Thursday 28 February 2013

The Future of Irish Rugby by Ciaran Burke

In a first for this blog, there is a new writer, Introducing Ciaran Burke who looks into the crystal ball for Irish rugby's future. Follow Ciaran on twitter

As the pain of defeat to Scotland wavers and our thoughts turn to Saturday week against France, we as rugby fans still have the lingering thoughts of the elephant in the room that is the Future.

Two points in particular; A, The Kidney debate; and B, The future of this Irish team that in my opinion, has for a long time not realised its true potential.

Over the last few days, the kidney debate has brought up on various sites, blogs and twitter and I see it a knee jerk reaction, It’s rightly an issue that needs to be discussed in depth but the wisdom that by getting rid of Kidney will suddenly turn our fortunes around and everything will be rosey in the garden is foolhardy.

If the IRFU get rid of Kidney; who will replace him? The list of potential names mentioned where Conor O’Shea, Mike Ruddock and Joe Schmidt. All fantastic and respected rugby men, but as I put it they are either unavailable at this time or probably not interested for various reasons. 

My preference would be for Conor O’Shea take the job, but he is contractually tied to Harlequins until at least 2014. It must also be said that, realistically, would these guys want to take the job with such a short window of games and time to stamp their style and systems on the team with the World Cup fast approaching.

This is why I wouldn’t be surprised it the big-wigs at the IRFU decide its better the devil you know and offer a new contract to kidney until after the next World Cup, and have O’Shea lined up to take the reins if things go pear shaped .

Now back to the team; I was reading the independent supplement on Ireland’s best XV of last 50 years, and one thing that struck me was the fact that a lot of the guys picked won shag all in their playing time with Ireland, save for sporadic big moral boosting victories here and there.

Now I know it was different times for these guys, but the fact that most of us have lived through triple crowns, a Grand slam and multiple Heineken cups just shows how far we have come and to an extent how greedy we have become.

This team and extended squad, including injured guys, are a talented bunch individually but why can’t we get it together consistently? That is a question for the management and players. Injuries have played their part in our present slump and Ireland as a rugby country has a very small pool of players to pick from, and to have the spine of that team ripped out is bound to affect us and to think otherwise is silly. The Argentina and Wales games glossed over this, but gave us a chance to infuse some good young players into the cut and thrust of test rugby. Regardless of whether Deccie planned to do this or not; it is a positive to the development of a squad working to a World Cup. 

Whether its Deccie or someone else who takes us forward I know there is a lot of thing to work with and work on heading into the future.

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