The fallout from Ireland’s record defeat to New Zealand continues. In the Indo yesterday, what we presume to be Deccie’s thoughts have been channeled through the grubby, ill-informed pen of Farmer Farrelly. Apparently Deccie is ‘compromised’ in the position of head coach.
Where does one start? Well, let’s take it point by point.
Money is now the core issue, according to Hugh. True, there looked to be a bit of corner-cutting on this tour, but Deccie’s hand-picked coaching team don’t exactly look like they were put together on a shoestring.
That the rugby setup in Ireland is to the detriment of the national team? Every other coach (bar none) would love the type of player access that Deccie has – he can tell their coaches when to play them, and bring them into camp largely whenever he wants. Key men like Johnny Sexton and Fez played more for Ireland than for their province last season. Go tell it to the French coaches, who tried to fly Jean Marc Doussain out as cover before the World Cup semi-final, but had to wait for his release until after the week’s Top 14 game.
That Deccie would dearly love to have brought Ian Madigan on tour? Bring him then. You are the coach – you have the right to pick who you want. Maybe prepare by picking him for the Wolfhounds or the Baabaas game.
That Deccie is hamstrung by the situation in Connacht? Of course, we’d all like to have 4 competitive provinces, but good players in Connacht get routinely ignored by Deccie – Fionn Carr was left kicking his heels while Ian Dowling and Denis Hurley were capped in the North America tour in 2009. Tiernan O’Halloran didn’t even make the extended training squad.
That our lack of depth at tighthead is the provinces’ fault? In the November series of 2010, we played 4 games and picked John Hayes twice, Mushy once and Tom Court once. Why weren’t Jamie Hagan, Declan Fitzpatrick or Ronan Loughney given any game time? Or, erm, Mike Ross, who was first-choice Leinster tighthead at the time.
The Churchill Cup and the Sevens circuit? The Churchill Cup has been abandoned as part of the (agreed) summer tour timetable which had Ireland in NZ for 3 Tests – the US and Canada played Italy this year in the same unified schedule. The ideas that Sevens will help the development of the national 15-a-side team is laughable – it’s like saying 5-a-side soccer will unearth the next Cristiano Ronaldo – the skill sets are entirely different – as evidenced by the complete dearth of former Sevens players at the top level. The Welsh sevens team has in recent years produced no starters and just one occasional extended squad man, Aled Brew.
The excuses for Kidney and his team are coming thick and fast, but we suspect they won’t wash with an educated rugby public. Farrelly would be better off going back to praising Niall Scannell and calling Peter O’Mahony the new Ruchie – at least some people will believe that, no-one is buying this rubbish.