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Mass U20 JWC exodus

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asoreleftshoulder
DaveM
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Post by greybeard Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:13 am

Reports from the Irish Times suggest the IRFU, and quite possibly the SRU and WRU, are about to pull out of the JWC tournament from next year on, citing player welfare.

I'm quite surprised by this news and while player welfare is of course very important this seems like a very negative step. I would hope that they would be able to participate in the JWC and also do something domestically to improve player welfare, because this decision seems to be throwing the world cup baby out with the bathwater.

From Irelands perspective we've unearthed a superb back line this year, it would be a shame that we'd miss out on something like that next year.



RUGBY: THE IRFU is poised to withdraw the Ireland Under-20 team from the Junior World Championship from next year because of issues over player welfare and finance.

The development comes in a week when Ireland are poised for their best finish in the fledgling competition which has been won in each of its three years by New Zealand.

The Baby Blacks have again reached the semi-finals, while Ireland face South Africa tomorrow in Padua in a fifth place semi-final. Ireland’s best finish was eighth two years in Japan, a position they will equal even if they lose to the Baby Boks and to the losers of the other semi-final between Wales and Fiji.

The IRFU decision to withdraw the team from next year’s competition centre largely around player welfare. Cost is also believed to play a part, although the IRB cover flights and hotel expenses for each participating country.

The IRB are likely to put pressure on the IRFU to reconsider their position but sources in the Union say the decision has already been made. It is also believed Wales and Scotland may consider following Ireland’s lead.

The IRFU did not respond to a query on the issue yesterday.

The timing of the competition and the number of games – five in 17 days – are believed to be the primary concerns.

Most of the Irish squad are in provincial academies and squads and should be coming off downtime and starting pre-season when the Junior World Championship is held each year.

Ireland’s proposed withdrawal may see a reversal of provinces having first call over Under-20 players during the Six Nations.

Earlier this year coach Mike Ruddock had to plan without several first-team players who were called up by the provinces to cover for players away on Six Nations duty.

A number of other teams, including USA, Canada and Samoa, who participated in the inaugural Junior World Championship, pulled out in the past few years because of the cost factor but Ireland’s withdrawal would be the first from a leading rugby country. As such the IRB is likely to mount pressure on Ireland to reconsider.

Ireland’s win over Scotland on Friday night, following earlier pool losses to England and South Africa, was welcomed as it would let Ireland achieve a better seeding for next year’s competition, but that now looks like being immaterial.

Full story here

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Post by red_stag Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:15 am

Really? But what are the U20 playing apart from it. Maybe a half dozen of the Irish squad have played Magners League.
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Post by MBTGOG Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:22 am

First of all, that story is factually incorrect as Samoa, USA and Canada have been in either the JWC or Junior World Trophy each years it's been going. Poor journalism.

Secondly, I have to say while this might look foolish to some, I have to agree with the IRFU. Player welfare must come before everything else, everything.

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Post by Guest Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:27 am

Stag, is there not an Irish league system for these young players? In Wales a few U20s have played Magners rugby like the Irish, but they also compete week in week out in the Welsh Premiership or the British and Irish league for Newport, Cardiff, etc.

(however, I don't think that Wales, Ireland or Scotland should pull out of this as the experience gained is huge and potentially vital for their development. It also gets them into the international set-up at a good age where conditioning, training data, etc. can be monitored as early as possible.)

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Post by red_stag Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:29 am

Would the amatuer All Ireland League and semi pro British and Irish Cups affect the players that much.

If so I agree with the decision.
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Post by maestegmafia Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:35 am

Considering that the JWC is in the summer and coaches have the common sense to not take injured players I don't see the issues.


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Post by MBTGOG Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:36 am

If you think about it though, 5 games in 17 days is ludicrous. Especially given that a lot of these players won't be used to games of this intensity.

In the Rugby World Cup, it will be for the teams that make the quarter finals, 5 games, a month for the same amount of matches the younger guys are playing in 17 days, with smaller squads at that.

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Post by PenfroPete Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:38 am

The tournament format, although it has improved with teams actual playing the other teams in their pool rather than teams in another pool (see LV= Cup for example of this format), is still a bit of a 'dogs dinner'. I'm not a big fan of the 'best runner up' / best 3rd place' scenario

I can't believe money from fixtures is an issue, so if you have to have 12 teams, then 4 pools of 3 teams

1st place (1st to 4th semi-final and finals)
Runners-up (5th to 8th semi-final and finals)
3rd place (9th to 12th semi-final and finals)

2 pool games and 2 knockout games
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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:41 am

Given the tournaments purpose from a Scottish perspective is to give our young players an unhealthy inferiority complex, I'd be happy to see it ditched!

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:41 am

There is no real meat to the article at all. So it is very hard to know where the truth lies. But, I don't recall major nations ever pulling out of anything because of player welfare issues. The article does not lay out what the issues are, just speculates its the numner of matches. It does indicate finances are part of it, too.

If it were England, I could see the clubs exerting more control over their young players. Could it be the same in Ireland? Or is it money? Or simply political? I suppose time will tell.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:42 am

I think it's a worthwhile tournament, but it does sound like they compress it into too short a time frame and it's Place in the calendar could be reconsidered to ensure that these youngsters do actually get some proper time off before pre-seasons begin in earnest thumbsup

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Post by greybeard Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:46 am

red_stag wrote:Would the amatuer All Ireland League and semi pro British and Irish Cups affect the players that much.

If so I agree with the decision.

But isn't there a big difference between playing for your club/province and playing in a world championship for your country?

Irish rugby tends to lose a lot of U20 players who fall between the cracks somewhere age-grade and senior. Without the lure of the JWC might that not increase?

And there are only three provinces taking part in the B&I Cup.

Surely player management at a young age is better than entirely doing away with participation in a world championship?

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Post by greybeard Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:48 am

MBTGOG wrote:If you think about it though, 5 games in 17 days is ludicrous. Especially given that a lot of these players won't be used to games of this intensity.

In the Rugby World Cup, it will be for the teams that make the quarter finals, 5 games, a month for the same amount of matches the younger guys are playing in 17 days, with smaller squads at that.

Absolutely agreed. But isn't it better to lobby for change rather pick up your ball and go home?

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Post by MBTGOG Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:57 am

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:I think it's a worthwhile tournament, but it does sound like they compress it into too short a time frame and it's Place in the calendar could be reconsidered to ensure that these youngsters do actually get some proper time off before pre-seasons begin in earnest thumbsup

Especially as if any of the players are to be the wild card selection in the World Cup squad, they'd go straight into pre-season which has already started.


Greybeard,

I wouldn't argue with that point.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:57 am

MBTGOG wrote:If you think about it though, 5 games in 17 days is ludicrous. Especially given that a lot of these players won't be used to games of this intensity.


Bear in mind though, the tournament rules state that every squad player must get a start. So its very unlikely any player is doing the full 5 games.
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Post by MBTGOG Tue 21 Jun 2011, 9:58 am

Kiwi,

Is that rule still in effect?

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Post by RubyGuby Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:01 am

It's a great tournament and exactly what these lads need from an intensity point of view. I did worry aboutt the welfare of the welsh lads after the BB stuffing but they came back well with a good performance against Italy. Welfare my arxe!! what would Grav be saying about that !!!!! OK

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Mass U20 JWC exodus Empty IRFU set to pull plug on Juniors

Post by Sin é Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:05 am

IRFU set to pull plug on Juniors
The Irish Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2011
JOHN FALLON in Treviso

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2011/0621/1224299311209.html

RUGBY: THE IRFU is poised to withdraw the Ireland Under-20 team from the Junior World Championship from next year because of issues over player welfare and finance.

The development comes in a week when Ireland are poised for their best finish in the fledgling competition which has been won in each of its three years by New Zealand.

The Baby Blacks have again reached the semi-finals, while Ireland face South Africa tomorrow in Padua in a fifth place semi-final. Ireland’s best finish was eighth two years in Japan, a position they will equal even if they lose to the Baby Boks and to the losers of the other semi-final between Wales and Fiji.

The IRFU decision to withdraw the team from next year’s competition centre largely around player welfare. Cost is also believed to play a part, although the IRB cover flights and hotel expenses for each participating country.

The IRB are likely to put pressure on the IRFU to reconsider their position but sources in the Union say the decision has already been made. It is also believed Wales and Scotland may consider following Ireland’s lead.

The IRFU did not respond to a query on the issue yesterday.

The timing of the competition and the number of games – five in 17 days – are believed to be the primary concerns.

Most of the Irish squad are in provincial academies and squads and should be coming off downtime and starting pre-season when the Junior World Championship is held each year.

Ireland’s proposed withdrawal may see a reversal of provinces having first call over Under-20 players during the Six Nations.

Earlier this year coach Mike Ruddock had to plan without several first-team players who were called up by the provinces to cover for players away on Six Nations duty.

A number of other teams, including USA, Canada and Samoa, who participated in the inaugural Junior World Championship, pulled out in the past few years because of the cost factor but Ireland’s withdrawal would be the first from a leading rugby country. As such the IRB is likely to mount pressure on Ireland to reconsider.

Ireland’s win over Scotland on Friday night, following earlier pool losses to England and South Africa, was welcomed as it would let Ireland achieve a better seeding for next year’s competition, but that now looks like being immaterial.

----

Not much point now in going after a good seeding in the comp, though more than likely its an effort to improve the scheduling of matches. Expecting some players to play 4/5 games in 15 days is crazy.

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Post by red_stag Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:06 am

Already an article on it Sin
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Post by Sin é Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:07 am

Sorry, didn't see it. Please delete/lock.

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Post by Cumbrian Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:08 am

Three teams that have got to the semi final stages once between them in the last four tournaments may leave? Certainly strikes me as they are taking their ball and going home. :run1:

Just kidding Very Happy . It would be sad if they were to pull. It is a fantastic platform for young players to show their abilities and it would definitely lose something if they weren’t involved.

The schedule is a bit ridiculous considering the tournament is at the end of the season and they have lots time to play it in.
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Post by pete (buachaill on eirne) Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:08 am

It is a brutal system alright.

Still would have liked to be taking part in it we are defenitly losing out by not getting some of our young leading lights playing together against top quality opposition. Oh well... Sad

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Post by MBTGOG Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:09 am

pete,

It is in no way been confirmed. I really doubt it will happen.

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Post by Guest Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:10 am

MBTGOG, yes the rule still exists. Wales decided to do it against the Baby Blacks where we put in 11 new players I think, and you may have seen what happened (92-0)! I think we were trying to win the winnable games by a big margin, knowing we'd lose the game against the blacks but it backfired and the points difference meant we didn't qualify. Fools!

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Post by Guest Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:10 am

MBTGOG, yes the rule still exists. Wales decided to do it against the Baby Blacks where we put in 11 new players I think, and you may have seen what happened (92-0)! I think we were trying to win the winnable games by a big margin, knowing we'd lose the game against the blacks but it backfired and the points difference meant we didn't qualify. Fools!

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Post by pete (buachaill on eirne) Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:11 am

Apologies I thought it had been. I really hope it doesn't (as you probably have guessed from the previous post)

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Post by MBTGOG Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:11 am

Griff,

I genuinely don't think it is still in place. I'm sure it was removed last year. All the coaches will rotate but I don't think every player has to get a start anymore.

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Post by XR Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:22 am

Why is this every year anyway? Every 2 years, sure, but having one every year seems a bit much

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:35 am

Merging now Sin Smile
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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:38 am

MBTGOG wrote:Kiwi,

Is that rule still in effect?
The Welsh were blaming it for the size of the loss to the BBs, so I assume so Smile
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Post by red_stag Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:39 am

gcBlues wrote:Why is this every year anyway? Every 2 years, sure, but having one every year seems a bit much

Its a different crop of players every year. Its gives everyone a chance.
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Post by Guest Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:41 am

MBTGOG, I could be wrong but sure I read the Welsh coaches using that as justification for putting out a weak team! Kiwi's right: we are using it as an excuse for the loss!

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Post by Standulstermen Tue 21 Jun 2011, 10:49 am

One thing that worries me is the Provinces not having first call on players during the 6N. as good as the U20 6N is surely if these guys have a chance/are deemed good enough to be playing ML rugby then that should take precedence.

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Post by geoff998rugby Tue 21 Jun 2011, 11:01 am

Provinces do have precedence over the U20's.

Ulster invoked that this year with a number of our young backs

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Post by Standulstermen Tue 21 Jun 2011, 11:02 am

Yes geoff but that article states that it may change

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Post by geoff998rugby Tue 21 Jun 2011, 11:16 am

Then I cant see it happening (sorry didn't read the full article)

Just suppose Humphreys and Wallace were with the senior squad and Jackson and McKinney were with the U20's
at the same time.

I would suggest over David Humphreys dead body - he will be banging the table with his fist in Dublin if someone tries to bring this in.

Fortuantely our outstanding crop of backs will be over 20 before if it is brought in - but that is not the point. We would not have been able to put 7 fit backs on the pitch in February if this was in place.

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Post by Montague Withnail Tue 21 Jun 2011, 12:11 pm

I think it's a fantastic tournament, but I agree the schedule does seem a bit much for the young guys.

As I understand it the rule that every squad member has to start at least one game is still in place. It should remain so.

In addition I would add another 4 players to each squad, the squad sizes are too small. I know that makes it harder and more expensive again for the smaller unions, but the IRB can afford it and given the number of games that are being televised now I would have thought there would be enough revenue to pay for that.

Dropping to 4 pools of 3 teams is an option, although not perfect. It still means the same number of total rounds but one team gets a break at some point during the pool stage. The trouble with it is that the timing of the break matters. The team that rests second has the most advantage, the one who rests last has a slight advantage and the team who rested first still has roughly the same problem as now with compressed games. What would be good would be to allocate the places in reverse order to the seeds, so that the weaker teams with less resources can take more advantage of the rest periods.

If the first two were implemented there would only be 4 games in the tournament, so if the tournament were extended by 3 days - surely not too much to ask - that would give an extra rest day between all the games.

This is a tournament worth saving, rather than have teams spit their dummies we should be looking for ways to improve the format to make sure player welfare is properly looked after.

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Post by geoff998rugby Tue 21 Jun 2011, 12:19 pm

Then play it when the 6N is over and the clubs have their internationals back

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Post by HammerofThunor Tue 21 Jun 2011, 12:24 pm

I'd say ML/Jeff level is greater than U20. Although the U20 does given experience of playing with new players/coaches/etc.

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Post by snoopster Tue 21 Jun 2011, 1:14 pm

MBTGOG wrote:Griff,

I genuinely don't think it is still in place. I'm sure it was removed last year. All the coaches will rotate but I don't think every player has to get a start anymore.

It was being talked about before the Wales match - England's changes for different matches was put down to it.
So if it isn't still in place then at least some of the nations need to be told.

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Post by The Great Aukster Tue 21 Jun 2011, 2:22 pm

IMO the schedule is ridiculous and the IRFU are right to withdraw from it in its current format.

At this level the Ireland lads are already physically overpowered by the big nations and compounding that by forcing so many games into such a short time frame is asking for problems. Mis-matches are bad enough but serious injuries are more likely to happen with fatigue.

Obviously the IRB schedule the games so close together to save themselves money. If they went for four pools of three they could spread the tournament out over more time without costing any more. Have the first two qualify for 1/4 knock outs, and the third team in the group goes home. Then after the quarters four more teams go home, and the final four teams contest the top four positions.

For the sake of analysis I've created a mythical IRB cost called a "personday", which is what it costs them to feed and board a team member. So currently a typical squad is 26 players with 8 backroom staff and they all stay for 17 days so that equals 6936 persondays (34 people x 12 teams x 17 days).

In my proposed system say the pool games last over 10 days. e.g. day 1, day 5 and day 10. That equals 4080 persondays (34 x 12 x 10). The quarters could then happen 5 days later costing another 1360 persondays (34 x 8 x 5). Then the semis 5 days after that and finally the final and the 3rd place playoff a further five days hence costing another 1360 persondays (34 x 4 x 10). Total 6800 person days!

I'd have the top seeds play against the second seeds in the group first game, and then 2nd v 3rd next, and finally the 1st v 3rd in the final pool game. This means the teams likely to go through to the later stages will have had rest weeks. The teams that go out at the pool stage will only have played two games, but they will have been against better opposition so they will still learn from the experience. Third seeds are discriminated against because they are unlikely to go through anyway. I'd also have the "everyone starts" rule only apply to teams in the quarter finals. So if a squad still had some players they didn't start in the pool games they would then have to start them in the quarterfinal (strong teams would probably field their weaker players against the weakest opposition in the pool thus improving the mis-match a bit).

So everyone has either fewer games or they're spread over more time and it costs the IRB less, with an extra knockout round for more tv interest. Everyone's a winner, step right up...

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Mass U20 JWC exodus Empty Ireland to withdraw from the JRWC

Post by Boyne Tue 21 Jun 2011, 4:09 pm

Aparently mainly to do with player welfare and costs. Costs, I cannot see beeing a massive issue (the IRB pays for flights and accomodation) although Canada and USA withdrew last year because its too expensive.

The main area of concern is player welfare, with lads being forced to play 5 games in 17 days.. tough for anyone at any level I think... These guys are coming off a long season with their provinces and frankly I canno blame the IRFU for wanting to withdraw- its just too much rugby.

Some of these guys are important for their clubs and will be even more so coming into a WC year.

Wales and Scotland considering the same.

What do you think? 5 games in 17 games sounds tough to me!

Edit - I'm going to merge this into the existing discussion on the topic Smile - K devil

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Post by Notch Tue 21 Jun 2011, 4:30 pm

I'm in favour of this. I'm so in favour of us withdrawing from this competition.

Last season Ulster named a team against the Newport-Gwent Dragons that contained three current Ireland U20 stars- Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy. That game was during the Six Nations, and in the absence of full Ireland internationals we relied on those younger players. It was clear to see that at the start of next season- during the RWC- we would continue to do so.

Ulster Rugby started their pre-season training on Monday. The players have had a four week break to get away from the game, relax and come back fresh. However some players who will have a key role in our 22 at the start of next season- the three named above- have had no holiday from the game. They have been playing and training in high Italian summer temperatures in a tournament which has a fairly gruelling schedule. They are then expected to have a brief break, hit pre-season and be ready for the start of the new season at the same level as their more experienced colleagues despite the fact that those guys are much more physically mature.

The tournament is simply not designed for players who have already made the step-up to professional rugby and I don't think we should send them to the JWC any more; the likes of Gilroy deserve a break after playing a lot of games for Ulster last season and being lined up to play a lot of games for us next season. The tournament is about giving players experience and exposure and shouldn't be used for players already playing in the big boys league who have both of those things. They need a proper close season break much, much more.

You'll notice, by the way, Gilroy isn't named in our latest 22. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that.
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Post by greybeard Tue 21 Jun 2011, 4:39 pm

I'm sorry to hear you're not in favour of it Notch.

Playing for your country should be more important than anything else. I know some of the players will be needed by their clubs, but country comes first as far as I'm concerned, doesn't matter if it's U20s or the full RWC.

I think the organisers should be asked to help out with scheduling. Obviously you'll never please everyone North and South, but something should be done to stop the JWC becoming a footnote.

These boys have put a huge amount of effort in this year and they've been rewarded with an international call up. Even though I want the likes of Conway playing well for Leinster I'd proud to see him wearing the Ireland shirt and long may that continue for all of the juniors.

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Post by Shifty Tue 21 Jun 2011, 4:48 pm

I agree with Ireland, everything we bloody do in the world game is at the conveniance of the southern hemisphere teams. We have far more Unions in Europe and yet bend over backwards for the minority.
Why don't we hold the World Cup in their off season? and let our players get a rest for a change?

What exactly have our boys learned this year? their better than Italy and Argentina but worse than New Zealand.
You could of taken an educated guess at that before the competition.
Wales should also scrap it's sevens teams, name me one good player we have produced from it despite spending a fortune on sending them jollying around the World all year?
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Post by Notch Tue 21 Jun 2011, 4:52 pm

Country always comes before province, but this shouldn't. This is a tool for developing players. I'm not devastated by a defeat or ecstatic in victory like I am at senior level. It's about performance and potential rather than results. Obviously you want to see your team win, you want to see the players demonstrating they have the strength of character to impose themselves on games as a team and win games, but it's not the be-all and end-all.

If players are already playing full professional rugby for their province- the job of the U20s is already done and there is no need for them to be there. Their spot could be used to give an opportunity to another young player who needs it more.
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Post by Gibson Tue 21 Jun 2011, 5:49 pm

Notch wrote:Country always comes before province, but this shouldn't. This is a tool for developing players. I'm not devastated by a defeat or ecstatic in victory like I am at senior level. It's about performance and potential rather than results. Obviously you want to see your team win, you want to see the players demonstrating they have the strength of character to impose themselves on games as a team and win games, but it's not the be-all and end-all.

If players are already playing full professional rugby for their province- the job of the U20s is already done and there is no need for them to be there. Their spot could be used to give an opportunity to another young player who needs it more.

I think that is the best reason for not sending already established squad players. An opportunity for others to show if they have the right stuff on an international stage.

My worry is... France and England will stick with it. Ireland will lose ground on them, from an international development perspective...

I agree it is a mad schedule. I also agree its timing is not great - to say the least. So that must be looked at. IRFU should call for change and not throw the baby out with the bath-water. I just think its a shame we will miss out in it. The Churchill Cup is also a non-runner - now it's being stopped. How many of our present squad played and got great experience in that? Not being involved in either one, leaves a huge vacuum for me.

If we can schedule as many "A" internationals as possible and give precedence to the younger players - then I'd be a lot happier.
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Post by maestegmafia Tue 21 Jun 2011, 5:56 pm

I am sure none of the players dislike the tournament. It is an honour for these young lads to play in it. They respect that and enjoy it too.

Though I net a few more wish they were as good as that Baby All Blacks team.


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Post by Shifty Tue 21 Jun 2011, 6:45 pm

maestegmafia wrote:I am sure none of the players dislike the tournament. It is an honour for these young lads to play in it. They respect that and enjoy it too.

Though I net a few more wish they were as good as that Baby All Blacks team.

Isnt every season a bit excessive though, even every 2 years would mean all players would in theory be eligible. As most players spend 2 seasons in the U20's side. Or even increase the age up to 21.
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Post by maestegmafia Tue 21 Jun 2011, 7:21 pm

AlynDavies wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:I am sure none of the players dislike the tournament. It is an honour for these young lads to play in it. They respect that and enjoy it too.

Though I net a few more wish they were as good as that Baby All Blacks team.

Isnt every season a bit excessive though, even every 2 years would mean all players would in theory be eligible. As most players spend 2 seasons in the U20's side. Or even increase the age up to 21.

You mean return the Age to 21. As it was in its original U21 Rugby World Cup pre 2008.

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