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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?


Last edited by profitius on Thu 17 Oct 2019, 10:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by profitius on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 8:51 pm

rodders wrote:
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.


Flannery was on a podcast during the week saying Copeland is one of the most impressive athletes hes ever seen. Unreal power to paraphrase him. Flannery also said Copeland only plays when his contract is up. In other words he barely does enough to get a contract.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 8:58 pm

profitius wrote:

Flannery was on a podcast during the week saying Copeland is one of the most impressive athletes hes ever seen. Unreal power to paraphrase him. Flannery also said Copeland only plays when his contract is up. In other words he barely does enough to get a contract.


Well there's honesty with a capital FU. That analysis by Flannery should increase Copeland's take home pay next time the old contract is up for renewal Whistle

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 20 Nov 2019, 9:06 pm

rodders wrote:
SecretFly wrote:



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


 

He'll have to improve plenty to prove he's good enough for Ireland, when in an Ireland shirt.  He now might get his second bite of the cherry with perhaps a new Irish playing style.  But the ball is still with him regardless of who is head coach or whatever the style chosen.  We don't want him doing a Copeland on us..... Cool

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Post by rodders on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 9:59 am

miaow wrote: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.

No I think your general point about individual player benefiting from playing overseas is valid. Bowe is a perfect example of someone who played his best rugby outside Ireland, and Ireland got the benefit of it.

Should we have shown the same flexibility to Beirne, Ryan and Zebo? Maybe, but there are valid reasons why the IRFU won't consider players outside the provinces and all things weighed up I think they have been justified.

At some point they might need to water it down a bit as wages continue to inflate in France and England, maybe implement a >50 cap rule to be selected overseas but for now I think they won't change the approach.
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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 10:10 am

Australia are talking about scrapping their rules on foreign based players off the back of South Africas surge from rubbish to RC and world champions after doing the same. 

Theres  an increasing trend back in the direction of an open market on test players, potentially at a cost to some domestic level teams.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 11:29 am

We have a running example in situ of an open market system and the effects on the International game.  It's called football.  
All roads lead to wealthy Europe.  Not really a World Game at all.  A coat with many colours and many flags for marketing purposes but a European product mostly serving European needs, desires and dreams.
Of 21 World Cups to date, 12 winners, 16 runner-ups, 17 3rd places and 13 4th places have gone to European sides.
And of those 12 winners - Italy 4 times, Germany 4 times, France twice, one each for Spain and England.
What parts of Europe have the big multi-billion Leagues?

So, for big League football, free market for players works, not just in sucking in best players from around the world to those leagues but then also in assisting their International teams to have the edge - knowing intimately how best players for other Nations play, learning skills from said players/coaches etc etc.

But it goes further when you use Ireland in the comparison.  For a while, the English (one of the big leaguers)used Irish players because the floodgates on true 'global' football hadn't fully become operational and the chequebooks weren't fully blank.  But now, they're largely not required.  Exotic highly skilled players can be brought in from wherever and money is no object.  Irish players have become journeymen, consigned to the lesser English leagues.  And from that sump Ireland (Republic bit anyway) have chosen to still select their 'International' side, because so many Irish football supporters regard their 'home' club side as some English town or city.  
So in order to hold the interest of the English Premiership watching Irish fans, FAI continue to choose ordinary players from substandard English clubs to represent us at International.
Incidentally, or not so incidentally, I fully believe that current Irish League champions, Dundalk, would destroy the Republic of Ireland team.  Indeed, the current Dundalk manager was animated when asked about the possibilities of an All Ireland League.  He had passion in the eyes when he readily said it would be good for football both sides of the border PLUS that Irish League sides would help International progress.  You could see what he was strongly intimating at to FAI (start picking home based players!). So the notions about what is right for an International game to progress might be starting to go the other way in football at least.  And what are they looking at as an example of a successful model? Perhaps rugby.

So there is the fable of what's on the cards if IRFU ever succumb to the notion that the majority of their International players can fly in from Saracens, Exeter, Northampton, Glasgow, Clermont, Toulon or London Irish.

Suicide.  Straight and simple suicide.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 2:12 pm

rodders wrote:
miaow wrote: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.

No I think your general point about individual player benefiting from playing overseas is valid. Bowe is a perfect example of someone who played his best rugby outside Ireland, and Ireland got the benefit of it.

Should we have shown the same flexibility to Beirne, Ryan and Zebo? Maybe, but there are valid reasons why the IRFU won't consider players outside the provinces and all things weighed up I think they have been justified.

At some point they might need to water it down a bit as wages continue to inflate in France and England, maybe implement a >50 cap rule to be selected overseas but for now I think they won't change the approach.  

Bowe benefitted from playing in Wales because he was able to prove a point to the IRFU. Whether his game improved is debatable but the sacking of O'Sullivan certainly improved his circumstances.

Why have any rule? The default should be to select the players who are the best fit with the coach's plan. Normally that will be home-based players because of their familiarity with the rest of the team and their accessibility afforded by the IRFU. It would only be an exception where the coach didn't have an alternative that an overseas pick would make sense, (such as Sexton).

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 21 Nov 2019, 8:52 pm

But why would Sexton be overseas in the first place?  

He'd be there firstly because he was offered a lot of money to go wherever he ended up - money a Province either couldn't or wouldn't spend on a single individual player.  
And two; he'd be over there because he knew that if an Ireland International coach wanted him and if he was good enough (and he would be if he was on the money Provinces couldn't pay) then he'd be brought in.  That is to say, lucrative career playing abroad and still getting the International call ups.

And.... if one player knew such a deal was on the table, it wouldn't be just one player.

And also, if a player like Sexton (let's say in prime form of a few years ago or even 2018) - if he or other such Irish players are helping a foreign team or two beat Provinces in big games, then he is also reducing the earning potential of the Provinces he's beating, he's reducing the sponsorship deals commanded by those Provinces, he's probably in time helping to reduce attendances, and he's therefore, directly or indirectly making it incrementally much tougher for Provinces to keep even the players they have as the ready money isn't always there to pay them sufficiently.

It's a one way train if it starts.  And if it starts, the train might be slow.  But it won't be slow for long if players got a sniff that playing abroad didn't impede their International ambitions.

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Post by Guest on Mon 25 Nov 2019, 2:14 pm


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Post by profitius on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 9:15 am

Mike Haley has been outstanding this season. He's putting himself in strong contention for the Ireland squad and dare I say - missed drop goal aside - JJ Hanrahan is starting to live up to his potential this season.
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Post by rodders on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 9:28 am

profitius wrote:Mike Haley has been outstanding this season. He's putting himself in strong contention for the Ireland squad and dare I say - missed drop goal aside - JJ Hanrahan is starting to live up to his potential this season.

I'm not that convinced by Haley to be honest but I'm glad to hear the plaudits he's getting as we need more options at 15. If Addison could stay fit he could challenge Kearney for the 15 spot this season.

Hanaran had a really good game against Racing and getting game time will only help him develop... but that was an absolute sitter he missed to win the game, Rog or Sexton would have knocked it over blind folded, so question marks will be there about his temperament for some time.

Billy Burns also is finally starting to show his quality at Ulster as well, I think he may force his way into the Irish squad, which is something we need with Sexton now getting on a bit. Similar to Addison he seems to get injured a lot but he is showing a lot more facets to his game this season, with his passing and running a lot sharper to add to an already excellent kicking game.

I think Farrell won't change too much initially but we are in a transition period so it is good to see so many players putting their hands up.
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Post by rodders on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 10:38 am

miaow wrote:

Thanks for sharing, I have to say I wish Joe hadn't stepped down, I think he is a great coach and has another RWC cycle in him.

Unfortunately coaches are remembered more for how they finished than what proceeded and he'll be defined a lot by a disappointing 2019 but the consistency and success he's had is matched by very few in modern times.

I think it is interesting he speaks so much about hoping Ireland don't change too much as a knee jerk reaction to the RWC.

I wonder if Joe suspects Farrell and his team to take a radically different approach and move away from a lot of the systems and culture he developed, or maybe just trying to give a friendly nudge to his successor?
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Post by Guest on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 12:30 pm

I had it on in the bakground yesterday and picked up quite a few interesting things. Thing it's well worth a 're listen'. Very revealing without, you know, baring his heart and soul. But quite a few interesting insights in to how he sees things.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 1:44 pm

rodders wrote:
miaow wrote:

Thanks for sharing, I have to say I wish Joe hadn't stepped down, I think he is a great coach and has another RWC cycle in him.

Unfortunately coaches are remembered more for how they finished than what proceeded and he'll be defined a lot by a disappointing 2019 but the consistency and success he's had is matched by very few in modern times.

I think it is interesting he speaks so much about hoping Ireland don't change too much as a knee jerk reaction to the RWC.

I wonder if Joe suspects Farrell and his team to take a radically different approach and move away from a lot of the systems and culture he developed, or maybe just trying to give a friendly nudge to his successor?    

I think he is a great coach too and really rate him. However, I think he completely emptied the tank in the 6 odd years he was at the helm and now was probably a good time to leave. Hard to imagine anyone maintaining the same level of hard work for much longer.

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Post by profitius on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 3:12 pm

So if we had a hypothetical top 40, what new players would be pushing into it?


I'm thinking...
Will Connors
Caelan Doris
Max Deegan
Ronan Kelleher
John Cooney
Marty Moore
Mike Haley
Tom Farrell

There's a more than a dozen more who could also be named but they face stiff competition. Jimmy O'Brien, Shane Daly, McCloskey, Goggin, Burns/Fitzgerald/Hanrahan, Gibson-Park, Blade, Dillane, Balacoune, Keenan etc.
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Post by rodders on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 10:37 am

profitius wrote:So if we had a hypothetical top 40, what new players would be pushing into it?


I'm thinking...
Will Connors
Caelan Doris
Max Deegan
Ronan Kelleher
John Cooney
Marty Moore
Mike Haley
Tom Farrell

There's a more than a dozen more who could also be named but they face stiff competition. Jimmy O'Brien, Shane Daly, McCloskey, Goggin, Burns/Fitzgerald/Hanrahan, Gibson-Park, Blade, Dillane, Balacoune, Keenan etc.

I think Billy Burns might get looked at.

Apparently Farrell is a big fan of Stu McCloskey as well, so he may come in from the cold but with Aki on the central contract now I would presume he is first choice 12.
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Post by Sin é on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 11:02 am

Well - Schmidt shredded in IRFU review by everyone.

Nucifora and Best place Japan blame on Schmidt
World Cup review shows that players were poorly prepared and suffered skills deficit

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/international-rugby/nucifora-and-best-place-japan-blame-on-schmidt-38755657.html

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/international-rugby/raidhr-oconnor-its-clear-those-joe-schmidt-worked-with-hold-him-responsible-for-teams-collapse-38756309.html
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 11:29 am

Sin é wrote:Well - Schmidt shredded in IRFU review by everyone.

Nucifora and Best place Japan blame on Schmidt
World Cup review shows that players were poorly prepared and suffered skills deficit

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/international-rugby/nucifora-and-best-place-japan-blame-on-schmidt-38755657.html

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/international-rugby/raidhr-oconnor-its-clear-those-joe-schmidt-worked-with-hold-him-responsible-for-teams-collapse-38756309.html

Paywall.

Can I ask you what exactly Best said?

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Post by rodders on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 11:44 am

Can't read those but seems to contradict what Best says here, where he suggest the leadership group and players need to take responsibility for slipping off -

https://punditarena.com/rugby/smcmahon/rory-best-almost-feeling-right-ireland/?fbclid=IwAR1Npw8SZ5CWE1aqcxgh3mqkQ02EarFE55PJ-0R7dKZNLzVxXuJWvIZMlXw

There is one comment though about Farrell seeing the bigger picture and delegating more than Schmidt, that is interesting....
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Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 11:45 am

The coach always gets blamed for RWC failures as every previous Ireland coach has in the past. No surprise really.

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Post by Sin é on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 12:07 pm

Sorry about that. Indo is not paywalled. You just have to register. From the Irish Times.


Ireland’s World Cup: ‘Too much detail and too much tension’, says Best
Information overload contributed to Ireland’s World Cup failure

Gavin Cummiskey

Rory Best “I think we started to become - not dictated to - but we just let Joe do everything.”



Rory Best believes that Ireland’s World Cup meltdown in Japan was impacted by “too much detail” from the coaches creating “too much tension” in the camp leading up to games.

The retired captain also cites “complacency” when revealing a clearer picture of how the national team’s fortunes went so badly askew in 2019.

“I think we started to become - not dictated to - but we just let Joe do everything,” said Best, speaking at a Specsavers Audiologist event in Dublin yesterday. “The great thing about 2018 was we had our own voice and our own mind. There was that freedom at the end of the week to step into a space to lead. You can’t just turn up at the Aviva stadium at five o’clock ‘Right, it’s our turn to lead.’ You can get a bit lost.

“I think in 2019 that end of the week space started to be filled a bit much with coaches.”

After the disastrous 57-15 defeat to England at Twickenham in August, the Irish leadership group - which includes Best, Johnny Sexton and Peter O’Mahony - approached head coach Joe Schmidt seeking increased player control 24 hours out from games.

No more meetings, they requested, and stop the information overload when players are already struggling to cope.

“After that England defeat we sat down with Joe and said ‘Listen, we trust you implicitly. We know you will get the tactics right. But on the flip side you are going to have to trust us that from Captain’s Run onwards to let us build in our own way.’”

This player driven approach, initially accepted by Schmidt, was abandoned, to Best’s regret, between the Scotland and Japan games at the World Cup, and there followed over complicated preparations before the 46-14 quarter-final defeat to New Zealand in Tokyo.

Best also feels the team could have been freshened up, with in-form players like Dave Kilcoyne, before the historic loss to the hosts in Shizuoka.

“Looking back, I do think a very, very small level of complacency has to have kicked in,” Best admitted. “You don’t go from 2018 (Six Nations champions, series win in Australia, unbeaten in November) to 2019 (five defeats) without that happening. It might only be one per cent from each player but add all that up over 30 odd players at that level can make a big difference.

“I think that we believed what everyone was saying. You are very quick to say ‘don’t believe what they are saying’ when it is negative but you are not as quick to say that when it is positive.

“We should have been more streetwise. Grand Slam, autumn (beating the All Blacks), swept the World Rugby awards and I think when we went to Portugal we slipped back to where we had been nearly even pre-Joe.

“We (the players) talk about how we nearly wasted those (summer) training camps before that week. It was seen as get the feet up to recover.

“I don’t think we slipped that far back but as a player group I don’t think we did the work that we maybe had done in the 24 months previous to that. Whenever you start to leave little bits undone they will always come back to bite you when you least want them to.

“There has to be a level of complacency.”

Best also revealed the players “were on edge, on edge, on edge” until victory in the opening Pool A match only to feel jaded come the Japan game six days later.

   Review suggests mounting anxiety a factor in Ireland’s World Cup woes
   IRFU review admits Ireland caught cold by Japan at World Cup

“When we had that Scotland performance we thought ‘We are back to where we were in 2018 and it will just roll on from here.’

“As a player group we needed to be stronger in that space.”

Did it become a suffocating environment?

“I just think (Schmidt) and the other coaches, if the players don’t fill the space, they are going to fill it,” Best replied. “It must be the hardest thing in the world to be a coach because you don’t control what happens (in a game). You can control everything up to that.

“Japan, because of the short turnaround, the Captain’s Run had to become more of a training session because we had things we needed to do in it.”

To clarify, does Best feel that the leaders should have seized control, by relaxing the flow of information, the day before matches?

“Ultimately, me as captain, needs to take a fair bit of that responsibility; were we just happy to go ‘we know how good Joe is and he says it is right, it is right’? Rather than going ‘You know what . . .’ We did challenge him a bit but we should have stepped up more during the Six Nations when it was going wrong and tried to lead a bit more.”

A specific example was the temporary change of coach-led meetings to Thursday evening.

“So from Friday morning there are no meetings. Because everyone is so uptight you can create a bit of craic, play a bit of touch, something just to ease the tension. If you have a meeting on Friday morning it starts to build the tension. All you are doing is starting here and it is only going one way. And then it crashes.”

Spectacularly, as it turned out.

“Too much detail and too much tension too early,” said Best. “If I’d known it was happening, I’d have stood up and said, ‘Look, I don’t think we need this.’ Joe just needed to trust . . . he’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with bar nobody, but just trust that it’s there.

“It (the quarter-final) was such a big game for him, such a big game for me. We both knew that lose and we're out, we're done, our careers over. Well, he might come back in now but certainly our Irish careers' were over. That creates tension in itself. You want to make sure no stone is left unturned, and sometimes by doing that you end up spoon feeding the players and they almost go 'Right, that's been said so I don’t need to mentally prepare for it.'

So, it seems, the devil was in the amount of detail.
“I don’t think we slipped that far back but as a player group I don’t think we did the work that we maybe had done in the 24 months previous to that.” “I don’t think we slipped that far back but as a player group I don’t think we did the work that we maybe had done in the 24 months previous to that.”

The flood of pre-match detail from Irish coaches also happened before the quarter-final, as Best explains: “The All Blacks was a really funny one because that was probably the best we’d trained in, I can’t remember how long . . . Again, you can’t start your match build up on the morning of the game. It’s got to be more about letting the boys breathe and have a little fun.

“If you ease it off people will build in their own way over the 24 hours. After the England game we said we would do that and then we took our foot off the gas and allowed it to be ‘Aw look, we won’t do the meeting Thursday, we’ll do it Friday’ and I probably just went ‘Yeah, I trust you.’


“It’s all about easing and breaking the tension a little bit.

“Then once we have the team meeting you get on the bus to the game and it’s the first time you’ve heard Joe speak in 24 hours and it’s really empowering and gets you ready to go. Whatever happened, the morning of the New Zealand game, the coaches wanted a huddle and to talk through some plays. I think there was a little worry that we hadn’t emphasised something enough.”

Schmidt has not mentioned this issue on his recent widespread media book tour.

“We had one (meeting) before that England game where we talked about the threat of Ben Youngs, and all that happened was we talked about the threat and we all got so hyped up and then Ben made I don’t know how many line breaks just by scooting,” Best continued. “Exactly what we talked about.

“I felt that probably happened the morning of the New Zealand game. It took three or four people to drop passes before there was a big ripple of laughter.”

Schmidt’s book did reveal that Best considered retirement in the wake of public outcry to the Ireland captain attending the Belfast r*** trial of former Ulster teammates Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding - both men were subsequently found not guilty - the week of the opening Six Nations game against France in 2018.

“You consider (retirement) because you want to do what’s best for the team. And at that stage there was a lot going on. I sort of felt the best thing for the team and for me was to retire. Ultimately, that’s what it was all based on, what was best for the team.

“And when he (Schmidt) said ‘No, we need you in Paris’ I didn’t give it a second thought because that was the reassurance you need to go ‘Right, this is the best thing for the squad.’ That is what ultimately drives you forward because you like to think you are an unselfish player and when you are that you would sacrifice anything for Ireland to succeed.”

Best is currently working on his own autobiography with the journalist Gavin Mairs. It’s not being published until March 2020 simply because they could not find the time to properly complete it for the Christmas market.

“When you’re 37, you don’t want to give anyone any excuse: ‘Oh, he’s 37 and he’s writing a book, is that why he’s not playing well, he’s old, is his priority playing for Ireland or making money?’ I didn’t want any of that, I wanted to focus on what was going to be my last tournament, my last representation of Ireland.”

He was unaware that Schmidt was working on the underwhelming ‘Ordinary Joe’ memoir throughout the failed Japan campaign.
Best on defeat to Japan at the Ecopa stadium
“For me personally it was tough. It’s a difficult one, at 37, playing 80 minutes to six days later turning around and playing again.” “For me personally it was tough. It’s a difficult one, at 37, playing 80 minutes to six days later turning around and playing again.”

“The logic of what we did at the time felt right: let’s just go really heavy at the first two games and then we can take two weeks into the next game, make a lot of changes and it is only now you look back and you see the real attrition in that first game (Scotland), the six day turnaround, with the move, the heat and everything.

“There is always in a team a few people who are really close (to selection), really nip and tuck, and someone might be a better player but someone is coming behind them who is on fire, and is playing above what they can do. You wonder whether a couple of those changes could have happened but, again, you are dealing in hindsight.

“I think as a player you trust the coach and that’s what we do. I think now we look and think could we have freshened the front five in some shape or form?

“If you inject Dave Kilcoyne to start that game, that burst of energy, someone coming in with the carrot of ‘you might be a starter for us - you are playing in the big game’ and the ripple effect that creates.

“For me personally it was tough. It’s a difficult one, at 37, playing 80 minutes to six days later turning around and playing again but then if you do not play your captain what does that say? If you don’t pick your strongest team what are you saying? I think we looked like a group of players who needed an injection of energy from somewhere and we just didn’t quite get it.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/ireland-s-world-cup-too-much-detail-and-too-much-tension-says-best-1.4104878?mode=sample&auth-failed=1&pw-origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fsport%2Frugby%2Fireland-s-world-cup-too-much-detail-and-too-much-tension-says-best-1.4104878
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Post by Sin é on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 12:10 pm

Gerry Thornley in Irish Times:

Review suggests mounting anxiety a factor in Ireland’s World Cup woes
Underestimation of Japan and failure to develop game plan also among main findings

The IRFU’s review into the 2019 Rugby World Cup has accepted that there were a number of mistakes made, most notably a failure to develop Ireland’s game, an overt focus on the opening pool match against Scotland while underestimating Japan and a failure to cope with the anxiety that increasingly afflicted staff and players from the Six Nations through to the tournament itself.

These were the main findings revealed at a media briefing yesterday by the IRFU’s performance director David Nucifora, who oversaw the report and also presented it to the Union’s management committee and professional game board yesterday.

Nucifora conducted the interviews of players and staff before and after the World Cup with the help of an independent consultant. This is understood to be Brian McNiece, who had the same role in the 2015 review.

On the vexed question of whether Ireland’s game should have evolved more after the successes of 2018, Nucifora said: “I know there’s been criticism over a period of what we should do, offload or counter-attack more.

“It’s not as if coaching staff don’t consider that, they consider everything,” he added, while stressing that the strength of Ireland’s performances had emanated from the clarity with which they played.

The time frame for developing Ireland’s game was also limited primarily to the eight-ten week build-up given the match focus of the Six Nations, Nucifora maintained. But he nevertheless concluded; “Should we have developed our game further? Potentially yes, with the benefit of hindsight.”

He cited the examples of the All Blacks and England unveiling a more evolved game whereas the ultimate winners, South Africa, stuck to their largely restrictive formula.

“There’s an argument for both sides around style, but should we have armed our players with more tools? I think, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have,” repeated Nucifora, who also said more could be done to improve players’ skill sets from provincial level through to the national team.

Noting that “the bell curve started to drop with performances” during the Six Nations, Nucifora said: “Straight away, there was a level of anxiety. Some of it was stress. It can manifest itself in staff and players. Going into the world’s biggest competition, we probably underestimated the level of support we needed to give staff around that area, helping them manage the expectation that was on them which came from the success they’d had.”

This, he also admitted, was one of the themes from 2015, which had prompted them to have Enda McNulty in situ with the squad for the duration of the World Cup, but clearly more could have been done.
Surprised us

Nucifora also admitted the primary focus in the build-up to the tournament was on the Scottish game, as it was perceived as “our biggest pool game”.

“Everything we worked towards was to have success [in that game]. We achieved that, but we’ve asked the question ‘did we get it wrong in not coupling it up?’ With a six-day turnaround, how would people respond when climbing the mountain and get the same level of focus, enthusiasm to perform against the home side who had nothing to lose?”

“We underestimated the intensity of what Japan were able to play at. That genuinely surprised us. Coupled with coming off Scotland, how we dealt with it, we got a few things wrong. If we had our time again, our focus would have been split more evenly about how we go about it.”

In the course of this review process, who reviewed Nucifora’s performance, or interviewed him?

“No one interviewed me,” he admitted. “Maybe they should have. That’s not a bad idea. I’m sure they will at some point. We’ll sit down and talk about you know how the season went, how the block of time went, but no my role is to look at this and be as objective and clear as I can as to how we went.”

The question seemed relevant as Nucifora himself, unlike any leading IRFU figure heretofore, had upped the ante last May by stressing: “We’ve got to get to a semi-final”. The clear inference was that anything less would not be good enough.

Speaking yesterday, he conceded: “Yea well, we shouldn’t judge the whole period on one game, basically, which is a quarter-final.”

”Everyone knows that there’s far more to what’s being achieved than just a quarter-final loss. But we can’t hide from the fact that that was one of our goals. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stating that, of saying, ‘that’s what we need to do’. I don’t see why we should shy away from that. Why does that make people nervous?

“It’s actually part of what we’re here for. In performance sport, you go out to win everything. So whether we say or don’t say it, that’s what it’s about. So I think we just have to dust ourselves off, become a bit more robust and get on with it, because the next one’s the same, we’ve got to get there.”

In all of this too, the buck ultimately stops with the head coach.

“I don’t think we’re blaming anyone, this isn’t an issue of blame,” said Nucifora, who stressed that Schmidt was “incredibly honest because even though he’s not going to be here, he’s poured his heart and soul into Irish rugby for 10 years”.

Interestingly, following Paul Dean’s departure , Nucifora said the former’s role as team manager would “not necessarily” be replaced.
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Post by Guest on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 3:05 pm

Rory Best “I think we started to become - not dictated to - but we just let Joe do everything.”

I could have told you that - in fact I said it here repeatedly in the build up and aftermath of the RWC. Didn't need to be a genius to work out he was a micromanager in the last 4 years, ultimately to the detriment of the team. Got too focused on the little techincal details that, ultimately, didn't matter a jot as the Wayne Barnes style of officiating the breakdown went out of the window at the RWC and the benefit of the doubt went to the attacking team.

Ireland/Schmidtball relied on playing the ref and grinding down the opposition in a way I've never seen any other rugby team play. It's a risky tactic as it relies on things outside your direct control as players (and a coach) to make it work.

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Post by rodders on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 3:42 pm

Thanks Sin. I think the headline is misleading, I don't read that as Schmidt being blamed.

It just sounds to me like, there was a bit of complacency and then a bit panic creeped in after some poor performances.

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Post by Guest on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 4:05 pm

Also, the stuff about goals and semi finals is the management culture of sport at its very worst.

Ireland are, in theory, good enough to win a RWC. What good does it do to make a semi final the white whale? Pointless, totally pointless - more stress. It's a needless goal that isn't actually that big of a deal. The prize for all the top 8 teams and maybe top 9 is to win the thing, even if that's not realistic for those outside the top 4 or 5. It's still possible, and should be the aim. Putting this target of a SF is both loser talk and something that managers can pat themselves on the back for if it is achieved, even if it's ultimately still losing.

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Post by Taylorman on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 6:19 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:The coach always gets blamed for RWC failures as every previous Ireland coach has in the past. No surprise really.

Especially when its their second attempt and theyve had another four years to do something about it and it ends up worse. No excuses there. Sits with the coach more than anyone. Schmidt will know that. NZ has also dumped every losing coach bar Henry, who did do something about it with the chance he had.

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Post by profitius on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 8:51 pm

rodders wrote:
profitius wrote:So if we had a hypothetical top 40, what new players would be pushing into it?


I'm thinking...
Will Connors
Caelan Doris
Max Deegan
Ronan Kelleher
John Cooney
Marty Moore
Mike Haley
Tom Farrell

There's a more than a dozen more who could also be named but they face stiff competition. Jimmy O'Brien, Shane Daly, McCloskey, Goggin, Burns/Fitzgerald/Hanrahan, Gibson-Park, Blade, Dillane, Balacoune, Keenan etc.

I think Billy Burns might get looked at.

Apparently Farrell is a big fan of Stu McCloskey as well, so he may come in from the cold but with Aki on the central contract now I would presume he is first choice 12.


Hopefully the central contracts are more of a carrot/reward for sticking around rather than guaranteeing their place in the squad. I would be surprised if Kearney is picked for example and I'm sure he's on a central contract.
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Post by rodders on Fri 06 Dec 2019, 12:53 pm

miaow wrote:Also, the stuff about goals and semi finals is the management culture of sport at its very worst.

Ireland are, in theory, good enough to win a RWC. What good does it do to make a semi final the white whale? Pointless, totally pointless - more stress. It's a needless goal that isn't actually that big of a deal. The prize for all the top 8 teams and maybe top 9 is to win the thing, even if that's not realistic for those outside the top 4 or 5. It's still possible, and should be the aim. Putting this target of a SF is both loser talk and something that managers can pat themselves on the back for if it is achieved, even if it's ultimately still losing.

I agree I think that was a major error of judgement to focus on that as a goal.
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Post by Taylorman on Fri 06 Dec 2019, 7:58 pm

rodders wrote:
miaow wrote:Also, the stuff about goals and semi finals is the management culture of sport at its very worst.

Ireland are, in theory, good enough to win a RWC. What good does it do to make a semi final the white whale? Pointless, totally pointless - more stress. It's a needless goal that isn't actually that big of a deal. The prize for all the top 8 teams and maybe top 9 is to win the thing, even if that's not realistic for those outside the top 4 or 5. It's still possible, and should be the aim. Putting this target of a SF is both loser talk and something that managers can pat themselves on the back for if it is achieved, even if it's ultimately still losing.

I agree I think that was a major error of judgement to focus on that as a goal.  

Yep, said that here a couple of years ago. Couldn’t believe the goal of a World Cup semi was inked in as a definable target. Winning this tournament should be the goal of every side in it. Whether that’s likely to happen is merely the challenge to be embraced. Besides, what makes the goal of the semi worse was the underestimation of Japan, especially for a coach that ‘likes to know his opposition’. Japan had a near unbeatable record vs tier two nations recently, won the Pacific cup, beat SA last tournament and had just thrashed Russia in the opening match.

What part of ‘gee, let’s take a look at who our pool opponents other than Scotland are’ is not a part of a semi final goal?

The panels findings are right.

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Post by Guest on Fri 06 Dec 2019, 8:21 pm

A couple of years ago? Hmm...considering this became the 'target' for Ireland in May of this year, I think someone's telling porkies, unless you think 606ers set the IRFU's targets in advance...

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Post by Taylorman on Fri 06 Dec 2019, 8:26 pm

Nah, saw the targets a long time ago, at least two years ago. That’s why they stand out.If I’m wrong it’s because the targets the same as the 2015 tournament which means they didn’t even learn from that this round.

A non winning target that relies on a one off match is just silly. For one, if their objectives are based on that target then they have none for what happens after winning the semi because definitively, their goal is achieved, they have no further goals, in ink, so in a week the goal they’ve strived to achieve is no longer in front of them, and they have to ‘make one up’..
As a strategic goal it’s a poor one.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 06 Dec 2019, 9:47 pm

Too many words... in the usual excuses from players and reports;  way, way too much meaningless drivel. Heard it all before, not listening no more..........and ......... too much fuss here in 606 about these bloody 'goals'.  
Put 'At least' before every allusion to 'goals' and yis won't go far wrong.  

The goal has been to at least get to a semi final.  Yet if that 'goal' was achieved, the team was hardly going to pack their bags and head home happy with their lot without even playing in that semi.  Some things imply stuff rather than having to explicitly itemise all detail.  Everyone, at least in Ireland, understands the usage of the word 'goal' in the context of Ireland ambitions at a WC.  
First overcome that which has not yet been achieved by an Irish team...that elusive semi-final; then think about the next goal - in the same year, in the same competition.  Goals move.  Most teams start out with first goal of getting through their pool or topping their pool.  Goals are incremental.  Wales will I'm sure have that ongoing desire to get to a final.  They've done the semis.  And even though they'll still have to make it to the quarters and semis next time, those won't be designated 'goals'.  The goal in the minds of players, coaches and fans will be something yet to achieve...that final.

It's funny....or maybe not so funny, but when Ireland or certain Irish fans DO let down their guard down, and do mutter thoughts that maybe they are good enough to win the WC, as has happened a few times over the years - the other fan bases laugh their hearts out; "First make a semi final, you eejits, before the big dreams!"

So...moral of the story.  You can never be right in these damn rugby threads!

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Post by Taylorman on Fri 06 Dec 2019, 10:22 pm

Nah, don’t agree Fly, by picking that specific goal you magnify the issue of Ireland not getting past the last 8. You have it written up in a huge banner reminding everyone for the next few years that Ireland can’t get past the quarters.
Part of Schmidt’s legacy was to give the players belief that they could beat the ABs, something the couldn’t do for over a hundred years. The World Cup has only been around for thirty odd and Ireland’s only had 8 odd matches trying to overcome that goal, not 30.
The AB hurdle was far bigger than the quarters from a mental and historic perspective. Why? Because they didn’t have ‘beating the ABs’ as a specific goal...from what I recall at least...I might be wrong. And that will have been because at a strategic level something that specific is too definitive.

Yet they managed to overcome the ABs, twice.
Winning the quarter should have been dismissed as a mental hurdle because they’d done better than that.

Yet here they are, beaten the ABs, got to number one ranking...two achievements NOT listed definitely, yet BOTH more difficult to achieve than a winning quarter, being hamstrung by a goal that is there purely because of their failures in the past.

You don’t have a goal of ‘at least the semi’s’ as all that’s screams is ‘we can never get past the quarters’.

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Post by Guest on Fri 06 Dec 2019, 10:26 pm

This issue is, Fly, it doesn't need saying. Why say it at all? If your goal is to 'at least' get to the SF (semi final hereafter, not secretfly...) then why not say final? Or IS it in fact just the SF? Or, if at least SF...and that means final...why not say win it?

England were talking about being the best team in the world 3-4 years ago. Implicit in that was beating NZ before Japan, whch nearly happened, as well as every other team, and then ofc winning the tournament. No ifs, no buts - it didn't put a marker of 'Eddie/England say they will win the RWC...it said they wanted to be the best team in the world. Euphemistic, not great for headlines, so the media couldn't come back at them/give opponents a target, but the meaning was apparent enough. Wales and AWJ and Gatland were talking about reaching the final and being nice and humble and 'ooh wouldnt it be lovely' and 'if you get there you never know' but it's pretty clear, again, what was meant here.

But Ireland...Ireland said SF...why!?

All it does is put pressure on the players and coaches about dealing with the legacy of previous RWCs which most people there had literally nothing to do with (at least from 2011 backwards) and it just creates this sense of pressure with no extra prize. No one dreams about a SF. It sounds like a manager looking for demonstrative 'progress' to hand to their boss and say "see: I turned you losers in to one-better losers this time around - give me a feckin raise!". It's ridiculous, pointless, and self serving, with no sense or heed given to the players or coaches. It becomes a white whale or, more accurately, a burden, like England with penalty shootouts, NZ choking in RWCs, Liverpool and Premier Leagues, or any other sporting legacy f failure that builds and builds. Except it's not even 'the big one'...it's...reaching a SF...

Don't get it. No need to say it. Pointless. Just adds unwanted pressure. It's not a goal from the coach to win the thing - it's a management target, ill thought out from someone with no skin in the game in  any real, 'on the ground' (to put in their terminology) practical feel for what needed to be said internally, nor externally.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 08 Dec 2019, 9:42 am

Just a thought going through my head...; wonder would ex Dublin head, Jim Gavin,  be tempted to try his obvious organisational talents down a new avenue by taking up the Paul Dean vacated role of IRFU team manager?

I'm intrigued about what might transpire with one or two of these GAA managerial migrations if they happened.  Now obviously the Team Manager doesn't dictate policy or strategy on the field, so not a risk for on-field performances! - but to me it might be an opportune time for IRFU to again try something new and have some exploratory chats with a man who might be looking for a new and fresh challenge.  
He could prove a nice 'whispering-in-the-ear' advisor to Farrell, and his ideas might give Ireland some fresh approaches to their preparatory habits etc.  He certainly produced a virtually invincible collective of high calibre athletes from a selection of amateurs with Dublin.  That kind of brain is capable of transfer to another sport, and if he's 'retiring' at 40something, that to me is a waste of the brain power.

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Post by rodders on Mon 09 Dec 2019, 4:12 pm

Taylorman wrote:
You don’t have a goal of ‘at least the semi’s’ as all that’s screams is ‘we can never get past the quarters’.

Yeah I agree, I presume it came from Nucifera.

Look given the draw I don't think it made any difference to the outcome but definitely it added to the pressure and wasn't helpful for our performances. I think it was clear we were too focused on winning a KO game.

Even selection was geared to it. I'm convinced part of the reason Kleyn was there to help prepare for facing the boks. It's clear we took our eye of the ball after beating Scotland.

That said I think Schmidt is being made a scapegoat. With Farrell and Easterbuy part of the new regime and many of the players still on central contracts it seems like everyone else, including Nucifera is getting a free pass.
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Post by Guest on Mon 09 Dec 2019, 5:51 pm

Agreed Schmidt's been slightly unfairly treated. Cannot believe there isn't more focus on Farrell.

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Post by Taylorman on Mon 09 Dec 2019, 10:32 pm

rodders wrote:
Taylorman wrote:
You don’t have a goal of ‘at least the semi’s’ as all that’s screams is ‘we can never get past the quarters’.

Yeah I agree, I presume it came from Nucifera.

Look given the draw I don't think it made any difference to the outcome but definitely it added to the pressure and wasn't helpful for our performances. I think it was clear we were too focused on winning a KO game.

Even selection was geared to it. I'm convinced part of the reason Kleyn was there to help prepare for facing the boks. It's clear we took our eye of the ball after beating Scotland.

That said I think Schmidt is being made a scapegoat. With Farrell and Easterbuy part of the new regime and many of the players still on central contracts it seems like everyone else, including Nucifera is getting a free pass.

I don’t think he’s the scapegoat, he’s in the position where the buck stops. This is the Schmidt era, not the Nucifora era, nor the Farrell era. As nice a guy he may be, he made the big calls at the tournament. He also based his overall gameplan on Farrells defensive genius, but it lacked balance, and in three knockouts you must be able to handle different opposition game plans. Only SA managed to do that, so we’re most deserving winners.

The Japan game for the most. To avoid NZ, and Ireland already knew NZ had beaten SA, so all ‘joking’ aside, a match vs SA at that point was more winnable. With Japan the wheels fell off completely and utterly. All confidence lost, and a rematch against a NZ determined to set things right...that here is where it matters.

NZ went out for a similar reason. Didn’t select well or adapt their gameplan to England, who similarly, had all eyes on the ABs for ages.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 1:35 am

Taylorman wrote: Didn’t select well or adapt their gameplan to England, who similarly, had all eyes on the ABs for ages.

Says the man who was praising the genius of their specific selections to nullify England right up till they lost Whistle

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Post by eirebilly on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 5:37 am

We have all known, the players more so than any of us, just how much of a tactician Schmidt is. He micro managed the team to within an inch of its existence.

To be fair, that is exactly the approach that Irish rugby needed and it had success. The world cup ended in the same manner it pretty much always ends with Ireland, the 1/4 finals. I do not think Schmidt is to blame for that, that is cultural in my opinion. Ireland are/were only ever good enough to reach the 1/4 finals, no matter where they were in the rankings.

I, personally, have never been a great fan of Schmidt or the way he approaches things but that does not mean that I do not admire or respect what he has achieved with Ireland. He has left Irish rugby in far better shape than when he got it and has left a development plan in place that I hope stays in place.


As for Andy Farrell, I wish him the best but I do feel that he is not the right man for the job.
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Post by Guest on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 8:36 am

That Irish side/squad was no better than the QFs, clearly.

The issue/question is whether Ireland as a rugby nation, and with the players left at home, and the rugby they CAN play - were they better than a QF place? Possibly...

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Post by rodders on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 10:15 am

I agree the buck stops with Schmidt but blame can't be laid entirely on him.

There's not doubt tactically and physically teams caught up with us this season, starting with the opening 6N game and we never really adapted to it. We shouldn't have been caught out so badly and maybe were a bit complacent.  

Schmidt and Farrell need to own that as both defense and attack were exposed. Only our set piece has consistently been good this year.

Everything we did well in 2018 was predictable enough but teams weren't able to stop it, you see the same from Leinster now in Europe. But it works only if you are winning collisions and dominating physically, which was a big shift from 2018 to 2019.

England and Wales beat us up in the 6N and we struggled with the conditions more than most in Japan. Schmidt as some responsibility here but there are questions about the S&C as well as fitness wise we weren't as good as we should have been.

Another big factor was individual form. Too many big players didn't play anything like in 2018 - predominately Sexton and O'Mahoney but other key players like Murray, Furlong, Stockdale, Earls just couldn't find the same form in 2019 and others like Leavy, Carbury, Henshaw were injured.

I think just a number of small factors added up to contribute to and overall inconsistent and disappointing 2019.

Schimdt is still the best coach out there in my opinion but this will define him in many ways unfortunately.
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Post by profitius on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 10:53 am

My own view is that Schmidt is a great technical coach but tends to get bogged down in the minutiae. He tends to not see the big picture. So while players were off form and moral was low, he was bombarding the team with more tactics and detail.


Sexton is out for 8-10 weeks so will miss most of the 6N or all of it.


Ronan Kelleher has suffered a fractured hand which means he will be in a race against time to make the 6N squad though you'd expect a place to be kept open for him.
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Post by rodders on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 11:28 am

profitius wrote:
Sexton is out for 8-10 weeks so will miss most of the 6N or all of it.

A year ago this would have been a big issue but I think Sexton is becoming a bit of a liability now with his durability not what it once was. He's not been able to sit down defenders the way he did in the past either which was a problem for Ireland this year in attack.

Obviously if fit he will start at 10 but this is as good a time as any to be looking at other options. I would presume Carbury is next up if fit but to be honest I'm not convinced he's the best option.

Hanaran is going well at Munster (the missed DG against Racing excepted) and Billy Burns is now a key player at Ulster. Carty is a bit off form but has time to turn it around and there is an opportunity now for Ross Byrne.

With Sexton out it gives an incentive for these guys to step up another level, similarly at hooker with Best gone.

On the captaincy side I would assume now it is a 2 horse race between O'Mahoney and James Ryan. POM would be my pick even with the competition for places in the back row.
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Post by eirebilly on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 12:31 pm

When is Cooney going to get a start for Ireland? As far as I am concerned he is the form 9 in Irish rugby right now. If he keeps this going, he must surely be selected ahead of Murray. His selection will also be helpful to whoever is selected at 10.
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Post by rodders on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 12:47 pm

Cooney has been class since he joined Ulster but he's gone up a notch this season, he's literally been a match winner in 3 successive ERC games.

Murray is world class win on form but he shouldn't be guaranteed his spot any longer with the other options.

If Sexton is out then place kicking maybe a factor as well.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 3:15 pm

profitius wrote:My own view is that Schmidt is a great technical coach but tends to get bogged down in the minutiae. He tends to not see the big picture. So while players were off form and moral was low, he was bombarding the team with more tactics and detail.


Sexton is out for 8-10 weeks so will miss most of the 6N or all of it.


Ronan Kelleher has suffered a fractured hand which means he will be in a race against time to make the 6N squad though you'd expect a place to be kept open for him.

Disagree that Schmidt doesn't see the big picture - which for Ireland is that they don't have enough quality players to win a RWC.

During his tenure Joe has increased the player pool by capping un-hyped and inexperienced players. He dished out improvement programmes to improve quality and took a far more hands-on interest in the provinces (and beyond) to keep tabs on potential talent and encourage certain types of play. Schmidt's staid tactics increased the pool of players that could execute them precisely because they were limited in ambition. Arguably Joe Schmidt has seen more of the big picture than any of his predecessors

The big picture remains, there are not enough Irish players to fill 31 RWC slots without a tournament defining drop-off in quality.

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Post by rodders on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 4:06 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
profitius wrote:My own view is that Schmidt is a great technical coach but tends to get bogged down in the minutiae. He tends to not see the big picture. So while players were off form and moral was low, he was bombarding the team with more tactics and detail.


Sexton is out for 8-10 weeks so will miss most of the 6N or all of it.


Ronan Kelleher has suffered a fractured hand which means he will be in a race against time to make the 6N squad though you'd expect a place to be kept open for him.

Disagree that Schmidt doesn't see the big picture - which for Ireland is that they don't have enough quality players to win a RWC.

During his tenure Joe has increased the player pool by capping un-hyped and inexperienced players. He dished out improvement programmes to improve quality and took a far more hands-on interest in the provinces (and beyond) to keep tabs on potential talent and encourage certain types of play. Schmidt's staid tactics increased the pool of players that could execute them precisely because they were limited in ambition. Arguably Joe Schmidt has seen more of the big picture than any of his predecessors

The big picture remains, there are not enough Irish players to fill 31 RWC slots without a tournament defining drop-off in quality.

I agree but come to a slightly different conclusion, I think Ireland does have 30-40 players good enough to challenge for the RWC.

BUT that is dependent on having a near clean bill of health, especially in some key positions and also players being in good form like they were for most of 2018.

The problem Ireland still have is that when a few players drop off we just don't have the options to make wholesale changes the way the likes of NZ, England or SA can, if things aren't going well.

Schmidt backed his players to turn things around and find form but it just didn't happen in time.

I've no doubt we'll see some good periods of success for Ireland in the near future but with such a small pool it is very difficult to sustain that for a long period as you need new players constantly pushing their way in and raising the bar.
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Post by profitius on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 8:14 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
profitius wrote:My own view is that Schmidt is a great technical coach but tends to get bogged down in the minutiae. He tends to not see the big picture. So while players were off form and moral was low, he was bombarding the team with more tactics and detail.


Sexton is out for 8-10 weeks so will miss most of the 6N or all of it.


Ronan Kelleher has suffered a fractured hand which means he will be in a race against time to make the 6N squad though you'd expect a place to be kept open for him.

Disagree that Schmidt doesn't see the big picture - which for Ireland is that they don't have enough quality players to win a RWC.

During his tenure Joe has increased the player pool by capping un-hyped and inexperienced players. He dished out improvement programmes to improve quality and took a far more hands-on interest in the provinces (and beyond) to keep tabs on potential talent and encourage certain types of play. Schmidt's staid tactics increased the pool of players that could execute them precisely because they were limited in ambition. Arguably Joe Schmidt has seen more of the big picture than any of his predecessors

The big picture remains, there are not enough Irish players to fill 31 RWC slots without a tournament defining drop-off in quality.


I'm not criticising him for not winning the world cup. All I wanted to see was the team performing to near or 95% of their potential. What we got was about 70%. If we played well against NZ but lost I don't think there would be too many complaints.


I'm not sure he developed the squad as some say. He capped a load of players but always went back to his core team. In that regard he was a bit like Eddie O'Sullivan.
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Post by Taylorman on Tue 10 Dec 2019, 9:12 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
Taylorman wrote: Didn’t select well or adapt their gameplan to England, who similarly, had all eyes on the ABs for ages.

Says the man who was praising the genius of their specific selections to nullify England right up till they lost Whistle

Exactly...it’s called ‘getting it wrong’...heard of it? Happy to be in the same boat as Schmidt, Henry and co.

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