Way Off The Ball

Last night’s episode of Wednesday Night Rugby on Off The Ball was a dispiriting affair.  The outstanding sports show has the best interviewer in Irish sport – Eoin McDevitt – in the chair, and answering the questions was the genteel, insightful and always balanced Keith Wood.  And, eh, Gerry Thornley.

Gerry’s performance hit a new low ebb last night.  There had been flickers of his old self during the summer tour, but last night stamped out any dying embers.  He appeared positively affronted when McDevitt put it to him that the IRFU should be looking at lining up replacements now, rather than leaving it to nine months time.  He is only capable of seeing an upturn in Ireland’s fortunes, in spite of all evidence in front of him.  When Brian O’Driscoll’s eye-opening quotation about not really knowing who’s in charge of Ireland’s attack was put to him, he simply ummed and aahed, leaving Keith Wood to point out that this was a proper criticism, indeed a shot across the bough.

Then the hand-picked, selective statistics came out.  Ireland were top try scorers in the Six Nations!  Our attack is fine!  Yes, they were, but nine of the thirteen tries came in home games against Scotland and Italy.  The more pertinent statistic is that Ireland won two out of five games and remain maddeningly inconsistent and reactive.

The lowest point came when Keith Wood suggested Ireland should bring in Joe Schmidt to offer a different voice and bring something new to Ireland’s attack.  Thornley’s extraordinary response was that this would cut across Les Kiss.  Apparently we should be more concerned about upsetting the ego of Ireland’s already overworked defence coach than getting the best possible coaches to work with.  It’s hugely depressing that the leading rugby journalist in Ireland’s predominant rugby paper should be pussy-footing around the obvious issues like this.  Nobody wants our journalists to become a ‘head-on-a-plate’ raging mob, but asking the pertinent questions is the least we should expect.

WoC recalls a time when any Six Nations or Heineken Cup day began with reading Thornley’s previews in that day’s Times, be it on the couch or on the way to the ground.  It’s a sad decline from a once great writer.

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50 Comments

  1. Michael

     /  September 27, 2012

    Spot on.

    Gerry is an idiot. The amount of time that show wastes on him talking over genuine experts is very frustrating.

    To unanimously declare Schmidt’s career and family plans in a ‘I know these things people, I’m a big hot shot journalist with contacts everywhere’ style just looks pathetic.

    Declan and his cheerleaders days are numbered.

    • Radge Fan

       /  September 27, 2012

      Joe Schmidt quote in Irish Indo (so its not just Thornley who knows these things:)

      “Leinster is a super place to be,” he said. “We’re really close to a deal and I would really like to continue coaching here. To be honest, though, there are factors outside of rugby at the moment that we need to get comfortable with first of all. What I can say is that I’m not looking for any other job. If it doesn’t continue it won’t be because I’m looking for any other job. It would just be more a family decision than a coaching one. I’d like to say that by this time next week, I’ll be in a position to say that I think I’ll still be here next season. I’d like to think that’s where we’ll end up. I just don’t like to say it categorically yet because we’re just trying to find our feet with some other issues.”

  2. Stevo

     /  September 27, 2012

    I listened to the podcast on the way to work this morning and my reaction was the exact same as yours lads. Gerry was bristling right from the off at the suggestions that we should be looking for a new coach now rather than next summer. He was set to jump down Eoin McDevitt’s throat for suggesting BOD had a problem with the coaching set-up before McDevitt saw him off by pulling out the actual quote!

    A large majority of the rugby-following population of this country seems is made up of people who either want Kidney out now or are resigned to waiting for him to be let go next summer. GT seems to feel that he’ll be staying on! I just hope the IRFU fall in line with the supporters rather than the fourth estate.

  3. Ultra Sur

     /  September 27, 2012

    Absolutely agree on all of the above and I, too, no longer click on his articles to avoid giving him click rates to point to when the revolution comes. There’s almost no point in reading them. They are so clearly skewed towards the regime with no bite, no critical review and therefore no journalistic integrity.

    His recent attacks on/support of Kidney’s blame-shifting to the provinces is infuriating. His assertion yesterday that sluggish ticket sales perhaps reflect “a greater disconnect between the Irish team and the home rugby public, what with the heightened tribalism among supporters” is simply unacceptable. He is furthering the recent media spin by Kidney and latterly POC, BOD and Sexton about buying into the Ireland set up and the implication that the successful status of the provinces is somehow a hindrance to the good of the nation, both in terms of success on the field and off it.

    And between the 4 of them, we’re all now expected to admire the emperor’s new clothes.

    Ireland have been playing unwatchable shite for nearly 4 years (with about 4 exceptions) and the coach is completely devoid of any understanding of the 2012 game of rugby; THERE’S YOUR F£$%ING REASON, GERRY.

    He must know the stats and the rugby community’s view of him too as the criticism is so widespread it permeates almost all of the Irish rugby online sphere, including the comments sections of his own articles.

    • We’ve declares our feelings on the province-blaming trend a number of times, and it’s the single greatest piece of nonsense doing the rounds right now. It’s a bit like when the Republican party tried to turn John Kerry’s military history against him, when he’d fought in Vietnam and their own man had slouched around at home.

      We should have found room for the quote you included there. An extraordinary thing to say, a needless dig at supporters who deserve better than to be taken for granted and insulted like that.

      Speaking personally, I haven’t made my mind up as to whether I’ll be attending the Autumn internationals. I rarely miss an Ireland match (maybe missed three or four home games in the last five years) and probably will front up for tickets in the end, but it’s not that incentivising. At the RDS we go as a family and can bring our newest fan (Tiny Ovale, two months old) along for free, and Little Ovale is kept entertained by Leo the Lion and the oodles of kids’ stuff they put on, as well as continually asking if Jonny Sexton is playing or having a rest. It’s a much more inclusive affair than an Ireland match, where we’d have to get babysitters etc.

      • Ultra Sur

         /  September 27, 2012

        Yeah there’s an inclusiveness about the provincial games. The IRFU would do very well to have a sit down with the Leinster marketing team. You could make an interesting comparison between the two organisations, a comparison that might throw some light on the behaviour of the IRFU.

        (1) Leinster driven by need to come up with some angle for marketing non-derby Pro12 games and haunted by a background of regular 3.5 thousand attendances under the Gary Ella regime, the “Leinster Lions” shambles, a recalcitrant non-traditional provincial population and the huge wave of Munster support that developed pre-2006 annexing all that was good about being an Irish rugby supporter, leaving Leinster holding the ugly, effeminate leftholders.

        On the organisational side, they identified weakness in structures, in playing personnel, in academies and adressed all of them.

        3 Heinken Cups hasn’t dulled the drive of the whole organisation against that background.

        (2) The IRFU – constant sell-outs, a golden age in terms of players and results and never had to really market anything, acceptable Irish coaches present and available.

        Suddenly, they’ve gone to shit and they look clueless as to how to bridge the gap, opting instead for a blame game. Instead of addressing the deficiencies of their own organisation and marketing, they’re looking to blame provinces that are vastly more professional in how they’re run and who didn’t have legacies of corporate and traditional support to rely on. The provinces, Leinster in particular, have built their organisations the hard way, learning from some major early mistakes, and are fighting fit as a result.

        The IRFU compares very badly to that and their public relations are a fiasco.

      • Ultra Sur

         /  September 27, 2012

        *left-overs, not leftholders – you need to introduce an edit button!

  4. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

    I genuinely thought Gerry had turned a corner after Hamilton (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2012/0626/1224318726970.html). I would never expect him to openly call for the management to be replaced but at least there was an expression of concern over where things were and are going, an element of addressing what was going on in front of everybody’s eyes. “Everyone now needs to take a good look at themselves, including the management, for good people and coaches though they all are, there has to be valid concerns as to whether they are the men to revive things after the scars of Saturday.” Maybe he was just emboldened by it being the end of the tour and not having to speak to or write about the team for a few months.

    What baffles me is the vehemence of his defense. He seems to be suffering some kind of journalistic Stockholm Syndrome. I understand that you want to keep the IRFU onside to some degree in his position but the way he defends the management is only damaging his own standing at this stage, as can be seen from the reaction here and on Twitter. Like yourselves, I’m a long-time reader and admirer of his work in print. The sad thing is that I don’t think this is a low point of his contributions to Off The Ball-it’s just a continuation of last season.

    As an aside, considering the general support (or understanding at least) the Irish management team enjoys from the print media, I wonder how much of an advantage it was to Deccie et al that the June tests weren’t shown on terrestrial television.

  5. Radge Fan

     /  September 27, 2012

    Handy for Leinster rugby – IRFU build the Aviva and Leinster use it for a couple of games a year. Leinster supporters get to go to a match with all the nice corporate facilities at half the price they would have to pay to go to Ireland games.

    WOC – do you bring (or do you intend bringing) Tiny Ovale to HC games in the Aviva?

    • As does Munster and could book it for other big games if they arise. Munster, like Leinster, would be of course paying the large rental fees. Leinster take the gamble that they can get enough fans to the games to turn a profit…and they have been successful.

      The IRFU could learn a lot from both the Leinster and Munster set-ups about how to create, cater for and maintain a fan base.

      • Radge Fan

         /  September 27, 2012

        A bit more awkward and expensive for the Munster supporter to travel to the Aviva instead of Thomond. For a rugby supporter based in Dublin (or for corporate entertainment) you can get the Aviva experience at a Leinster game for half the price you will get the international experience a couple of weeks before the AIs.

        The main issue probably is disposable income – up to a few years ago, rugby fans didn’t have to save all their pennies to be able to go to Heineken Cup Finals.

        • What exactly are you saying here? I don’t really get it. That Leinster should charge €80 for tickets to games in the Aviva? That the Aviva should have been built outside Dublin? Or that the Aviva is such an amazing stdium that Leinster fans dream day and night of getting in to enjoy all those amazing corporate facilities? I’m confused.

    • Leinster fans: come for the nice corporate facilities but stay for the rugby. I honestly think most Leinster fans prefer the rickety old RDS, but we’ve had some good days in the Palindrome.

      Tiny Ovale will go to the Aviva. She’s free of charge for those games too. All under-twos are free for all Leinster games. It’s the same in Munster, we’ve brought Little Ovale to Thomond Park. The stewards even gave us an escort out of the ground at the end of the game! Although maybe that was because we were wearing Leinster shirts and for our own safety 🙂

      Under two’s (or under-anythings for that matter) are not, however, free at Ireland games.

  6. Nothing new here. Goebbels Thornley is too far entrenched in the regime to turn back now. Like you, time was that I couldn’t wait to gobble up his articles and really thought I was in the presence of celebrity when seeing him up close at away games. How the mighty have fallen.

    To be honest, the only people in the print media I read anymore are Tony Ward and Captain Toland. There is no point with the others, the analysis is consistently poor and the journalism often appalling. Thankfully, there are a number of good blogs, which can either fulfil my analysis needs (hat-tip to yourselves and @dementedmole for the nerdery) or my journalistic needs (leinsterrugby.ie for direct reporting and video needs, or Harpin on Rugby).

    Its a real shame. I am a passionate believer in the importance of a free and independent media as part of a functioning democracy. IRFU and the current Irish set up is a deluded dictatorship. Bring on the coup.

    • Peter O’Reilly in the Sunday Times is generally very balanced and a good writer. Brendan Fanning and Franno (on a good day) are also value for money. The print media isn’t a total washout.

      • Radge Fan

         /  September 27, 2012

        Looks like the guys who agree with your angle gets the thumbs up. Fairplay to Thornley for not going along with what most of his customers want to read/hear. Brave of him.

        Brendan Fanning usually gets it wrong. I can’t stand the way he tries to turn everything into a conspiracy.

      • Ah jaysus, Franno? Gouge my eyes out with a spoon first.

        Actually, I have to confess I have started reading munsterfans.com a good bit more over the last year too. It has really progressed from being a fawning fansite to an interesting way to follow developments in Munster…that and the Munster tweeters. Farmer Farrelly and Goebbels certainly wouldn’t give you an insight to anything. Vive l’internet.

  7. jaybee965

     /  September 27, 2012

    I didn’t hear Off the Ball last night but it was the same last year. As far as GT was concerned greedy and perfidious Albion was trying to ruin the H-Cup and there was no thought given to the possibility that there be some merit in an argument the product might be improved if (practically) all the teams in the Rabo dod not get a free pass.

    To be honest I haven’t had much time for GT since roughly the same time in the last management cycle. Post RWC-2007 he was still pulling his shots when it came to Eddie O’Sullivan. Before the 6n in 2008 EOS gave an interview to the English-Independent and he said something like that he hadn’t experienced any negative feedback about the world cup experience (which the English journalist didn’t question). I think I actually emailed the piece in the Indy to GT at the Irish Times. Anyway when it came to the next press conference it was Derek Foley from the Star who had the balls to ask EOS what he was about the interview in the Indy and was he being serious (I think he said something like if you googled “rugby world cup” and “Ireland” you could find thousands of posts on blogs or messageboards the were overwhelmingly negative.

    Maybe Off the Ball should get OneF on once in a while. As someone before me said, nobody is looking for journalists who go around shouting for heads but there is a need for a bit more plain speaking that GT is prepared to offer at present – “entrenched in the present regime” as Curate’s Egg put it seems about right.

  8. jaybee965

     /  September 27, 2012

    Last weel – not last year (in line 1 -obviously)

  9. KeithEarlsisnota13

     /  September 27, 2012

    I think its time to throw in a job application to ‘the Times’ @WOC. Thornleys sycophancy and unwavering loyalty to the current regime is grating.The tired old Kidney excuses that Thornley regurgitates, of “too many games, end of season,provinces blah blah blah,” dont cut it.The southerners have no problem hockeying us on end of season tours and Wales are playing with verve and panache with more or less the same structure.Thornley is defending the indefensible.Its amazing that McDevitt and Woody who wouldnt have the same journalistic reputation as GT(had) can discreetly criticise the regime while GT calls for more time and berates anyone who suggests otherwise!!!
    When will the IRFU catch up with the rest of the world and buy into the WC cycle.You have four years and then your done unless performance dictates otherwise.Triple crowns mean nothing.Gatland is racking up Grand Slams and running the southerners close and deservedly got an extension until the next WC,Kidney has done neither yet he still got a new contract.
    Thornley like Kidney, is past his sell by date.Kidney is holding back Irish rugby, and both are treating the supporters like imbeciles.

  10. Kenny

     /  September 27, 2012

    Again Radge Fan more Aunt Sallying or as WOC said straw man arguing; Quoting Joe from the Indo backs up nothing except that you have issues with Leinster at the moment.

    Since when does Gerry become brave for defending the indefensible just so he can get a team sheet a day before the rest. Its called selling out.

    • Radge Fan

       /  September 27, 2012

      Kenny – quoting Schmidt in the Indo was to show that Michael’s post:
      “To unanimously declare Schmidt’s career and family plans in a ‘I know these things people, I’m a big hot shot journalist with contacts everywhere’ style just looks pathetic” is laughable. The whole world and its wife knows that Schmidt is putting family first becuse he has told the world and its wife. I ain’t the one with the straw man arguments or the issues around here.”

      • Kenny

         /  September 27, 2012

        Actually Michaels post tackled GT’s quick dismissal of JS as a possible addition to the coaching ticket. Nothing to do with what Joe actually wants to do. All to do with GT “felt” JS should do, ie not join the current Irish coaching ticket and possibly make Kidney look slightly inept.

        Your attempted Aunt Salying from start to finish of this comment section trying to turn it into something provincial is quite immature and a bit long in the tooth. Trying to twist all the comments into something they aren’t is both childish and really tiresome.

        Try and find GT’s articles wrt EOS at the end of his tenure and compare them to anything he has written lately re Kidneys tenure. The difference is both startling and scary. GT should have just stayed as the tennis correspondent for the Times rather than trying his hand at rugby, making friends in high places and being caught with his partiality pants down when it really matters.

  11. Radge Fan

     /  September 27, 2012

    Oh and Kenny – most newspapers like to sell newspapers and to do that you generally have to give the punters what they want.

    • Kenny

       /  September 27, 2012

      Read the times comments section online lately Radge Fan, they resemble Farrellies alot more. Remember High Farrelly fom the indo? Not long now before GT takes on the legendary troll status that auld Red Hugh got for himself. Used to be out with the old and in with the new. Now its just out with the old and in with the even older. Be carefull what you read in the papers, it might make you angry.

      All in all fair play to GT, I commend his bravery. Gold star for top troller goes to GT.

  12. mxyzptlk

     /  September 27, 2012

    Gerry Thornley’s top dip! (Thank you Brian Friel)

  13. Lottie

     /  September 27, 2012

    This article is ridiculous and the comments are ludicrous.

  14. @Radge Fan We cannot have ever post derailed by bizarre chip-on-shoulder interludes about Leinster fans, random unsubstantiated pot shots and illogical straw man arguments, all under the auspices of small minded parochialism and a clear anti-Leinster mentality. If you want to continue commenting on the blog without moderation, we suggest you express your opinions a bit more intelligently and with fewer axes to grind. We don’t expect everyone to agree on every topic, and are only too happy to debate constructively with those who don’t share our opinion, but you’re bordering on trolling by this stage. Consider this a yellow card.

    • Radge Fan

       /  September 27, 2012

      I didn’t mention Leinster fans in any of my posts. The only controversial comment made (which wasn’t aimed at Leinster fans – just the posters here) is that Thornley obviously has a mind of his own and is brave to go against popular opinion considering the business he is in.

  15. Lads, in case you haven’t realised it @RadgeFan is either Goebbels Thornley himself or one of his thralls, sponsored by communications departments to post on dissenting blogs (hat tip Karl, Sean, PatG or whoever has taken the effort). No dissent will be tolerated from this regime. Let the troll continue posting WC but the rest of us should observe the age-old law of the interweb: don’t feed the trolls.

  16. Kenny

     /  September 27, 2012

    I suppose the bee in my bonnet about the whole thing is the fact that I have never ever once seen GT write a single thing line or sentence which would directly question DK’s tactics or mistakes. Its always been questions against the players and pretty much anybody but the obvious.

    http://www.munsterfans.com/archive/index.php/t-7176.html?s=aa707260433282b81ded93ac3ee77c88

    “But that was a failure of management, and so was everything that has gone wrong since, for which O’Sullivan has to be mainly culpable. When performances didn’t reach expectations, O’Sullivan and co clearly had no strategy in mind except to plough on with the same team. Bad management. Bad planning.” from GT after 2007 RWC

    GT after RWC 2011

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2012/0522/1224316501983.html

    All credit to the IRFU, the Irish players are still in fine fettle after such a long season, writes GERRY THORNLEY
    Awful to see a journo sell his creds for a quick squint at the probable team sheet a few hours before everyone else.

  17. Radge Fan

     /  September 27, 2012

    WoC: “What exactly are you saying here? I don’t really get it.” …
    There are a lot of comments doing the rounds that the reason rugby goers are choosing province over country (and not going to the AIs) is because Team Ireland is not winning. Its not the only reason in my opinion – there is a heck of a lot of rugby available now and if you want the experience of a big day (or night out), you can go to two big games in the Aviva that Leinster are playing in. The IRFU are now competing with Leinster for a similar experience (same Irish players on view). I’ve no doubt that the IRFU would fill the Aviva if they charged the same price for the international tickets that Leinster charge.

    Some posters here have suggested that the IRFU should market themselves like Leinster & Munster do, but they can’t because they have got bigger commitments (like repaying for the stadium and funding central contracts, not to mention whatever they give to the provinces). What Leinster takes on the gate from the Aviva games is icing on the cake for them, but what the IRFU takes from the AIs is bread and butter for them.

    The 6Ns is not such an issue as you will always have travelling support and they will more than likely sell all tickets.

    If I was the IRFU for starters I wouldn’t have the Leinster v Mun game in the Aviva around the Autumn Internationals (i.e., move it to Limerick and have the return game in the Aviva after the 6Ns) for starters.

    You might try doing a blog on how the IRFU can get bums on seats for the AIs (and I think if Wayne Smith was Ireland coach, it would be still very difficult to sell Argentina & SA).

    • Kenny

       /  September 28, 2012

      Again it just seems to be Leinster v Munster with you, this is about Gerry Thornley, not Leinster and not Munster.

    • Some interesting thoughts, RadgeFan. When people say Ireland should market themselves like Leinster and Munster, what they generally mean (or what we mean anyway) is they need to try to show the same spirit of innovation and smart thinking – it doesn’t mean they have to come up with exactly the same strategies. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting bums on seats for all the teams.

      The IRFU didn’t have to work hard to shift expensive tickets in the years of the booming economy and successful rugby team, so they got a bit complacent. I wouldn’t underestimate the significance of the collosal boo-boo they made in mispricing the tickets for the first games in the Palindrome. A lot of fans probably haven’t forgiven them for that. People felt really taken for granted. In general, the IRFU hasn’t done enough to include people.

      The IRFU still hasn’t really got the hang of social media. Compare with the terrific work the Leinster Supporters Club does in getting its message out on twitter and facebook, and how the Leinster Branch leverages off this.

      • David

         /  September 28, 2012

        I reckon you’re on the money with the mispricing. People hate feeling screwed. Actually Munster probably aren’t your best example, they’ve not done the ticketing for the supporters club well. Got loads of people to join when Thomond Park was smaller, promised them HC tickets post expansion but then screwed them over for the clubs to benefit and then came crawling back to try and sell those tickets once the recession bit.

  18. Don

     /  September 28, 2012

    I have a theory.
    Radgefan is actually munstermicko from the indo’s rugby comments section.
    Granted, he tones it down on this blog but the same topics, empty arguments and BLATENT provincial bias continue.
    Just drop it, please sir. You are better than this.

    • Xyz

       /  September 28, 2012

      Nah, MunsterMicko is comedy gold. Only point in reading the Indo. RF may have an angle on the comments section but he knows what he is talking about. His rugby knowledge detracts from the trolling.

  19. Sean Sheridan

     /  September 28, 2012

    If you’re not sure you’ll go to a game because the team might not do well, then don’t bother. Stick with your preferred province that happens to be doing well currently, whoever that may be, and leave the seat at the Aviva to somebody less fickle or results-sensitive than yourself.
    Why all the fuss about what Gervais Thornley writes anyway? Is he only good when you agree with him? He’s a feckin’ journalist who, like the majority of the bunch posting here or on the internet, hasn’t chased an egg since his school days.

    • I don’t know who that’s aimed at exactly. Like I say I’ve scarcely missed more than a handful of games in the last five years. The only games I’ve missed are because I couldn’t get a ticket or couldn’t attend for an external reason.

  20. David_Puddy

     /  September 28, 2012

    Aside from all this the one one thing that really annoys me is how GT always quotes the odds for every game or talks of “beating the spread”- I, and I’m sure many others, have no interest in the betting markets, we just want to see a good game of rugby. The bookmakers get enough publicity and tax breaks in peddling their toxic product already

  21. As a Munster fan I think the way Leinster have reinvented the supporters experience is a credit to them. Love seeing all the families around when I’m in the RDS. It’s also financially canny as you’re building a solid fan-base for future generations. And as I’m sure no rugby fan would disagree, match day in Thomond is a truly special experience. Recent trips to the Aviva, mainly for the internationals seldom involve half-time entertainment or any other small touches that make you feel there’s anything more afoot here than the IRFU’s hand in your pocket. And I’m shocked but not surprised that under twos don’t go free. Ridiculous stuff. The IRFU are doing a fine job of alienating current and future supporters while still expecting us to shell out the big bucks for less than stellar performaces.

    But back to the original matter at hand, El Thorinho. I accept that it’s easy for us all here on the Internet to take potshots at players, management and journalists as is so oft pointed out by Farrelly et al. But anyone who follows and cares about the game is entitled to an opinion as far as I’m concerned and it seems a pity that we’re being so poorly served by the main print journalist on the subject, who also seems to have progressed to shouting down anyone who disagrees with him. We’re lucky to have a higher level of commentary available here online, but it shouldn’t be the only option for an intelligent look at the game, especially regarding the “Paper of record”.

    Finally, I’m aware I said above that opinions are like areseholes etc etc, but they should be expressed in a relevant context and courteous manner. Based on these comments and ore stretching back through the blog, I’d like to say cop on Radge Fan. You’re letting the side down.

    • As eloquent a comment as we’ve ever had on the blog. Fully agreed. My favourite thing about the Thomond Park experience is how they leave the away team on the pitch for what seems like an age to soak up the noise before the Munster team comes out. Terrific stuff.

    • Radge Fan

       /  September 30, 2012

      Hello Kate, I hope you don’t think me discourteous when I say we’re not on the same side on this one and the ones you should be chiding for their manners are the ones on ‘your side’ who resort to character assassination, name calling etc. when they don’t like the opinion given. If I appear discourteous to you, its because fire needs to be met with fire.

  22. Contraflow

     /  September 28, 2012

    Does anyone else get the impression that Thornley doesn’t actually know that much about rugby? His articles are all very high level in their analysis. When compared to Emmet Byrne or Liam Toland you realise Thornley is incapable of educating his readership about the technicalities of rugby. You will learn a lot more reading blogs or forums than you ever will from Thornley.

    I can’t help but feel he would much rather be covering English soccer where he could watch his beloved ARSEnal. Personally I find watching 22 dis-likable and disinterested millionaires going through the motions to be a painful waste of time.

    As an aside on rugby forums, they can be both good and bad. They are great way to keep up to date on your team but you need to be prepared to divorce yourself from certain annoyances, namely astonishing levels of bias, flaming/trolling [nothing worse than 2 bedroom warriors hijacking a thread going back and forth flaming each other] and over-posters/forum hogs [over sharers, the forum is not all about you, if you have 10 thousand posts, you need to get a life… these people also often intimidate new posters off a forum further diminishing it as a forum].

    • ABRO'G

       /  September 28, 2012

      Absolutely. GT is about as insightful as Frankie “the insightful ex pro” Sheahan.

    • Actually, this doesn’t bother us in the least. There’s a place for technical analysis, for sure, but I’m not sure it’s on the front page of the Irish Times Sport section. Best leave that to Captain Toland in the sidebar. He’s writing for a national audience, so going into technical detail about body heights at the ruck or whatever would probably leave a lot of people behind.

      • Amiga500

         /  September 28, 2012

        Hmmm, I kinda agree, but not 100% sure on that WOC.

        I certainly wouldn’t presume the general public not to be able to absorb it, and definitely wouldn’t presume they aren’t interested.

        Personally, it is unfortunate sky, rte and the beeb as well as the written press dumb it all down something shocking. You’ve men like David Wallace, Keith Wood, Conor O’Shea and Andy Ward sitting in studios, yet how many times do they break down a match forensically? No doubt they could – but yet they aren’t asked. You might get a minute or 2 like this but thats it:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/19689978

        Even an hour long show during the week reviewing the tactics of one or two of the weekend’s games. It’d be better than 90% of the sh!te on TV and absolute gold for coaches (and players of all ages). Or devote a few pages to it in a regular column every week, complete with photos, tactical plots, schematics and drawings.

  23. ABRO'G

     /  September 28, 2012

    Thornley’s article from Wednesday, has the following

    Africa and Argentina is a tough enough sell, but how Ireland come through encounters with this battle-hardened pair and the Six Nations will determine whether their reign will be extended beyond the end of their current contract until the end of the season.

    “We’re talking about my situation?” he said, a little taken aback to be asked about it.

    So, at least someone in the room asked DK the question, but from GT’s performance on OTB it couldn’t have been himself.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2012/0926/1224324425629.html

  24. Only read Thornley to give myself a laugh he is bound hand and foot to the IRFU, and as an analyst makes George Hook appear almost Delphic. His contribution on Thursday was risible and embarrassing.

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