Reply All

Almost everyone who works in any sort of office job, or probably lots of other environments, will have a story to tell about someone mistakenly hitting the ‘Reply All’ button, or somehow sending the wrong information to the wrong people.

It’s a source of comedy gold, as anyone who’s heard David O’Doherty’s ‘I Sent the Text Message to the Person the Text was About’, or seen the episode of The Office where Brent launches an investigation into who mocked up a compromising picture of him (‘It degrades women’), will attest.

And so it has come to pass that the latest email blunderbusses are the Munster management team, who mistakenly sent a critical evaluation of the entire squad to… the entire squad.

In all likelihood this one will blow over, and it’s important not to make too big a deal of it. But my word, it’s good a bit of an old giggle. Winning rugby matches and fostering squad harmony in a group of 30 or 40 competitive animals is a hard enough business as it is without digging absurd holes for oneself. The point many have made that the players would be used to candid criticism misses one key element: it’s one thing the coaches telling you to, say, improve your passing, but it’s entirely another having the whole squad know the coaches don’t rate your passing. It’s a case of the ‘blue eyed islanders’ problem. Everyone knows that everyone knows etc. that I can’t pass.

The biggest reveal in the whole thing was just how quaint and simple the report sounded. Colour-coding denoting the pecking order of the players! Comments such as ‘sloppy lifestyle’ and ‘on a gravy train’ [allegedly]! Do such remarks really need to be committed to a written document? It all sounds a bit Football Manager, but without the layers of complexity. Isn’t this the digital age where players are GPS-monitored for every minute they train and play?

Jirry: ‘I see that BJ Botha’s heart rate has been up in Zone 5 for the last eight minutes.  He’s cooked. Might be time to bring on Stephen Archer for the last ten.’

Axel: [consults sheet] It says here his scrummaging is average.  Let’s leave Big BJ out there for a bit.

And since when was pecking order of players set in stone by colour-coding?  Aren’t these the days of horses for courses and fostering competition for places?

Jirry: Ok, so with CJ Stander and Robin Copeland at 6 and 8 I reckon we need Sean Dougall at 7 to balance things up a bit.

Axel: [takes out copy of squad report] Yeah, I’m looking at the sheet here and it has Tommy O’Donnell shaded in lime green and Dougall is yellow, so that means O’Donnell’s our first choice. Dougall on the bench. You got the memo, right?

Jirry: I did, but I still think O’Donnell is a bit too like the other fellas. Dougall would give us a bit more in the ruck, and the other lads can do the carries.

Axel: I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there. Didn’t you get a copy of the memo?

Jirry: Yes, I have the memo, I just think…

Axel: I’m going to go right ahead and send you another copy of that memo.