Leinster's surges and just tried to match Leinster at a game they were second best at in execution.

But even despite that win and a few others this season.... even Leinster look a little too all bells and whistles right now.  I fear they might be bluffing a lack of more heavy duty credentials with the lightening speed theatrics.  Hope I'm wrong but I feel serious sides who might have the tools to slow Leinster down might then have a field day.  That's not a regular occurance given their history in Europe but I'd like a little less fireworks and a little more grim reaper stuff at this time of year to prove they have a solid all round game prepared or harder days

It always comes back to a nice balance of a Schmidtonian game + a bells and whistles strike running, quick passsing, intricate passing, evasion dominant, high pace, more panic inducing game for the times when brute boring force don't work or isn't needed.

Balance.  

Munster and Ulster will be interesting to keep checking which side has the best balance to transfer to International right now in Pre-Andy startup.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sat 09 Nov 2019, 7:57 pm

Looks like Leinster are in a different league to everyone else in the PRO14 and in Ireland - have they stayed within the salary cap?

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Post by Cyril on Sat 09 Nov 2019, 9:04 pm

The IRFU coffers are basically Leinster’s spending money. Might as well be the same thing.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Sat 09 Nov 2019, 10:17 pm

Cyril wrote:The IRFU coffers are basically Leinster’s spending money. Might as well be the same thing.

Id say the IRFU has spent more money on the other provinces. They paid for Thomond park and the Raven Hill upgrades, meanwhile Leinster play in a rented ground with temporary stands.

Leinster probably makes enough to sustain itself anyway.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 09 Nov 2019, 10:55 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:Looks like Leinster are in a different league to everyone else in the PRO14 and in Ireland - have they stayed within the salary cap?

No. No, they haven't.  Ronan Kelleher is on three houses in Dublin, a pad in Malibu and Monaco and a Bugatti Centodieci.  But keep it quiet, the taxman don't know.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 9:01 am

SecretFly wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:Looks like Leinster are in a different league to everyone else in the PRO14 and in Ireland - have they stayed within the salary cap?

No. No, they haven't.  Ronan Kelleher is on three houses in Dublin, a pad in Malibu and Monaco and a Bugatti Centodieci.  But keep it quiet, the taxman don't know.

None of that should count towards the salary cap anyway... should it?

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Post by rodders on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 10:52 am

So there is talk of Aki and Marmion jumping ship to England/France.

Could this be interpreted as an early vote of no confidence in the new regime or just a natural development after a world cup cycle?

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Post by Guest on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 10:58 am

The issue is that it's not a new regime, is it. The players won't feel like there's a clean slate or exciting times ahead. They know what's coming, they've just experienced it. I can't help but feel there's something poisonous about Farrell's ambition.

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Post by rodders on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 11:06 am

miaow wrote:The issue is that it's not a new regime, is it. The players won't feel like there's a clean slate or exciting times ahead. They know what's coming, they've just experienced it. I can't help but feel there's something poisonous about Farrell's ambition.

That is kind of my point, the players know Farrell and to a lesser extent Easterbuy by now, so if they are considering bowing out of the Irish system already, one could conclude they aren't overly positive about the new set up.

Did Nucifera jump the gun last season with Farrell's appointment as Schmidt's successor? It's too early to say but with several stalwarts looking abroad already it's not the best start.
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Post by SecretFly on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 11:15 am

rodders wrote:So there is talk of Aki and Marmion jumping ship to England/France.

Could this be interpreted as an early vote of no confidence in the new regime or just a natural development after a world cup cycle?


Or an early inkling of new Head Coach's lack of confidence in them?

I think they'll hold though.  Virtually all players (or their agents) put out hints about them going off to pastures new just before contract discussions.  Of the two though, I'd think Marmion might be the more serious possibility.  Probably feels his International ambitions are running away from him now.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 12:54 pm

SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:So there is talk of Aki and Marmion jumping ship to England/France.

Could this be interpreted as an early vote of no confidence in the new regime or just a natural development after a world cup cycle?


Or an early inkling of new Head Coach's lack of confidence in them?

I think they'll hold though.  Virtually all players (or their agents) put out hints about them going off to pastures new just before contract discussions.  Of the two though, I'd think Marmion might be the more serious possibility.  Probably feels his International ambitions are running away from him now.

Or an early inkling that Farrell has so much faith in them he'll pick from overseas!

Blade is already almost first choice at Connacht so if Marmion is going to go it's now or never.
Wouldn't be surprised if Aki patched up with Lam and went to Bristol for the big bucks.

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Post by profitius on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 4:18 pm

rodders wrote:So there is talk of Aki and Marmion jumping ship to England/France.

Could this be interpreted as an early vote of no confidence in the new regime or just a natural development after a world cup cycle?

Aki will be 30 in April and there seems to be a number of centers around the provinces now including Peter Robb in Connacht. I don't think he's going to get a bumper deal from the irfu and personally I can do without seeing more dropped passes from himself and Robbie 'boobs for hands' Henshaw.


Marion is a different story. We don't have many proven 9s so I wouldn't mind him staying although it's not essential
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Post by SecretFly on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 9:20 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:

Or an early inkling that Farrell has so much faith in them he'll pick from overseas!


I wouldn't prematurely leave the country with such an inkling whispering that thought into my ear.

Maybe more money is more of an inducement than Ireland under Farrell' but I think Aki would still be hungry to hunt for International glory. Despite the disappointments at times, I think he got his greatest kicks out of International.

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Post by rodders on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 10:21 am

I think it isn't Farrell's say to pick non home based players, I don't see any change to the current policy or we could have an exodus on our hands.

Aki and Marmion would be missed but we have plenty of options in those positions.

Back row is the biggest issue for me, in fact I'm surprised the IRFU allowed so many imports - Botha, Butler, Coetzee, Fainga, Fardy, Cloete etc. I think they got a bit complacent in that area and injuries have exposed the lack of depth in the last year or so.
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Post by profitius on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 7:56 pm

miaow wrote:The issue is that it's not a new regime, is it. The players won't feel like there's a clean slate or exciting times ahead. They know what's coming, they've just experienced it. I can't help but feel there's something poisonous about Farrell's ambition.


I dunno. People say Farrell was the cause of England's 2015 world cup disappointment but I have never seen any evidence.


He seems to get on well with Lancaster, Gatland took him on 2 lions tours and he wouldn't be Ireland's new coach unless he is popular within the squad. I also think he keeps a low profile in terms of being in the public eye so there's little evidence of a big ego.


How he'll do is another matter. He might be a flop but I think he'll do ok. I'd say he is a better man manager than Schmidt and he will give the players greater freedom to make their own choices.
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Post by Guest on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 8:22 pm

Do you think Farrell's as popular within the squad now as he was last November? Tbh I don't think that's even part of the criteria for selecting a coach. Either way, you can still be well respected and bring value for a period of time before stepping on toes and playing your part in things going wrong at some undefined point. For Farrell, the fact the 2 WC campaigns he's been involved in have, effectively, followed similar templates set alarm bells off for me, personally.

I think it's important to note that Farrell isn't your typical assistant. He's not a yes man like Howley, or a bit part player like Danny Wilson for Scotland. He takes a much more hands on role.

Either way, he's got what he wants now - I think he always hoped to replace Lancaster with England tbh - and that's the top job, so have to see how he goes.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 9:34 pm

Well so be it.  Ireland are the lab rat.  Ireland's adventures, good or bad, over the next few years will define both Farrell as a Head Coach and us as a team.
Since none of us can truly know how that will go, it's easy enough to just relax and wait to find out.

Personally, I'd have preferred a more complete clear out of assistant coaches and perhaps that will be on his agenda over the next few years.  We can suggest Farrell has a habit of being around when bad things happen at WCs but on both occasions you could also argue that he couldn't influence who he worked with and so wasn't responsible for the overall 'product' on display.  To an extent, now he can choose and of course he won't be able to hide if things don't work out this time.

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Post by rodders on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 9:52 am

SecretFly wrote:Well so be it.  Ireland are the lab rat.  Ireland's adventures, good or bad, over the next few years will define both Farrell as a Head Coach and us as a team.
Since none of us can truly know how that will go, it's easy enough to just relax and wait to find out.

Personally, I'd have preferred a more complete clear out of assistant coaches and perhaps that will be on his agenda over the next few years.  We can suggest Farrell has a habit of being around when bad things happen at WCs but on both occasions you could also argue that he couldn't influence who he worked with and so wasn't responsible for the overall 'product' on display.  To an extent, now he can choose and of course he won't be able to hide if things don't work out this time.

I think the thing is when Schmidt decided to leave last year the biggest thing we would have wanted was continuity to build on the systems he has implemented.

After a very disappointing RWC and 2019 generally the perspective is totally different, a fresh start is probably a lot more desirable now but the decision has been made.

Farrell deserves a fair chance, it's very difficult to judge him in his career so far. He's been selected on 2 Lions tours by Gatland ahead of Sean Edwards so he must have something about him. When he joined our set up Ireland were in a bit of a dip and we definitely saw an upswing with the win a narrow test series loss in SA.

On the flip side how culpable was he for England's 2015 RWC campaign and indeed Ireland's 2019 one? I guess we will find out.

Also over the last few seasons we've had a very strong NZ influence in the coaching set up. Now this has shifted towards the ex- England crew with Farrell, Catt, Lancaster, Roundtree all having major roles.

Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen but it is bound to present a change in playing style and culture.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 10:59 am

rodders wrote:

Also over the last few seasons we've had a very strong NZ influence in the coaching set up. Now this has shifted towards the ex- England crew with Farrell, Catt, Lancaster, Roundtree all having major roles.

Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen but it is bound to present a change in playing style and culture.  


Very true.  It's a major change of focus in terms of 'influence' to an English overview of the game - albeit at times still heavily influenced by New Zealand philosophy in the person of Lancaster, who spent time in New Zealand undoubtedly studying their ways and who is an obvious fan of their brand.

But yes, it's a risk to have so many English eggs in the one basket, considering England itself went for Aussie and Kiwi coaching blood for their International side. But then it's risk no matter what decisions are made today to plan for a future.

One thing I will say though about the 'English' way, and maybe I've said it before on these pages, I regard it as a vey honest philosophy about how to play.  I think honesty is demanded of players week in and week out... i.e., consistency of effort.  If they have a team capable of playing a certain way, the English tend to push for that level to be mimicked in all games.  
For us, such a strict demand to play in a consistent tempo from Farrell and Catt might be the biggest plus coming down the line for us; because even under Schmidt, that habitual 'Irish' way has always been infuriating inconsistency of effort and tempo.  One game - all out kitchen sink stuff, next game a boring walk-fest of indolence.  

The English contingent on this island might finally kick that attitude out of us for good.  And if they could, it would be a major milestone in getting us the right philosophy to finally get past a WC QF stage.... and beyond.
I think it will need different emphasis on conditioning standards and such, and that's where the Provincial English contingent can assist some joined up thinking with their Irish International colleagues.

There is also, I suppose, another seeming truth encircling the concept of so many English coaches (post Internstional coaches) landing in Ireland.  Some of them will probably have ambitions to get another crack at their own Nation.  So, to a degree, Ireland is a testing ground for their ideas.  Back to the analogy of us being Lab rats.  Farrell will want to establish a blueprint for success that might catch the eye of the RFU.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 1:40 pm

rodders wrote:I think it isn't Farrell's say to pick non home based players, I don't see any change to the current policy or we could have an exodus on our hands.

Aki and Marmion would be missed but we have plenty of options in those positions.

Back row is the biggest issue for me, in fact I'm surprised the IRFU allowed so many imports - Botha, Butler, Coetzee, Fainga, Fardy, Cloete etc. I think they got a bit complacent in that area and injuries have exposed the lack of depth in the last year or so.
That was just a throwaway comment - the best Irish players are based in Ireland partly because of the policy. Sexton was a special case because of the paucity of viable alternatives. Beirne and Farrell were never going to make if they had stayed in Ireland, but they had to come home to prove they had become better players - and they've only gone part way to doing that. James Hart was hyped up in France but couldn't live up to it when he returned to Ireland.

Aren't Butler, Faainga and Clote nearly IQ? The fact they are being picked ahead of their provincial teammates suggests that those they're keeping out of the team aren't good enough, and they are setting a standard for the understudies to emulate.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 1:51 pm

profitius wrote:People say Farrell was the cause of England's 2015 world cup disappointment but I have never seen any evidence.

Which people?

Lancaster showed he was a good coach but when push came to shove he buckled under the weight of media pressure and changed his team at the worst possible moment. Suddenly his players lost faith in the systems and by extension in him. The changes brought the relationship between Stuart, Andy and Owen into question and no doubt had some bearing on dressing room harmony, but it was Robshaw's ineptitude on the pitch that was the ultimate deciding factor.

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Post by Pot Hale on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 2:10 pm

James Lowe didn't move to Leinster until November 2017 after he'd finished playing for Tasman in the Mitre 10 Cup Finals on 28 Oct, so he wouldn't residency qualify until first week of November 2020. His first opportunity for selection, therefore, may only be 6N 2021, unless Farrell puts him into the training group and uses him on the second/third tests on 9/16 Nov.

His three-year contract with Leinster ends next June. He'll be 28 next July 2020, and 31 for RWC 2023.

He has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and he moved from NZ because he knew his career could get cut short anytime through the disease which he continues to manage. He wants to earn as much money as he can for his family as he said in a 2018 interview.



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Post by Pot Hale on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 2:59 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
rodders wrote:I think it isn't Farrell's say to pick non home based players, I don't see any change to the current policy or we could have an exodus on our hands.

Aki and Marmion would be missed but we have plenty of options in those positions.

Back row is the biggest issue for me, in fact I'm surprised the IRFU allowed so many imports - Botha, Butler, Coetzee, Fainga, Fardy, Cloete etc. I think they got a bit complacent in that area and injuries have exposed the lack of depth in the last year or so.
That was just a throwaway comment - the best Irish players are based in Ireland partly because of the policy. Sexton was a special case because of the paucity of viable alternatives. Beirne and Farrell were never going to make if they had stayed in Ireland, but they had to come home to prove they had become better players - and they've only gone part way to doing that. James Hart was hyped up in France but couldn't live up to it when he returned to Ireland.

Aren't Butler, Faainga and Clote nearly IQ? The fact they are being picked ahead of their provincial teammates suggests that those they're keeping out of the team aren't good enough, and they are setting a standard for the understudies to emulate.

Jarrad Butler will residency qualify in August 2020 aged 29,2mo. He's got a contract extension until June 2022, when he'll be aged 31.
Colby Fai'inga joined Connacht in August 2018 so he wouldn't residency qualify until August 2023 aged 32. Contract due for review/renewal in June 2020.
Chris Cloete will residency qualify in Oct 2020, aged 29 yrs 8mo. He's got a two-year contract extension until June 2022, when he'll be aged 31,4mo.
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Post by Sin é on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 3:00 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
rodders wrote:I think it isn't Farrell's say to pick non home based players, I don't see any change to the current policy or we could have an exodus on our hands.

Aki and Marmion would be missed but we have plenty of options in those positions.

Back row is the biggest issue for me, in fact I'm surprised the IRFU allowed so many imports - Botha, Butler, Coetzee, Fainga, Fardy, Cloete etc. I think they got a bit complacent in that area and injuries have exposed the lack of depth in the last year or so.
That was just a throwaway comment - the best Irish players are based in Ireland partly because of the policy. Sexton was a special case because of the paucity of viable alternatives. Beirne and Farrell were never going to make if they had stayed in Ireland, but they had to come home to prove they had become better players - and they've only gone part way to doing that. James Hart was hyped up in France but couldn't live up to it when he returned to Ireland.

Aren't Butler, Faainga and Clote nearly IQ? The fact they are being picked ahead of their provincial teammates suggests that those they're keeping out of the team aren't good enough, and they are setting a standard for the understudies to emulate.

James Hart wasn't hyped up in France. He was 3rd or 4th choice in the clubs he was at. He was only every a stopgap solution for Munster and probably why Munster has Alby Mathewson on the books now. James Hart was only ever going to be 3rd/4th choice after Duncan Williams.
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Post by profitius on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 5:24 pm

Easterby is going to take over the defence according to the42.ie.

Farrell is taking more of a big picture role where he doesn't do as much coaching but oversees everything.
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Post by SecretFly on Sat 16 Nov 2019, 10:49 am

Seems to be a bit of sharp budgeting going on now in IRFU.  

It MIGHT work but as ever..... time will decide.  

I mean to say that it seems there is a bit of making resources work by changing hats around amongst assistant coaches to give a 'fresh' feel (might work) - and no intention of taking on board any other coaches.

Forwards coach becomes International standard defence coach overnight (might work), untried International scrum coach (might work) becomes International lineout coach (might work).  So it seems IRFU are saving some money on letting Farrell dedicate new roles to extant contracts.  And it might all work.  Farrell seems to have a real objective of changing the blueprint.  And despite our successes, we do need adaptations to the real rugby being played now at International.

But..... I have always had a high regard for IRFU smarts in making systems work for them and, to be blunt, allowing us to hit harder with our resources than should be expected, particularly at Provincial level.
And this is where I'm detecting the possible long term thinking smarts now.  Where was coaching money seriously invested this time?  Well do some of the present Provincial coaches come cheap?  I doubt it.

The hottest coaching tickets are now within the Provinces.  It's a common assumption that the most serious work in providing International standard players has to come from Provinces.  Provinces to date have been fulfilling that role to an extent.  But there have been obvious shortfalls that manifest themselves when the word 'consistency' creeps up.  The quality of our efforts have been too intermittent and fitful over the decades.

Farrell's coaching group who have far less quality time with players, should basically be a finishing school to honestly just mould the best parts of the Provinces together in a potent International unit.
I feel there will be more potential now for a hive mind collective approach to International given the calibre of former International coaches now sprinkled through the Provinces - and quite a few of them being past colleagues! - added to Farrell's seeming readiness to let other voices have a meaningful role.  In a sense, if we can tie in Provincial ambitions with National ambitions, ( the two way system should be mutually beneficial) then we become even closer aligned to the streamlining intelligence approach in New Zealand.

So it all might work..... or.........;  Whistle
But well let's be enthusiastic for now - and largely, I am.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 17 Nov 2019, 10:38 am

Joe championed the notion of delegating skills and systems coaching to the provinces, which is pro-active planning. The test coaches' challenge is to direct that effort because they don't have long enough with the players to talk about anything other than tactics.

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Post by profitius on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 9:37 am

All the provinces look like they're trying to play a more skilled based game now. Munster has even seen the light.


I'm sure Farrell will play a more natural style of rugby. That means he won't be obsessed about every tiny detail but will trust the players have those details from their provinces. That will leave Farrell being able to concentrate on big picture things like form, tactics etc and the players don't have to get bogged down about remembering if they should be standing 3.5m or 3.7m away from the outhalf.
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Post by Guest on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 10:09 am

The Great Aukster wrote:Joe championed the notion of delegating skills and systems coaching to the provinces, which is pro-active planning. The test coaches' challenge is to direct that effort because they don't have long enough with the players to talk about anything other than tactics.

This works if you're NZ and Hansen, and it just requires tweaking and helping out the 1%ers.

This doesn't work if you're Ireland. With the best will in the world, you cannot replicate what NZ have. Lancaster tried to do it - it doesn't work. They're the best of the best, for several reasons, and what works there will not work anywhere else. You cannot take the provincial game in to the test arena and expect it to work when it matters. Yes, they won 3 titles under Schmidt. One on points difference. But they absolutely flopped at 2 RWCs. That's what matters.

Argentina tried to do the same thing this year. This idea that club success = international success is clearly not black and white. The Jaguares' gameplan worked in Super Rugby. The systems, the attainment, the expectations, the tactics. Didn't work when playing test matches. Same with Ireland and Leinster and Munster. You'll pick up a win here or there v the ABs, but ultimately, despite having dogsh1t regions (bar the Scarlets, who have a title) since the Ospreys started their decline 8 years or so ago, Wales have been more successful than Ireland. Same number of 6Ns titles, and infinitely more competitive in RWCs. Despite playing an almost completely different system for Wales than the regions do.

This is the kind of idea that sounds great in a boardroom. Great when you get some medium term success. Great when you start to see wins and results and you pin it all on the idea that, yes, harmony is EXACTLY what is needed to win test matches. Yet it hasn't worked twice now. It arguably went even worse this year, when Schmidt tried a more top down, hands on, micromanaging approach.

I cannot believe 'more of the same...just better, and more aligned' is the thinking here. It's insane. You (nor anyone else) are not New Zealand. You cannot compare thumping Zebre, the Dragons, and Kings one week before beating a spirited Munster, Glasgow, or Scarlets the next week as analagous to what's required at test matches. Not just the system but the style and demands of rugby are different, too. You can only select your best 23 players on the day - depth helps hone the 23, keeps them sharp, fresh, but ultimately, all the 'support systems' matter not a jot. The gap is generally pretty tight between Wales, England, and Ireland at test level, has been for 10-15 years. Subtle differences between them, really. England a bit more bulk, Wales a bit more flair, Ireland a bit more savvy. Coaching often mitigates the differences. That's not what the Irish experience at provincial level. Even in Europe.

Ireland are behind NZ, clearly, but then also South Africa, as a 'rugby country'. You cannot imitate what Rassie or Hansen do and expect to beat their national teams, in my honest opinion. Unless you create a truly better rugby country/system than England and France, and become the best in Europe. But the fact Ireland import so much of their 'top level' talent - project players for the most part; lots of coaching personnel as well - shows that that system might work, but it's unlikely, and it still needs 'external' help. Let Irishmen learn external ideas by going overseas for a bit, would be my thinking. At the very least, get real about the idea of 'the system' and how you're unlikely to be any higher than 4th in the world (1. NZ, 2. SA, 3. England...4/5/6/7 between Oz, France, Ireland, and Wales, in that order probably) in 'real terms' (and not just for a few weeks in the rankings) if you expect excellence for the provinces to translate to something close to that at test level. Even NZ got caught out this year by relying on their homegrown systems. If this is what the IRFU has in store, it's insane, and Farrell must be telling the suits what they want to hear, what makes 'sense' - yes, that's it, get Lancaster and Rowntree in and let's have another crack at what sort-of worked in 2011-2015, but ultimately doesn't, but let's do it in green instead of white - in order to fulfil his personal ambition, which is top be a head coach at the top level. It's regressive and, I would suspect, weakness from bowing down to the forceful character of your defensive coach.

Rugby is still a small sport. It's not inconceivable that Ireland can win a RWC before it's too late, when the game is so global that Ireland and 'the other Celts' slip down the rankings and are out of the bigger picture. That might take 50 years, it might not, but either way, you CAN get there...you CAN win a RWC...but it needs some realism. You're never going to dominate and you're not going to be world leaders in the sport. Eddie Jones showed the way with a far more potent 'system'. Still fell short. That's how hard it clearly must be, and how much 'better' SA and, particularly, NZ are in spite of monetary differences to England. Money is what separates the North from the South - but it only goes so far. For every Stander you cannot 'take' a Vermeulen to Ireland. You cannot keep Rassie there - his heart lies in SA. Same for Gatland with Wales. Same with T'eo or whoever for England. We recruit 'better than us' from the SH, but not the best, at least on the field. England know this. They've got a centre heading down to NZ later this season. I don't understand why Ireland have somehow ended up with Schmidt's system - top down, centralised - with an unproven head coach, and English coaches throughout the provinces. English coaches are clearly great - Lancaster is clearly very good - but they're not world leaders. You're not just a step behind NZ and SA, it seems like you're a step behind England as well.

I'm writing too much, but yeah. Madness. Crazy idea. I get it 'makes sense' but surely I'm not the only one who sees the huge flaw in this plan?

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Post by rodders on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 11:27 am

miaow wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:Joe championed the notion of delegating skills and systems coaching to the provinces, which is pro-active planning. The test coaches' challenge is to direct that effort because they don't have long enough with the players to talk about anything other than tactics.

This works if you're NZ and Hansen, and it just requires tweaking and helping out the 1%ers.

This doesn't work if you're Ireland. With the best will in the world, you cannot replicate what NZ have. Lancaster tried to do it - it doesn't work. They're the best of the best, for several reasons, and what works there will not work anywhere else. You cannot take the provincial game in to the test arena and expect it to work when it matters. Yes, they won 3 titles under Schmidt. One on points difference. But they absolutely flopped at 2 RWCs. That's what matters.

I'd say Ireland systems do work exceptionally well, for the provinces and national side, anyway - the club system has all but been abandoned.

NZ, SA and England have far more resources but we've managed to consistently be one of the top sides, whilst the provincial sides have had tremendous success in Europe, so I would say we are punching well above our weight for nearly 2 decades.

Where we have failed is at World cups, probably for that reason - RWC success is not about consistency but peaking every 4 years and long term planning.

In Wales there is nowhere near the appetite or emphasis on the regions, therefore their players are able to peak for the national side and do very little outside that.  

Ironically the exodus of big names to England and France has probably helped them produce depth as well, as effectively the regions are development teams.

Ireland's insistence in keeping players at home has probably impacted our depth bit as there are too limited opportunities for players to get game time. I don't see that changing any time soon so we have to get used to the fact we are going to have dips with such a small player pool.
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Post by SecretFly on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 2:08 pm

International might indeed become more competitive on a Global scale before we get a chance to have a genuine shot at the WC.  Yes, time might be cruel and the USA might win one before we do, or Georgia might, or Japan might.  Yes, time might decide that we'll never win a World Cup - ever.

So be it.  Time is time.  What can we do?  Nothing.

In the meantime though, we have an International side still Comfortably within the Tier1 brand.  Yes people will fight about brands/styles/philosophies.  But the truth is that we're still good enough in our best form days to beat any side that currently plays rugby union in this here old world.  We naturally forget the larger picture after a WC like we had.  
But personally, I'm not sure I ever believe in this fatalistic approach to these things...... i.e., we proved again that we can't get past the QFs.  No, all that we proved is that we can be beaten - and that's been proved plenty.  We won't get past a QF until the day that we do get past it...just like the AB hurdle that took us so long.  Time happens and the world is moving.

So after all the talk of coaches, systems, NZ, England, Wales and the Provinces..... what is the one fundamental thing Ireland consistently don't have that stalls our machine, puts a spanner in the works, clogs the drains and evaporates our dreams?  What has been the one consistency despite many head coaches, including Gatland, through the years from let's say a starting point of professionalism?

Inconsistency in performance.  That's what.  Simple, pointed, repetitive, historic inconsistency of performance one game to the next.

Oh shut it Fly!  Every team suffers from inconsistency over time!  Look at England.  Smashed New Zealand then underperformed massively against SA.  It happens to other teams too.

HorseSchidt says I, coz you all know what I mean.  Probably the only other Tier 1 team in the world, and certainly in Europe, that puts in such erratic performances in terms of basic skills on display is France - and even they are more consistent than we've been as they've been generally more bad than reasonably good in recent years.  We've been exceeedingly good to laughable.  That is the true definition of the A grade Inconsistency I'm on about.  England weren't humiliated against SA.  SA just simply beat them well, playing a better game.
Humiliation comes from what you do on the field not what the opposition does.  We've looked comical at times and historically, regardless of Head coach, we've drifted from sublime to ridiculous, often in two short weeks.

That's the final 'systemic' repeater problem that needs to be sorted.  And it is systemic.  It has little to do with gameplans, strategies or inherent ability of players.  Indeed, in the earlier years we always had the excuse of players not being good enough.  Our Quality playing pool has increased dramatically since those days.  These players can play, forwards and backs, they have the skill sets to compete at the highest levels but still the absolute implosions happen with regularity at International level.

It's the next big fix objective on the horizon and it'll have to be a linked in process between Provinces and International coaches.  Fix it, find the sources and causes (perhaps age-old conditioning habits, perhaps psychological shortfalls that can be addressed with continuing funding and science, perhaps continuing frictions with traditional Provincial feuds [so funny yet sad to hear Zebo, who currently plays in France, saying recently that he would never, ever, never, ever play for Leinster], laziness, complacency, whatever.

Fix it and we'll be Free to be the Best Side in the Woylde and three in a row World Cup winners!!!!!Ha! Ha! Yahoo

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Post by Guest on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 2:09 pm

Yes, I suppose it completely depends on what you value. If you want continued provincial success - Leinster are second only to Saracens in Europe, and have been ahead of them recently - with a 6Ns title here or there, then keeping things in house makes sense.

Perhaps I'm naive thinking the IRFU wants a RWC trophy.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 2:30 pm

miaow wrote:Yes, I suppose it completely depends on what you value. If you want continued provincial success - Leinster are second only to Saracens in Europe, and have been ahead of them recently - with a 6Ns title here or there, then keeping things in house makes sense.

Perhaps I'm naive thinking the IRFU wants a RWC trophy.

No, they want to survive first.  They want to survive in a harsh world where no other Union really gives a damn about any other Union.  We're all in this alone.  And alone is the best place to be to make selfish long term decisions rather than being Pied Pipered into rash ones that could kill you off.

You only have to look at some Welsh threads to see the fine lines between perception of success and failure.  In other words, you might throw your question back at some Welsh posters.  Does the WRU want a WC or does it want to survive?  They have done very well at this WC and in Six Nations, but even now you hear Welsh voices here question the continued existence of the Professional game in Wales.... stresses everywhere.  Players delighted to get to International training.  Players happy to win their 'club' prizes in external clubs.  WRU having to play Internationals outside International windows to keep funds coming in.....

So first survival...then, if a blue moon shines and preparations hit the mark one WC year....maybe, just maybe a WC.

I think IRFU are doing things right.  All the way.  Provinces must be protected.  Home grown rugby heroes must play for home grown sides that either win or at least compete at the highest levels.  Getting hired in Irish Saracens, Clermont or Scarlets stars is not my idea of a successful model for successful living, profitable rugby within Ireland itself.

I think our problem - I mean we that exist on this World right now - is that we often selfishly think all experiences will and should come to us.  But why should they?  Perhaps we might not even get past a WC QF in my lifetime.  Perhaps fate has entrusted that boost to another generation.  So be it.  Not everything that I'd love to happen will happen in my lifetime.  But time will go on and I think IRFU philosophy about how best to grow and consolidate Rugby Union in Ireland will pay bigger dividends eventually than a few 6N titles.  If I'm not around to cheer about it....well, there you go....for another generation to enjoy a 'First'.

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Post by rodders on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 3:53 pm

miaow wrote:Yes, I suppose it completely depends on what you value. If you want continued provincial success - Leinster are second only to Saracens in Europe, and have been ahead of them recently - with a 6Ns title here or there, then keeping things in house makes sense.

Perhaps I'm naive thinking the IRFU wants a RWC trophy.

They do but they just don't value it enough to sacrifice 6N success and the economic benefits that come with it.  Reaching the last 4 was a stated objective for Schmidt and we fell one game short again. Results wise that isn't too far off our RWC target.

I do predict we'll see Irish teams win both this years champions cup and Pro 14 and probably see a likely top 2 finish in the 6N.

That will probably add to the questions of what happened in the RWC, rather than make up for it but we can't turn the clock back...
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Post by Guest on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 4:38 pm

rodders wrote:
miaow wrote:Yes, I suppose it completely depends on what you value. If you want continued provincial success - Leinster are second only to Saracens in Europe, and have been ahead of them recently - with a 6Ns title here or there, then keeping things in house makes sense.

Perhaps I'm naive thinking the IRFU wants a RWC trophy.

They do but they just don't value it enough to sacrifice 6N success and the economic benefits that come with it.  Reaching the last 4 was a stated objective for Schmidt and we fell one game short again. Results wise that isn't too far off our RWC target.

I do predict we'll see Irish teams win both this years champions cup and Pro 14 and probably see a likely top 2 finish in the 6N.

That will probably add to the questions of what happened in the RWC, rather than make up for it but we can't turn the clock back...

I think that's a worrying indictment of where Irish rugby is, then, as if you cannot properly prepare for winning a RWC despite the platform they have and still win 1 6Ns out of 4, which is what Schmidt did in this cycle. I also have to pull you up on the idea Schmidt was 1 game away from the SF - I'm too tired to think of the idiom that I think is relevant here, about being physically close but far all intents and purposes absolutely miles off in a more abstract sense, but it applies. Ireland were literally 1 game away from the SF, but in reality, they never stood a chance. There were 5 games that showed how far Ireland were from a SF and, by nature, competing for the trophy in any real sense - 1. getting well beaten by England in Dublin, 2. getting thumped by Wales in Cardiff, 3. being utterly torn apart by England in Twickenham, 4. getting done by Japan, and then, finally, 5. having their backsides handed to them by NZ. Saying they were 1 game away from the final smacks of Schmidt after the Wales game saying it was 1-1 in tries. Yeah, but...come on now...

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Post by rodders on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 5:00 pm

miaow wrote: Ireland were literally 1 game away from the SF, but in reality, they never stood a chance. There were 5 games that showed how far Ireland were from a SF and, by nature, competing for the trophy in any real sense - 1. getting well beaten by England in Dublin, 2. getting thumped by Wales in Cardiff, 3. being utterly torn apart by England in Twickenham, 4. getting done by Japan, and then, finally, 5. having their backsides handed to them by NZ. Saying they were 1 game away from the final smacks of Schmidt after the Wales game saying it was 1-1 in tries. Yeah, but...come on now...

That is all true but it doesn't change the fat that we were 1 game from the SF, which was (incorrectly in my view) the stated target for the RWC.

The biggest issue for me was the loss to Japan confirmed what was identified in the 6N and warm ups, that we weren't really contenders for this RWC.

Ultimately though there is the winner and everyone else. Japan and SA can claim the RWC was a success, for everyone else it was a failure of varying degrees.
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Post by Guest on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 5:14 pm

SecretFly wrote:
miaow wrote:Yes, I suppose it completely depends on what you value. If you want continued provincial success - Leinster are second only to Saracens in Europe, and have been ahead of them recently - with a 6Ns title here or there, then keeping things in house makes sense.

Perhaps I'm naive thinking the IRFU wants a RWC trophy.

No, they want to survive first.  They want to survive in a harsh world where no other Union really gives a damn about any other Union.  We're all in this alone.  And alone is the best place to be to make selfish long term decisions rather than being Pied Pipered into rash ones that could kill you off.

You only have to look at some Welsh threads to see the fine lines between perception of success and failure.  In other words, you might throw your question back at some Welsh posters.  Does the WRU want a WC or does it want to survive?  They have done very well at this WC and in Six Nations, but even now you hear Welsh voices here question the continued existence of the Professional game in Wales.... stresses everywhere.  Players delighted to get to International training.  Players happy to win their 'club' prizes in external clubs.  WRU having to play Internationals outside International windows to keep funds coming in.....

So first survival...then, if a blue moon shines and preparations hit the mark one WC year....maybe, just maybe a WC.

I think IRFU are doing things right.  All the way.  Provinces must be protected.  Home grown rugby heroes must play for home grown sides that either win or at least compete at the highest levels.  Getting hired in Irish Saracens, Clermont or Scarlets stars is not my idea of a successful model for successful living, profitable rugby within Ireland itself.

I think our problem - I mean we that exist on this World right now - is that we often selfishly think all experiences will and should come to us.  But why should they?  Perhaps we might not even get past a WC QF in my lifetime.  Perhaps fate has entrusted that boost to another generation.  So be it.  Not everything that I'd love to happen will happen in my lifetime.  But time will go on and I think IRFU philosophy about how best to grow and consolidate Rugby Union in Ireland will pay bigger dividends eventually than a few 6N titles.  If I'm not around to cheer about it....well, there you go....for another generation to enjoy a 'First'.

Some fair points there Fly. Well many fair points. I suppose Ireland's continual underperformance at RWCs in the proper professional era - let's say 1999 or even 2003 - is a sign that something's not going well. Particular 3 of the last 4, having beaten Australia in 2011 before getting well turned over by a really excellent Welsh team, better than the current crop we saw in Japan, I'd say. 3 of the 4 have been serious underachievements - with 2015 probably being the least embarrassing of the lot.

It seems to me it's a nice idea about survival and self sufficiency - Ireland is in a different boat in that regard to any of the UK or Europe. Different reasns, different attitudes. Good ones. Rugby is a growing sport over there, but it's clearly not THE most important game in Ireland, even if it might be in terms of representing Ireland on the world stage (has it surpassed soccer yet?). But it's just a nice idea that isn't really followed through with, in my view, as so many of the Irish are in fact, well, not Irish. If you strip international sport back to what it used to be 20-30 years ago - the coach and the players are really 'Irish' - then you'd be without Schimdt, Stander, Aki, all those imports who have played for the national side or Leinster and Munster over the years and contributed to their huge success. To see more accurately where 'Ireland' is as a home grown, self sustaining, rugby nation, you take away those imports and I think you'd realise that, yes, maybe you can 'survive'...but around 6th/7th in the world, with no real chance at the top table or of winning either in Europe at club and test level, or by having a shot at a RWC.

Ok, so fine - you say 'we're about survival, but imports...we'll accept imports'. They make the system better, stronger, they're here for a good time, not a long time. Maybe you say 'what is and Irishman anyway', but that's another discussion. I have a really tough time understanding how or why Ireland is better and stronger and more survival-ready by not picking Beirne until he's playing for a province, instead of selecting him while he's one of the best players in Europe, at a club where he clearly flourishes, after being rejected from the so-called survivalist system in Ireland. I do really, really struggle with that. Because a breadth of experience and expertise and abilities that comes from players and people moving and learning all benefits the common good. Clearly it does. Ireland recognises this - that's why their teams are full of overseas expertise and ability, from coaches to players, to backroom staff.

Ireland's position in rugby is 'artificial' in the sense that their success and position in rugby is buoyed by the finances they offer to James Lowe, Stander, and those before them like de Villiers, Rocky Elsom, Brad Thorn, Ruan Pieenar. That is part of the modern aspect - the financial aspect - which we now also accept as part and parcel of a team and nation's 'arsenal' when it comes to off field talent. That artifice doesn't seem to be about survival - it seems to be about excellence and competition, which you could argue is part and parcel of survival, but it seems a stretch. Overseas talent isn't a comprehensive 'good' - it results in apathy in some regards. It blocks talent, it prevents the desperate work to 'compete' with the English and French player base, or the SA and NZ skills. It dilutes the very idea and meaning of representative sport for many. So...to me...a lot of Irish rugby isn't about survival, it's also about aspiring to be great, and that includes a globalist approach to the game.

The very simple part I struggle with is the notion that the likes of James Ryan or Jordan Larmour or any number of the more talented Irish individuals wouldn't benefit from a year playing in the heat of English league rugby, week in, week out, slogging away, learning to deal with a truly pressured league environment, rather than in the relative comfort of Leinster. Or even go down to the SH - but that's a pathway made tricky by the lack of the global season. If that gets sorted out I can see it becoming a much more well trodden path. Added to that - and more realistic to that - is the idea of letting some players who clearly do better outside Ireland become eligible for the national team. Would Zebo or even Madigan help Ireland? Maybe. Donncha Ryan would, in my view, he was retired off far too soon. And then the other option - Irish qualified players who haven't come through the Irish system, but have other qualities and attributes that could aid the national side. This idea that you 'have' everything you need within Ireland is both arrogant and a bit delusional and based on copying NZ, and completely ridiculed by the sheer quantity (and quality) of imports to Ireland, both at provincial and international level.

If one of the primary sticking points is the discomfort with Irish players making English clubs better for all the historical and cultural reasons that might provoke...well, I get that. I do understand the worry there, that 'we're all out for ourselves' is a valid concern, even in the petty war that is capitalism and sport. But I also think that will ultimately hurt Ireland's attempts to succeed at test level by self inflicting a glass ceiling. I think, having hired Andy Farrell - an unproven head coach, someone who 8 years ago was no more senior than Simon Easterby - to replace Schmidt, with a system that seems to hamper a breadth of talent for the sake of top down management...there are a lot of mistakes being made in my view, and one where, from the outside, it only takes some minor tweaks to make Ireland a much better team. Less rigid, less centralised, more allowing and challenging players to be the best they can be.

But you know, it's hard to argue with the idea of protecting what you have. Oz and SA begrudgingly pick overseas players. Their domestic game has suffered greatly, and their decline would be the equivalent of Ireland dropping to about 10th in the world, consdering where they both should be/used to be. It's about finding the balance between the two, and maybe imports are the acceptable medium ground the IRFU will continueto aim for.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Mon 18 Nov 2019, 5:40 pm

oh jesus

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Post by Guest on Tue 19 Nov 2019, 8:32 am

not quite jesus. but close.

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Post by rodders on Tue 19 Nov 2019, 10:28 am

miaow wrote:

....
Ok, so fine - you say 'we're about survival, but imports...we'll accept imports'. They make the system better, stronger, they're here for a good time, not a long time. Maybe you say 'what is and Irishman anyway', but that's another discussion. I have a really tough time understanding how or why Ireland is better and stronger and more survival-ready by not picking Beirne until he's playing for a province, instead of selecting him while he's one of the best players in Europe, at a club where he clearly flourishes, after being rejected from the so-called survivalist system in Ireland. I do really, really struggle with that. Because a breadth of experience and expertise and abilities that comes from players and people moving and learning all benefits the common good. Clearly it does. Ireland recognises this - that's why their teams are full of overseas expertise and ability, from coaches to players, to backroom staff.
......
The very simple part I struggle with is the notion that the likes of James Ryan or Jordan Larmour or any number of the more talented Irish individuals wouldn't benefit from a year playing in the heat of English league rugby, week in, week out, slogging away, learning to deal with a truly pressured league environment, rather than in the relative comfort of Leinster. Or even go down to the SH - but that's a pathway made tricky by the lack of the global season. If that gets sorted out I can see it becoming a much more well trodden path. Added to that - and more realistic to that - is the idea of letting some players who clearly do better outside Ireland become eligible for the national team. Would Zebo or even Madigan help Ireland? Maybe. Donncha Ryan would, in my view, he was retired off far too soon. And then the other option - Irish qualified players who haven't come through the Irish system, but have other qualities and attributes that could aid the national side. This idea that you 'have' everything you need within Ireland is both arrogant and a bit delusional and based on copying NZ, and completely ridiculed by the sheer quantity (and quality) of imports to Ireland, both at provincial and international level.

......

I'm afraid you've undermined your own argument here. You can't argue that the RWC is the be all and end all measure of success, dismissing the provincial success the Irish provinces have had whilst simultaneously waxing lyrical about the qualities of Beirne based on his club form and suggesting that more Irish players should prove themselves at English clubs.

Either club success and individual form is an indicator of quality and success or it isn't.

Beirne hasn't performed well enough to be anything more than a bench option behind Ryan and Henderson, albeit a good one.

Larmour hasn't nailed down a starting spot at Leinster and James Ryan is competing with Toner and Fardy for his, so they could hardly find a more pressured environment than they are already in.
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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 19 Nov 2019, 11:10 am

rodders wrote:
miaow wrote:

....
Ok, so fine - you say 'we're about survival, but imports...we'll accept imports'. They make the system better, stronger, they're here for a good time, not a long time. Maybe you say 'what is and Irishman anyway', but that's another discussion. I have a really tough time understanding how or why Ireland is better and stronger and more survival-ready by not picking Beirne until he's playing for a province, instead of selecting him while he's one of the best players in Europe, at a club where he clearly flourishes, after being rejected from the so-called survivalist system in Ireland. I do really, really struggle with that. Because a breadth of experience and expertise and abilities that comes from players and people moving and learning all benefits the common good. Clearly it does. Ireland recognises this - that's why their teams are full of overseas expertise and ability, from coaches to players, to backroom staff.
......
The very simple part I struggle with is the notion that the likes of James Ryan or Jordan Larmour or any number of the more talented Irish individuals wouldn't benefit from a year playing in the heat of English league rugby, week in, week out, slogging away, learning to deal with a truly pressured league environment, rather than in the relative comfort of Leinster. Or even go down to the SH - but that's a pathway made tricky by the lack of the global season. If that gets sorted out I can see it becoming a much more well trodden path. Added to that - and more realistic to that - is the idea of letting some players who clearly do better outside Ireland become eligible for the national team. Would Zebo or even Madigan help Ireland? Maybe. Donncha Ryan would, in my view, he was retired off far too soon. And then the other option - Irish qualified players who haven't come through the Irish system, but have other qualities and attributes that could aid the national side. This idea that you 'have' everything you need within Ireland is both arrogant and a bit delusional and based on copying NZ, and completely ridiculed by the sheer quantity (and quality) of imports to Ireland, both at provincial and international level.

......

I'm afraid you've undermined your own argument here. You can't argue that the RWC is the be all and end all measure of success, dismissing the provincial success the Irish provinces have had whilst simultaneously waxing lyrical about the qualities of Beirne based on his club form and suggesting that more Irish players should prove themselves at English clubs.

Either club success and individual form is an indicator of quality and success or it isn't.

Beirne hasn't performed well enough to be anything more than a bench option behind Ryan and Henderson, albeit a good one.

Larmour hasn't nailed down a starting spot at Leinster and James Ryan is competing with Toner and Fardy for his, so they could hardly find a more pressured environment than they are already in.


Interesting to note that half the EPS is involved in the Premiership relegation battle this season, and quite a few of them having to look again at their tax returns and next years mortgage repayments. Thats certainly a different type of pressure to putting your feet up on the bench and applauding the hard work of your teammates.

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Post by rodders on Tue 19 Nov 2019, 3:25 pm

Interesting indeed, so England could be a good bet for the 6N wooden spoon?
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Post by Guest on Tue 19 Nov 2019, 4:17 pm

rodders wrote:
miaow wrote:

....
Ok, so fine - you say 'we're about survival, but imports...we'll accept imports'. They make the system better, stronger, they're here for a good time, not a long time. Maybe you say 'what is and Irishman anyway', but that's another discussion. I have a really tough time understanding how or why Ireland is better and stronger and more survival-ready by not picking Beirne until he's playing for a province, instead of selecting him while he's one of the best players in Europe, at a club where he clearly flourishes, after being rejected from the so-called survivalist system in Ireland. I do really, really struggle with that. Because a breadth of experience and expertise and abilities that comes from players and people moving and learning all benefits the common good. Clearly it does. Ireland recognises this - that's why their teams are full of overseas expertise and ability, from coaches to players, to backroom staff.
......
The very simple part I struggle with is the notion that the likes of James Ryan or Jordan Larmour or any number of the more talented Irish individuals wouldn't benefit from a year playing in the heat of English league rugby, week in, week out, slogging away, learning to deal with a truly pressured league environment, rather than in the relative comfort of Leinster. Or even go down to the SH - but that's a pathway made tricky by the lack of the global season. If that gets sorted out I can see it becoming a much more well trodden path. Added to that - and more realistic to that - is the idea of letting some players who clearly do better outside Ireland become eligible for the national team. Would Zebo or even Madigan help Ireland? Maybe. Donncha Ryan would, in my view, he was retired off far too soon. And then the other option - Irish qualified players who haven't come through the Irish system, but have other qualities and attributes that could aid the national side. This idea that you 'have' everything you need within Ireland is both arrogant and a bit delusional and based on copying NZ, and completely ridiculed by the sheer quantity (and quality) of imports to Ireland, both at provincial and international level.

......

I'm afraid you've undermined your own argument here. You can't argue that the RWC is the be all and end all measure of success, dismissing the provincial success the Irish provinces have had whilst simultaneously waxing lyrical about the qualities of Beirne based on his club form and suggesting that more Irish players should prove themselves at English clubs.

Either club success and individual form is an indicator of quality and success or it isn't.

Beirne hasn't performed well enough to be anything more than a bench option behind Ryan and Henderson, albeit a good one.

Larmour hasn't nailed down a starting spot at Leinster and James Ryan is competing with Toner and Fardy for his, so they could hardly find a more pressured environment than they are already in.

I don't think I have undermined it, and I'll have a go at why.

I'm not trying to be binary about this. It's not an either/or situation. Either club form and success is totally/mostly relevant, or it isn't. I'm starting from the position that Ireland wanting to keep everything 'in house' clearly hasn't helped them in the last two RWCs, and although has helped their provinces - which, fair enough, might be part of the point to keep the game alive and growing - hasn't really translated in to too much success for Ireland at test level. Yes, a few 6Ns here and there, the odd grinding win against the All Blacks. Improvement, development - clearly.

What I'm saying is that I believe the Irish team would be better for picking a breadth of ability, experience, and skills - and that you get that on and off the field from leaving the comfort zone. If your own nation is the best system in the world, then yeah, so be it - do like the Kiwis do and remain rigorously vigilant about the idea of nationality and self sufficiency.

The example of Beirne is a really good one. The 'rational' thinking would be that Beirne's lack of success back at Munster is an indicator that he's just. not. good. enough. That his slow start to his test career is a sign that he must do better. But that's where the crazy ideology falls on its @rse. It's 'logical', but logic is overrated when the logic fails to see the bigger picture. Beirne was rejected from the Irish system for starters, went on to absolutely shine in a team playing VERY different rugby to what he was asked to play in Ireland, and since his return has failed to retain what earnt him his big contract at Munster to begin with - which was his ability in a looser style of rugby, where he won a league and got to the latter stages of Europe in a team far less financially potent as at least 3 of the Irish provinces.

My point is this - the Irish system is not the best in the world, and therefore the idea that it is a good meritocracy is flawed. Some players will benefit from playing outside Ireland - for rugby and non rugby reasons. Many players would grow with the movement, on and off the field. Not least it will reveal that the hierarchy in Ireland isn't all it's cracked up to be, with someone like Larmour stuck behind a geriatric Kearney for Leinster because it suits the way Leinster play. In the same way Saracens' Alex Goode is great for their system, but not good enough for England (proven repeatedly) and not better than Liam Williams, despite being favoured to him in the 15 shirt. It's not a perfect either/or situation - it's not either use exactly what works in the provinces and treat it as an objective barometer of worth; or fling it all away and just guess.

My point is that you could strengthen Ireland's rugby team with a bit - not loads, but some - outside thiking and experience that isn't simply imported because of the favourable financial conditions i.e. that isn't a coach like Schmidt, or players like Aki, Stander, and Lowe. You could really allow Ryan to test himself and make sure he adds another string to his bow that might help him become a more likely RWC-winning captain if he plays in a tougher, week in week out league like the Prem. Or maybe it wouldn't. Who knows. The point is it's a very closed in system but there will be some who will benefit from being outside it. It's also coaching - and the idea that you can just 'lift' the provincial systems to Ireland is probably my main criticism. You need test rugby coaching that differs to club rugby, and that's been Ireland's failing in RWCs, clearly. For years.

You don't get that Larmour and Beirne aren't 'objectively', deservedly where they are because of some higher truth; they're where they are because the system Schmidt put in place favoured donkeys like Toner and safe, tired players like Kearney. With the best will in the world, Larmour would be picked ahead of Kearney in every other 6 Nations side, and after such a terrible RWC campaign and 2019, surely you're falling in to the exact trap I'm describing, which is 'trust the systems, just do it better and more'.

I get the point Fly makes about survival tbh. It's something more Ireland-specific than I'd considered. But from pure rugby terms, it just seems so glaringly obvious.

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Post by Guest on Tue 19 Nov 2019, 4:22 pm

Just one final point on Beirne - I said this at the time he signed for Munster, half as a joke, but Irish posters leapt on it as they took it seriously.

Beirne would have had a better career had he stayed in Wales at the Scarlets, qualified through residency this summer just gone, and played for Wales. Partly it's because there's less competition in the position he plays, but also because he clearly suited the Scarlets perfectly, and suited Welsh rugby very well as well. Better than he did Irish rugby.

And that's an issue - if your better players don't 'suit' the system to the point where they're no longer considered the better players, there's a fundamental fault in the system.

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Post by rodders on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 10:18 am

miaow wrote:
Beirne would have had a better career had he stayed in Wales at the Scarlets, qualified through residency this summer just gone, and played for Wales. Partly it's because there's less competition in the position he plays, but also because he clearly suited the Scarlets perfectly, and suited Welsh rugby very well as well. Better than he did Irish rugby.

I don't disagree with that but I think he has done pretty well at Munster, just not enough with Ireland, in the limited opportunities he has had, to challenge for a starting place.

Maybe that will change under Farrell but certainly under Schmidt the set piece was a big emphasis and as good a Beirne is around the pitch the other locks (Ryan, Henderson, Toner) offer a bit more in the scrum and line out.  

Copeland is another example where he hasn't built on the potential he showed at Cardiff. He had a super game for Connacht last week but his career lost momentum as a bit part player for Munster behind Stander and O'Mahoney.

I actually agree with a lot of what you are saying but just come to a different conclusion, in that although there are limitations and faults to the Irish system, on the whole it works very well.

Arguably we have overachieved with the quality of players we have had, to the point when we lose a few games in a season, it becomes a bit of a crisis.
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Post by SecretFly on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 11:56 am

The Welsh 'system' is now finished.  A new one begins.  It might prove to look quite similar initially but inevitably, a few new coaches operating together will eventually mould Wales to play a system and players that will, for good or bad, be indentified with them
Ireland is in the same position.  A 'system' ends.  Another one begins.

Beirne.  Many Welsh posters here continue to shine a light on him.  Perhaps that's inevitable given that they've perhaps been more conscious of him whilst playing for Scarlets.  Lots of wonderful club players in Ireland too.  But......

For me, I share Rodders views on Beirne so far.  Good Provincial/Regional player.  To date, I'd say he has under impressed at International.  Would he have excelled under Gatland had he chosen to qualify for Wales?  It can only ever be guesswork now.  I repeat, we have very effective Provincial players here that haven't always transferred to International upstepping.

So the only certainty now is the future but we can't predict it.  Both Wales and Ireland will gradually prove the existence of new 'systems'.  Will Beirne get his chance and prove he now suits a Farrell team more than a Schmidt team?  We'll see.  But if it happens, then you can be certain more players will put up their hand too and cry, "Me too!  I'd have suited Farrell more than Schmidt allowed me to suit him!"

I actually hope there is a lot of them putting their hands up, because if there is, then it means we've changed style....and that it's working. Wink

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Post by rodders on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 12:54 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Beirne.  Many Welsh posters here continue to shine a light on him.  Perhaps that's inevitable given that they've perhaps been more conscious of him whilst playing for Scarlets.  Lots of wonderful club players in Ireland too.  But......

For me, I share Rodders views on Beirne so far.  Good Provincial/Regional player.  To date, I'd say he has under impressed at International.  Would he have excelled under Gatland had he chosen to qualify for Wales?  It can only ever be guesswork now.  I repeat, we have very effective Provincial players here that haven't always transferred to International upstepping.

To clarify I do rate Beirne very highly, he's too consistently excellent at club level to not be good enough for Ireland.

I just take issue with people who think he is hard done by by schmidt. When he came across there were 3 established locks ahead of him and he hasn't yet done enough to upset the pecking order.

Dillane, Holland and Roux probably could present an equally compelling argument that they should have more caps.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 3:28 pm

miaow wrote:Just one final point on Beirne - I said this at the time he signed for Munster, half as a joke, but Irish posters leapt on it as they took it seriously.

Beirne would have had a better career had he stayed in Wales at the Scarlets, qualified through residency this summer just gone, and played for Wales. Partly it's because there's less competition in the position he plays, but also because he clearly suited the Scarlets perfectly, and suited Welsh rugby very well as well. Better than he did Irish rugby.

And that's an issue - if your better players don't 'suit' the system to the point where they're no longer considered the better players, there's a fundamental fault in the system.

miaow wrote:Argentina tried to do the same thing this year. This idea that club success = international success is clearly not black and white. The Jaguares' gameplan worked in Super Rugby. The systems, the attainment, the expectations, the tactics. Didn't work when playing test matches. Same with Ireland and Leinster and Munster. You'll pick up a win here or there v the ABs, but ultimately, despite having dogsh1t regions (bar the Scarlets, who have a title) since the Ospreys started their decline 8 years or so ago, Wales have been more successful than Ireland. Same number of 6Ns titles, and infinitely more competitive in RWCs. Despite playing an almost completely different system for Wales than the regions do.

On the one hand Beirne would have suited Welsh rugby very well because of his Scarlets form, yet on the other hand provincial form shouldn't be relied upon for Ireland. Why is regional form a good indicator for Wales but provincial form a bad indicator for Ireland?

Schmidt has presided over the most successful period in Irish Rugby history - he made Ireland a consistent top 8 team that now and again was a contender in the top 4. He experimented in the last 6N with the RWC specifically in mind and that cost him results. He had already proved that his team and style of play was successful the year before but that didn't account for the uniqueness of the RWC where only 31 players have to be rotated. That (ridiculous) constraint hampers teams with small player pools, because players with lesser average ability have to make up for that by raising workrate, and inevitably they run out of steam as the Tournament progresses. It is why Ireland are unlikely to ever win the RWC and getting past a fifth RWC game in a row is always going to be a challenge, never mind winning seven.

The template that is now used to build skills and systems at provincial level has unquestionably improved Ireland's average ability. Farrell doesn't seem to be a fool so why would he change it?

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Post by Guest on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 4:57 pm

I'm too knackered to reply to the points being made in any detail, but the danger with this is focusing on Beirne too intensely. Particularly because of the Scarlets connection.

It's not just about Beirne.

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