The Official Irish Rugby Thread

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Uncle Fester
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Uncle Fester »

danthefan wrote:Not sure if it's been mentioned but it's been in the media today that Keet became a father recently. Congrats to him. Hope his head is in the right place for the game.
Mentioned a few pages back. Might have been why Buck said there was doubt over the centres for the game on Sunday.
Lightship
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Lightship »

grimoald wrote:
Lightship wrote:12 is, glaringly, Munster's weakest position as we only have one option there; Mafi. Barnes and Johne have played there but nobody can argue they are real options at 12. We didn't sign a 12 to replace Tuitupou and I would have assumed Downey was to become one of two options. Hanrahan is 19 and not featuring in RDP12 squads.
The problem is that all the Laulala stuff seems fairly certain (interest-wise if not contract-wise), and I can't imagine we'd be targeting NIQ 12 and 13.

Downey and a top quality NIQ 12 would make a lot of sense, particularly if we got Bowe, as you then have Keet, Bowe and Barnes as the 13s.

Not getting Bowe changes things somewhat as you would have to play Keet on the wing unless Howlett stays or he is otherwise replaced.
This season we've had a NIQ 12, 13 and 14 on the books. I don't see that it matters if the numbers are consecutive or not. For a balanced squad we should sign a NIQ 12 and either a 13 or 14(depending on where Earls plays).
Bowe would be a great addition but I am not remotely getting my hopes up. We have decent strength in the back 3 without him. Centre is another matter.
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grimoald
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by grimoald »

Great article on Rala in the IT:
Bagman in the background packs a lot into running smooth operation

JOHN O'SULLIVAN

HE IS a mother and father, rolled into one. He is a confidante. He is a handyman. He provides a shoulder to lean on. He drives a white van. He is the lost-and-found property office. He offers an escape clause to the forgetful. He is Dixie’s fella, who loves all music but will genuflect to the Beatles and Christy Moore.

He has been moulded by the 1960s and loves to spend time at the bar in Lakelands, home of his beloved Terenure College, and Inishbofin. He is a reformed hooker, going straight, that is to say to the hearts and minds of those with whom he works. He is the good-natured punchline to many a practical joke played by the players.

He is the bagman to the Ireland rugby team, a duty he’s discharged since 1994 by his own recollection. Some day he hopes to become a baggage master. It’s his aspiration. But most of all he is the incomparable Rala.

Here he outlines his role with Ireland in the build-up to a match and for these abstract purposes, the fixture takes place on a Saturday afternoon at the Aviva Stadium (3pm) and the squad are based at Carton House.

SUNDAY

(Prior to the Saturday match)

The first thing I’d do on arrival is to lay out the laundry (clean, fresh training kit, etc) in the corridor outside my room for collection by the players. I would then start preparing for the training session the next day, cleaning, washing and pumping balls for Mark Tainton’s (Ireland kicking coach) inspection. I would get him to test the pressure.

The players would have their main kit bag with them. I might have one or two in the van belonging to players who were flying in and they’d go in the corridor too.

That evening I would assist Ger Carmody (Ireland logistics manager) in writing up the itinerary for the next day, getting it signed off by Declan Kidney. That A3-sized schedule has to be delivered on the double to every room, players and management, and also to the medical and video analysis rooms. It provides detail to the schedule for the next day; it outlines what they are doing, where they should be, the correct training kit to wear in terms of colour coding. Coaches always wear a different colour to the players so they are easily identifiable.

Then I would see Paul, Brian or Arthur in the hotel. I would list our requirements for the next day and the timings involved relating to the hot drinks for the training session like tea, coffee, soup and drinking chocolate. (IRFU nutritionist) Ruth (Wood-Martin) would have an input into that as she decides on bars and supplement drinks.

Ger always tries to give me a bigger than normal room, sometimes two because it has to house so much stuff. I would pick a corner of the room to devote to pre-preparing match items, six days before a game. I name it after who we are playing. We’ll call it Welsh. There’d be oodles of spares: shorts, ties, shoes, belts, cufflinks, jocks, socks. I would have a stud box with three or four different sizes of studs, pliers, laces, gum shields. You try to divide things into sections: pre-match and post-match. There’d be 24 assorted drinking vessels (chip strap and orthodox), which are cleaned by a machine in the hotel.

For me there is an air of excitement to “assembly evening” when the players arrive; time to catch up and listen to the latest yarns. Some are in by six o’clock, some seven, others closer to the deadline. Assembly night is always lateish for me, especially if there are extra chaps coming in. Like last week, with some of the young lads like Peter O’Mahony, Craig Gilroy and Tiernan O’Halloran. I’d quietly keep an eye because it’s new for them. I try to help them along until they settle in after a day or two.

MONDAY

For a training session at 10am, I would be at the pitch an hour earlier. The van resembles a mini-warehouse. It contains 20 (tackle) shields; a one-man scrum machine; Mervyn’s (Murphy, video analyst) ladder; an ice bucket; water; Powerade; a supplement box; a bag of spare training kit (all colours in case someone is wearing the wrong one); jerseys; shorts and socks; a fruit basket (ripe bananas, mandarin oranges and grapes); 18 body suits; bibs; six spare subs’ coats in case players are standing around or sometimes the management use them when it’s freezing; a baby stud box; Rala’s emergency box which has another selection of studs; kicking tees; black markers; mouth wash (Keith Earls); Jamie’s (Heaslip) hand wax; banana cake (Les Kiss); spare whistles; utility poles; white and coloured and umbrellas for the management.

Then there is the music, which is very important. I have a running battle with Jamie (Heaslip) as regards the music. I would be putting on the Fureys and he’d be trying to put on some techno noise. We play Christy Moore, a lot. I love all kinds of music particularly from the 1960s. It’s be blaring out from the van. I would have a few sweets hidden but Rory Best seems to be able to sniff them out at a hundred paces, even when I hide them down the back of a seat. Just as the training is about to begin the music goes off and it wouldn’t go on again until the training has finished.

The weather is a big factor in what you do in terms of putting things out on the pitch in preparation. There’s no point in leaving tackle suits out if it is lashing rain. I would put out the cones, rugby balls, a soccer ball, few hurleys, shields, the ladder and get the table – it must have a table cloth – with the drinks, fruit, tea, coffee soup, drinking chocolate, cups, saucers, milk, spoons.

You try to prepare for all eventualities. I’m there to assist the captain and the management team in whatever capacity I can. The boys will arrive at 9.55am. The music goes off at 10am. I prepare the drinks for masseurs Dave (Bennett) and Willie (Revin) because they run on during the session. As soon as the session finishes I start the packing up and immediately begin preparations for the next one.

It’s back to the hotel and the players’ laundry would be due for collection at 2pm. I’d oversee that process and make sure it’s there for Carton’s Paul Kershaw so we get it back the next day. After lunch there’s bits and pieces to be done.

I work very closely with Declan Meade, Tony and John in our (IRFU) warehouse in Naas. There would be gear going back and forth as guys change sizes. You always get a bit of that no matter what contingencies you might have put in place.

There’d be time for a mid-afternoon cappuccino with Ger. There are so many traditions I have enjoyed through the years and one is the “Tea Club”. John Hayes was chairman. He’d come in of an evening and say what time are we on tonight? It had to be Barry’s tea. You’d have all the bits ready but he’d make the tea and serve you. Darce (Gordon D’Arcy), Rory (Best), Shaggy (Shane Horgan), and (Denis) Leamy would often be there. I miss John big time, as do all the lads.

The itinerary for the next day would be drawn up, signed off by Declan, printed and shoved under doors. I’d have cleaned the balls and got Mark to check them and they’d be back out in the van.

TUESDAY

It’s virtually a carbon copy of the previous days in terms of the training, just a little bit sharper because it is media day and there are interviews to be done. I’d be adding to the match corner in my room. The match balls, eight of them, are introduced at training and they have to be cleaned and marked.

Throughout the week the players are involved in the unholy trinity of darts, table tennis and pool. I tend to let the players off and if I do play get knocked out in the first round of everything.

Declan Meade would send on the gift cases and the yellow box which contains three flags. You are not going to need flags at the Aviva Stadium because they are already there. There’s also a CD of Ireland’s Call. If you were going somewhere like Tonga you’d give them to the home union. But I always have them available. I’d put it in the match corner of my room with the captain’s post-match presentation gifts – pins and ties. You are assembling this as you go along.

WEDNESDAY

It’s what they call a “down day”. Mine would start off in assisting Mark Tainton with the kickers (Ronan O’Gara, Jonathan Sexton et al). They either do the kicking at Carton House or they might go to the Aviva. Mark will tell me. I would prepare the balls. It can be four or five players but always Ronan and Jonathan. I’d pack drinks for them and if the weather was bad, their showering gear and towels. I would bring a few energy bars and a soccer ball. They warm up with that. Practice usually takes two hours.

We go in a people carrier. If it is at Lansdowne Road I might bring some additional match-day stuff and leave it there. The reason I go is to kick the balls back and to look after the drinks. On our return there is a great tradition, “the kickers’ lunch”. There might be chips involved.

Wednesday gives me a great chance to work on stuff. I might have gear coming in from the warehouse or if we were playing away I’d get most of the packing done. I usually go to the films that evening or go out with the management for dinner. I try to catch up on sleep. The door to my room is always open but that’s one when it might be closed for an hour or two.

On the bottom of the itinerary sheets there is a thing called “Rala’s quote of the day”. It’s only occasionally mine. A wee girl in Limerick, Hazel, gave me a few last week. The original reason was to allow the players to contribute. Donncha (O’Callaghan) comes up with a few, so too Taints (Mark Tainton), receptionists; there are lot of contributors. Even if Einstein came up with it, it is still pencilled in under Rala’s quote of the day.

THURSDAY

Every bagman needs to think ahead but on this day in particular. It’s all preparation. We train and move hotels.

You have to do all the things you’d do on other training days, and then load the van with all the gear and set up shop again, so to speak, in another hotel, the Shelbourne.

The laundry arrangements are slightly more complex in that having been collected from one hotel it has to be dropped to another.

I simply could not do my job without the help and co-operation of so many people in the IRFU offices, the warehouse, various hotel staff, the lads in the backroom team and so many others.

You appreciate you’re a small cog in a big wheel. Ger Carmody is brilliant. I would be lost without him.

Stuff starts to come in for the match. I would plan to leave several items like shields, balls and cones in the stadium to save me doing it on match day.

FRIDAY

I get to the stadium about an hour before the players for the captain’s run, which lasts about half an hour. I’ll start getting the changing-room ready for the next day and then help Mark with the kickers. There was a tradition where the doc, Gary O’Driscoll, and his team, would stay behind to kick balls back. The players bring a rucksack with a change, keeping what we call the stadium bags for match days.

It’s one of my favourite times, the eve of match. The jerseys arrive from Andrew Ellis. Declan (Meade) will send in the match shorts and socks. In my spare room I would hang up the match jerseys, the starting set 1-22, take out the creases and hang them on a rail. I would put out the shorts and socks (this is mid to late afternoon) on my bed; neatly. It gets wrecked thereafter. You’d have your stud box, laces, black markers, polish, cloths and brushes. I would have washed the balls again.

You leave two match balls in the stadium after the captain’s run for the opposing team. I collect the two of them on match day. We have eight match balls and they have to be prepared for a final time. I pack spare, spare shorts, and the same with socks. The players collect their match shorts and socks on a Friday night but the real objective for some is to turn my room upside down.

Donncha (O’Callaghan) is always first, Brian (O’Driscoll) the last. On the itinerary it reads: “Gentlemen please collect match shorts and socks at your leisure post dinner.”

I’d be in my room until about 11pm and then crack on with packing for the following morning.

SATURDAY

The jersey rail would be in the lobby under guard. The van is packed and you have a check-list so you’re not wondering if you packed the walkie-talkie headsets and chargers. After an early breakfast in the Saddle Room I get to the Aviva for 8.30am for a 3pm kick-off. If we are playing away from home it would be midday.

I don’t like rushing and you have time to chat to people. I bring a few sandwiches for what I call the A team in Lansdowne; Jimmy, Paul and Dessie. They not only help me unload but know where to put the stuff.

I have a set routine. The jerseys go up first, along with their tops for the anthem and from there it is revolves around how I like to go about things. For about 60 seconds, as the players arrive, the dressingroom is neat and ordered before bags are thrown down and everything gets moved around. Some players like an extra pair of white socks under their playing socks.

I put the programmes out, get the toiletries table ready in the shower area, lay out two towels per player and prepare the drinks for the side of the pitch and the ice bucket. You start putting the stuff that’s going on the pitch outside the door of the dressingroom; cones, shields, balls, towels, emergency box.

You won’t do that until an hour before they arrive. The idea is not having anyone having to ask for something. I have yet to get 10 out of 10, mind you. I am striving for that. I am the bag man. If I ever 10 out of 10, I’ll call myself a master. It’s small things but there’s always something. The thing is to deal with it with the least fuss.

The last thing I do is put a ball in the centre on a cone. Then I wait outside for the bus to arrive. The boys collect their bags and we get the medical gear inside in the shortest possible time. Then you try to become invisible while watching everything. The players go out for the photo/warm-up. You keep track of the match balls.

The players are on a clock. You run around, pick up bits, go in briefly and then back outside the dressingroom door; I stand close to it in case I hear my name called. The greatest moment of the week for me is when the captain leads them out. I feel proud and privileged, in making my tiny contribution. I am in and out to the dressingroom during the game. When there’s a penalty or a conversion the players are standing still like cattle in the field and you scan them easily, looking for tears or blood.

About 10 minutes before half-time I stroll into the changing-room. I would have the second-half jerseys hanging up in case they want to change; the iced drinks, supplement drinks.

You might have to assist a player in changing a jersey because they are so tight. When I come in after the match, I take my time unless there is a plane going in an hour. A bit of food comes in. I tidy up. They have laundry bags in which they put their match kit. I take that and it is laundered and returned the next day.

I would ring Paul in the Shelbourne and tell him to open up my room before I get there. The players know that on a table I would leave out spare bow ties, belts, cufflinks; even pairs of shoes of varying sizes. I enjoy going to the post-match dinners but don’t always make it.

SUNDAY

Time to pack up: two vans to be loaded because everything won’t fit in one. It’ll be straight down to Carton House because we have the French match in Paris the week after Sunday’s game against Wales.

I’m incredibly fortunate to be in the position I am, a job that has given me an opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in countries all over the world.

Ireland bagman Patrick O’Reilly is alert to player and management needs during an Ireland training session during last autumn’s World Cup campaign at Owen Delaney Park, Taupo, New Zealand.

(Below): The Terenure clubman has an unusual encounter during the 2003 World Cup in Australia. (Right): Ireland prop Cian Healy celebrates with O’Reilly after defeating Italy at World Cup 2011.

Photographs: Inpho

Attentive to detail and attentive to people, Patrick ‘Rala’ O’Reilly has it all
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grimoald
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by grimoald »

Lightship wrote:
grimoald wrote:
Lightship wrote:12 is, glaringly, Munster's weakest position as we only have one option there; Mafi. Barnes and Johne have played there but nobody can argue they are real options at 12. We didn't sign a 12 to replace Tuitupou and I would have assumed Downey was to become one of two options. Hanrahan is 19 and not featuring in RDP12 squads.
The problem is that all the Laulala stuff seems fairly certain (interest-wise if not contract-wise), and I can't imagine we'd be targeting NIQ 12 and 13.

Downey and a top quality NIQ 12 would make a lot of sense, particularly if we got Bowe, as you then have Keet, Bowe and Barnes as the 13s.

Not getting Bowe changes things somewhat as you would have to play Keet on the wing unless Howlett stays or he is otherwise replaced.
This season we've had a NIQ 12, 13 and 14 on the books. I don't see that it matters if the numbers are consecutive or not. For a balanced squad we should sign a NIQ 12 and either a 13 or 14(depending on where Earls plays).
Bowe would be a great addition but I am not remotely getting my hopes up. We have decent strength in the back 3 without him. Centre is another matter.
Bowe would change things a lot. Without him we definitely need two outside backs, with him we could make do with one and I'd much prefer a 12.

We have 2 NIQs signed up for next year WdP and Botha. After that it is pretty flexible, we could do with a quality project prop (BJ will be off after a year), a backrower, a 12, a 13 and a wing/cum fullback. I think 12 is the most urgent need still.
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Hellraiser
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Hellraiser »

I'm surprised no one else noticed this:
IT IS always an interesting adventure to peek in at an Irish squad training session in the week leading up to the first Six Nations Championship match of the season.

So it was that a familiar figure, although not one of Declan Kidney’s assembly, was standing around in an Irish tracksuit.

Could it be the shape of things to come that Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss (above) was familiarising himself with the set-up in the year he is due to become eligible (October) to play for Ireland?
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shabadoo
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by shabadoo »

Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
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Hellraiser
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

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shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...

Edit: Actually I'm wrong.
Last edited by Hellraiser on Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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DOB
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

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Hellraiser wrote:I'm surprised no one else noticed this:
IT IS always an interesting adventure to peek in at an Irish squad training session in the week leading up to the first Six Nations Championship match of the season.

So it was that a familiar figure, although not one of Declan Kidney’s assembly, was standing around in an Irish tracksuit.

Could it be the shape of things to come that Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss (above) was familiarising himself with the set-up in the year he is due to become eligible (October) to play for Ireland?
I wouldn't read too much into it; Strauss does live in Dublin. I remember Eddie called Ben Gissing up to a squad once. There was much frothing over Bob Casey being overlooked, but it just came down to they needed a lock at short notice and there was no sense in Bob flying over from London. They might just want an opposition lineout thrower or something. And threw in a tracksuit top for him.
Adetroy
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Adetroy »

shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
Colm Tucker?
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Hellraiser
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Hellraiser »

Adetroy wrote:
shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
Colm Tucker?

I thought so too but he had 3 Irish caps to his 2 Lions caps.
Adetroy
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Adetroy »

Wonders will never cease. A half decent Article by Huge Farrelly
"HALLO, what are you boyos still doing here? Thought you would have gone home by now."

It was the day after the end of Ireland's World Cup dream and a group of Irish journalists were back in Wellington's 'Cake Tin' to take in the quarter-final clash between Australia and South Africa.

When one of their Welsh colleagues, still buzzing from the previous day's (and night's) events greeted them with that lilting, sing-song accent, so perfectly suited to gentle mockery, it brought the reality of the situation crashing home.

Wales had another two weeks of World Cup involvement to go with a young, confident, expressive team who had a genuine shot at making it to their first final. Ireland? Slan abhaile.

It was not supposed to be like this. Dan Lydiate? Luke Charteris? Toby Faletau? These were Dragons for God's sake, players regularly at the end of whippings from the provinces in club competition, while Scarlets out-half Rhys Priestland, mesmeric the previous afternoon, had hardly rocked Thomond, the RDS or Ravenhill to its foundations over the previous few years.

And yet, this experimental side, drawn from Welsh clubs who had never provided a Heineken Cup winner had comprehensively outplayed a team packed with European champions.

CURSE

For all the promise of the pool stages, Ireland's World Cup curse had struck again leaving them as the only member of the big eight, plus Argentina, never to have made it to the last four on rugby's biggest stage.

Wales saw us coming. They had slipped into the last eight largely under the radar and though Warren Gatland was credited with putting together a credible campaign, they were widely expected to put in a brave performance and depart with heads held high.

If they had managed to beat South Africa rather than lose narrowly in their pool game, there would have been greater hype, but all the focus was on an Irish side who had turned the tournament upside down with that win over the Tri Nations champions -- New Zealand's greatest threat.

The week before the quarter-final, in these pages under the headline 'Wales will be waiting in the long grass,' reasons for fearing the Welsh were outlined but the doom-mongering was based on a hunch rather than logic and for the match preview, it was impossible to look beyond the Irish.

Looking back, you search for differences in the build-up to the Australia, Italy and Wales games and they come screaming back at you.

Ireland were based in Auckland before facing the Wallabies and were stationed in a lakeside hotel on the industrial outskirts of New Zealand's biggest city.

While this had worked against them in Bordeaux in 2007, the difference this time around was that they were there for days rather than weeks and being cut-off worked in the squad's favour as they steeled themselves for a defining challenge.

Ireland's form in the warm-up matches and opening pool encounter against the USA had been largely wretched, while further motivation undoubtedly stemmed from palpable Wallaby arrogance, whose players struggled to name any of their opponents beyond Brian O'Driscoll.

It was the perfect psychological preparation, expertly tapped by Declan Kidney, and the stand-out moments from that wonderful night in Auckland -- Sean O'Brien's tears for the anthems, Stephen Ferris' shopping bag manoeuvre on Will Genia, Cian Healy's monstrous tackling -- told as much.

Then, before the Italy game, Nick Mallett made the fatal error of calling out the Irish front-row which gave Ireland an extra layer of determination to put the Azzurri back in their box on a night when they were superior in every department.

For the quarter-finals, Ireland had become the story. New Zealand were never going to lose to a gutsy but outmatched Argentina, England and France were playing dour muck and South Africa-Australia contests were two-a-penny through the Tri Nations.

Ireland were fresh, vibrant and seen as the greatest threat to southern hemisphere supremacy.

The squad was billeted in the heart of Wellington, readily accessible to the thousands of extra supporters who descended to witness the historical achievement of a first semi-final.

It meant the dynamic had changed completely from the pool stages. As well as the swelling support-base, hordes of extra media joined the expedition and what had once been three or four travelling hacks and a couple of bored local journos in Queenstown, became a battery of cameras and dictaphones to the point where the hotel room assigned for press conferences could barely accommodate them.

The players were engaging and entertaining, becoming the darlings of the nightly TV bulletins as they joked good-humouredly with reporters and happily posed with the many fans hovering around the hotel lobby.

Ever frank and to the point, Ronan O'Gara has since expressed his belief that the squad "fell in love with ourselves a little bit" and, while that would never have been the intention, it is easy to see how all this fawning attention could have had that subliminal effect.

Hindsight decrees that isolation would have been preferable, but, as Kidney explained this week, there was not much he could do about the situation.

"You get very little say with hotels as you go on in the tournament, there are logistical issues that come into play. You don't just replicate it and say let's go out of town," said Kidney.

VIEWS

"I wouldn't have any doubts about the preparation, but I think it's good that players have given their individual views on how they felt coming into it. It is something that you can't quantify."

The upshot was that when the game kicked off, Wales, with a team that the Irish players beat for kicks on a regular basis at club level, had the mental advantage. They played above themselves, their best performance of the tournament, while Ireland could not hit earlier heights.

Even when the Irish brought the score back to 10-10 just after half-time, there was never any sure sense that they would kick on and their insecurities manifested themselves in uncharacteristically poor defending for the Mike Phillips and Jon Davies tries. Four months on, the pain of that experience, a massive opportunity squandered, has not diminished.

One nagging question that will not go away, and one that was painted as a likely scenario in pre-tournament predictions, is whether Ireland would have been better served by losing to Australia and going into a quarter-final against the Springboks as complete underdogs -- the ideal scenario for Kidney to work his magic.

We will never know and that Wellington disappointment can't be completely erased until that elusive first semi-final is achieved.

Beating Wales on Sunday would help to chip away at it, but the lessons must be learned and, if Ireland's Wellington Waterloo has taught us one thing, it is that the battle starts in the mind.
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Buck
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Buck »

Mentioned a few pages back. Might have been why Buck said there was doubt over the centres for the game on Sunday
No - that wasnt the reason. I am still hearing talk over his fitness however. You might still see McFadden playing and Kearney moving up to the bench.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Banana Man »

Buck wrote:
Mentioned a few pages back. Might have been why Buck said there was doubt over the centres for the game on Sunday
No - that wasnt the reason. I am still hearing talk over his fitness however. You might still see McFadden playing and Kearney moving up to the bench.
Not a chance Keanrey would move up if this was the case, a certain Mr Paddy Wallace is next in line.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Hellraiser »

DOB wrote:
Hellraiser wrote:I'm surprised no one else noticed this:
IT IS always an interesting adventure to peek in at an Irish squad training session in the week leading up to the first Six Nations Championship match of the season.

So it was that a familiar figure, although not one of Declan Kidney’s assembly, was standing around in an Irish tracksuit.

Could it be the shape of things to come that Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss (above) was familiarising himself with the set-up in the year he is due to become eligible (October) to play for Ireland?
I wouldn't read too much into it; Strauss does live in Dublin. I remember Eddie called Ben Gissing up to a squad once. There was much frothing over Bob Casey being overlooked, but it just came down to they needed a lock at short notice and there was no sense in Bob flying over from London. They might just want an opposition lineout thrower or something. And threw in a tracksuit top for him.

Gissing was eligible by that stage I think, certainly he has a few A caps under his belt. Wilkinson was also brought into squads before his residency was complete.
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Lenny
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Lenny »

shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
I think it might be the late Colm Tucker.
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Buck
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Buck »

Not a chance Keanrey would move up if this was the case, a certain Mr Paddy Wallace is next in line.
Take it from me - Kearney is the bench back up in such a scenario
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Armchair_Superstar »

ROG says the squad fell in love with themselves, he'd be just the man to spot that kind of thing.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Hellraiser »

Lenny wrote:
shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
I think it might be the late Colm Tucker.

It's not. See above.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by ZappaMan »

Armchair_Superstar wrote:ROG says the squad fell in love with themselves, he'd be just the man to spot that kind of thing.
Because he's awesome.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Banana Man »

Hellraiser wrote:
Lenny wrote:
shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
I think it might be the late Colm Tucker.

It's not. See above.
Tony O'Reilly has a clatter of Lions caps and not too many Ireland caps. is it him?
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Hellraiser »

Banana Man wrote:
Hellraiser wrote:
Lenny wrote:
shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
I think it might be the late Colm Tucker.

It's not. See above.
Tony O'Reilly has a clatter of Lions caps and not too many Ireland caps. is it him?

No, I checked. I have a feeling I'm going to kick myself when someone comes up with the answer.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by soyhmf »

Adetroy wrote:Wonders will never cease. A half decent Article by Huge Farrelly
"HALLO, what are you boyos still doing here? Thought you would have gone home by now."

It was the day after the end of Ireland's World Cup dream and a group of Irish journalists were back in Wellington's 'Cake Tin' to take in the quarter-final clash between Australia and South Africa.

When one of their Welsh colleagues, still buzzing from the previous day's (and night's) events greeted them with that lilting, sing-song accent, so perfectly suited to gentle mockery, it brought the reality of the situation crashing home.

Wales had another two weeks of World Cup involvement to go with a young, confident, expressive team who had a genuine shot at making it to their first final. Ireland? Slan abhaile.

It was not supposed to be like this. Dan Lydiate? Luke Charteris? Toby Faletau? These were Dragons for God's sake, players regularly at the end of whippings from the provinces in club competition, while Scarlets out-half Rhys Priestland, mesmeric the previous afternoon, had hardly rocked Thomond, the RDS or Ravenhill to its foundations over the previous few years.

And yet, this experimental side, drawn from Welsh clubs who had never provided a Heineken Cup winner had comprehensively outplayed a team packed with European champions.

CURSE

For all the promise of the pool stages, Ireland's World Cup curse had struck again leaving them as the only member of the big eight, plus Argentina, never to have made it to the last four on rugby's biggest stage.

Wales saw us coming. They had slipped into the last eight largely under the radar and though Warren Gatland was credited with putting together a credible campaign, they were widely expected to put in a brave performance and depart with heads held high.

If they had managed to beat South Africa rather than lose narrowly in their pool game, there would have been greater hype, but all the focus was on an Irish side who had turned the tournament upside down with that win over the Tri Nations champions -- New Zealand's greatest threat.

The week before the quarter-final, in these pages under the headline 'Wales will be waiting in the long grass,' reasons for fearing the Welsh were outlined but the doom-mongering was based on a hunch rather than logic and for the match preview, it was impossible to look beyond the Irish.

Looking back, you search for differences in the build-up to the Australia, Italy and Wales games and they come screaming back at you.

Ireland were based in Auckland before facing the Wallabies and were stationed in a lakeside hotel on the industrial outskirts of New Zealand's biggest city.

While this had worked against them in Bordeaux in 2007, the difference this time around was that they were there for days rather than weeks and being cut-off worked in the squad's favour as they steeled themselves for a defining challenge.

Ireland's form in the warm-up matches and opening pool encounter against the USA had been largely wretched, while further motivation undoubtedly stemmed from palpable Wallaby arrogance, whose players struggled to name any of their opponents beyond Brian O'Driscoll.

It was the perfect psychological preparation, expertly tapped by Declan Kidney, and the stand-out moments from that wonderful night in Auckland -- Sean O'Brien's tears for the anthems, Stephen Ferris' shopping bag manoeuvre on Will Genia, Cian Healy's monstrous tackling -- told as much.

Then, before the Italy game, Nick Mallett made the fatal error of calling out the Irish front-row which gave Ireland an extra layer of determination to put the Azzurri back in their box on a night when they were superior in every department.

For the quarter-finals, Ireland had become the story. New Zealand were never going to lose to a gutsy but outmatched Argentina, England and France were playing dour muck and South Africa-Australia contests were two-a-penny through the Tri Nations.

Ireland were fresh, vibrant and seen as the greatest threat to southern hemisphere supremacy.

The squad was billeted in the heart of Wellington, readily accessible to the thousands of extra supporters who descended to witness the historical achievement of a first semi-final.

It meant the dynamic had changed completely from the pool stages. As well as the swelling support-base, hordes of extra media joined the expedition and what had once been three or four travelling hacks and a couple of bored local journos in Queenstown, became a battery of cameras and dictaphones to the point where the hotel room assigned for press conferences could barely accommodate them.

The players were engaging and entertaining, becoming the darlings of the nightly TV bulletins as they joked good-humouredly with reporters and happily posed with the many fans hovering around the hotel lobby.

Ever frank and to the point, Ronan O'Gara has since expressed his belief that the squad "fell in love with ourselves a little bit" and, while that would never have been the intention, it is easy to see how all this fawning attention could have had that subliminal effect.

Hindsight decrees that isolation would have been preferable, but, as Kidney explained this week, there was not much he could do about the situation.

"You get very little say with hotels as you go on in the tournament, there are logistical issues that come into play. You don't just replicate it and say let's go out of town," said Kidney.

VIEWS

"I wouldn't have any doubts about the preparation, but I think it's good that players have given their individual views on how they felt coming into it. It is something that you can't quantify."

The upshot was that when the game kicked off, Wales, with a team that the Irish players beat for kicks on a regular basis at club level, had the mental advantage. They played above themselves, their best performance of the tournament, while Ireland could not hit earlier heights.

Even when the Irish brought the score back to 10-10 just after half-time, there was never any sure sense that they would kick on and their insecurities manifested themselves in uncharacteristically poor defending for the Mike Phillips and Jon Davies tries. Four months on, the pain of that experience, a massive opportunity squandered, has not diminished.

One nagging question that will not go away, and one that was painted as a likely scenario in pre-tournament predictions, is whether Ireland would have been better served by losing to Australia and going into a quarter-final against the Springboks as complete underdogs -- the ideal scenario for Kidney to work his magic.

We will never know and that Wellington disappointment can't be completely erased until that elusive first semi-final is achieved.

Beating Wales on Sunday would help to chip away at it, but the lessons must be learned and, if Ireland's Wellington Waterloo has taught us one thing, it is that the battle starts in the mind.
that is pretty decent
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by ZappaMan »

Did the question reference an Irish player or simply an Irishman? Hence, could it be someone like Kyran Bracken (it's not him, though).
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by He Man Rugger Pints »

Adetroy wrote:Wonders will never cease. A half decent Article by Huge Farrelly
Image
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by onesolidunit »

danthefan wrote:Not sure if it's been mentioned but it's been in the media today that Keet became a father recently. Congrats to him. Hope his head is in the right place for the game.

I reckon he'll have a good game, the media have been putting the pressure on and I think he's the type of player to react well to that. Regarding his child, where I come from, adding the suffix 'Maye' to a girls name is seen as a commitment to remaining part of the working class for at least another generation. Don't know how a new child will affect his on-field performance. Hopefully well :)
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by DOB »

Buck wrote:
Mentioned a few pages back. Might have been why Buck said there was doubt over the centres for the game on Sunday
No - that wasnt the reason. I am still hearing talk over his fitness however. You might still see McFadden playing and Kearney moving up to the bench.
Said in the paper yesterday or the day before that Keet had missed most of the week's training to be with the baby and mammy, and if he rejoined the squad on Friday he'd start, but if he wasn't back by then, McF and Kearney would each bump up one.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Banana Man »

Got a mail off one of the lads down home, big Shannon head.

Reckons Bowe is not coming to Munster and it was never even really an option for him anyway
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Armchair_Superstar »

DOB wrote:
Buck wrote:
Mentioned a few pages back. Might have been why Buck said there was doubt over the centres for the game on Sunday
No - that wasnt the reason. I am still hearing talk over his fitness however. You might still see McFadden playing and Kearney moving up to the bench.
Said in the paper yesterday or the day before that Keet had missed most of the week's training to be with the baby and mammy, and if he rejoined the squad on Friday he'd start, but if he wasn't back by then, McF and Kearney would each bump up one.
Seriously? He isn't exactly the ideal man to allow to take this week off training and still start on Sunday.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by DOB »

Armchair_Superstar wrote: Seriously? He isn't exactly the ideal man to allow to take this week off training and still start on Sunday.
Seriously.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/spo ... 11099.html

It also doesn't really dovetail with Deccie saying that Keet has trained really well in the camp, though that could have been referring to last week. But you'd especially think he'd need as much training time as possible at 13, to learn the defensive roles in particular.

On the plus side, it'll mean McFadden's had plenty of training time there this week, so might have ironed out a couple of his own problems in that dept.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Armchair_Superstar »

DOB wrote:
Armchair_Superstar wrote: Seriously? He isn't exactly the ideal man to allow to take this week off training and still start on Sunday.
Seriously.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/spo ... 11099.html

It also doesn't really dovetail with Deccie saying that Keet has trained really well in the camp, though that could have been referring to last week. But you'd especially think he'd need as much training time as possible at 13, to learn the defensive roles in particular.

On the plus side, it'll mean McFadden's had plenty of training time there this week, so might have ironed out a couple of his own problems in that dept.
I hate to say it but I think this could have car-crash written all over it. First kid less than a week old, one good game at centre and a media obsession with him playing in O'Driscoll's shirt. There is a massive amount of pressure on him.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Munster-fogs »

The more I read, particularly on MF's, the more likely its looking that Bowe will be off to Ulster. It makes sense too with Downey and Laulala joining. Oh well!
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by MunsterMan!!!!! »

Congrats to young Keet, fair play
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by anonymous_joe »

Armchair_Superstar wrote:
DOB wrote:
Armchair_Superstar wrote: Seriously? He isn't exactly the ideal man to allow to take this week off training and still start on Sunday.
Seriously.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/spo ... 11099.html

It also doesn't really dovetail with Deccie saying that Keet has trained really well in the camp, though that could have been referring to last week. But you'd especially think he'd need as much training time as possible at 13, to learn the defensive roles in particular.

On the plus side, it'll mean McFadden's had plenty of training time there this week, so might have ironed out a couple of his own problems in that dept.
I hate to say it but I think this could have car-crash written all over it. First kid less than a week old, one good game at centre and a media obsession with him playing in O'Driscoll's shirt. There is a massive amount of pressure on him.
Sure fudge all that shit, as you yourself pointed out, he's about to start in our most important game of the season in a new position with no f**king training. It's f**king disgraceful.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by DOB »

fogerty wrote:The more I read, particularly on MF's, the more likely its looking that Bowe will be off to Ulster. It makes sense too with Downey and Laulala joining. Oh well!
Odd that he would join Ulster with the head coach for next season still up in the air. I'm sure Humph has told him Mallett/White/Rassie Erasmus is in the bag or whoever, but a player would usually like to know for certain who's going to be running the show before changing teams.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by anonymous_joe »

DOB wrote:
fogerty wrote:The more I read, particularly on MF's, the more likely its looking that Bowe will be off to Ulster. It makes sense too with Downey and Laulala joining. Oh well!
Odd that he would join Ulster with the head coach for next season still up in the air. I'm sure Humph has told him Mallett/White/Rassie Erasmus is in the bag or whoever, but a player would usually like to know for certain who's going to be running the show before changing teams.
Is it odd? He may just want to go back to his team?
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by SASP »

anonymous_joe wrote:
DOB wrote:
fogerty wrote:The more I read, particularly on MF's, the more likely its looking that Bowe will be off to Ulster. It makes sense too with Downey and Laulala joining. Oh well!
Odd that he would join Ulster with the head coach for next season still up in the air. I'm sure Humph has told him Mallett/White/Rassie Erasmus is in the bag or whoever, but a player would usually like to know for certain who's going to be running the show before changing teams.
Is it odd? He may just want to go back to his team?
Is Bowe still seeing that hot welsh chick?
Lucy Whitehouse I think is her name.
Last edited by SASP on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by lorcanoworms »

Hellraiser wrote:
Banana Man wrote:
Hellraiser wrote:
Lenny wrote:
shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
I think it might be the late Colm Tucker.

It's not. See above.
Tony O'Reilly has a clatter of Lions caps and not too many Ireland caps. is it him?

No, I checked. I have a feeling I'm going to kick myself when someone comes up with the answer.
Is it roddennay O'Donnel.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by DOB »

anonymous_joe wrote:
DOB wrote:
fogerty wrote:The more I read, particularly on MF's, the more likely its looking that Bowe will be off to Ulster. It makes sense too with Downey and Laulala joining. Oh well!
Odd that he would join Ulster with the head coach for next season still up in the air. I'm sure Humph has told him Mallett/White/Rassie Erasmus is in the bag or whoever, but a player would usually like to know for certain who's going to be running the show before changing teams.
Is it odd? He may just want to go back to his team?
Just that I'm sure he'd be less keen if he found out the new backline player/coach is going to be iHumph.
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by Uncle Fester »

Hellraiser wrote:
Banana Man wrote:
Hellraiser wrote:
Lenny wrote:
shabadoo wrote:Anyone know what irish player has more caps for the Lions than Ireland? Work quiz thing...wrecking my head...
I think it might be the late Colm Tucker.

It's not. See above.
Tony O'Reilly has a clatter of Lions caps and not too many Ireland caps. is it him?

No, I checked. I have a feeling I'm going to kick myself when someone comes up with the answer.
I doubt it. Very few people would know of him.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Johnston_%28VC%29
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Re: The Official Irish Rugby Thread

Post by themaddog »

anonymous_joe wrote:
DOB wrote:
fogerty wrote:The more I read, particularly on MF's, the more likely its looking that Bowe will be off to Ulster. It makes sense too with Downey and Laulala joining. Oh well!
Odd that he would join Ulster with the head coach for next season still up in the air. I'm sure Humph has told him Mallett/White/Rassie Erasmus is in the bag or whoever, but a player would usually like to know for certain who's going to be running the show before changing teams.
Is it odd? He may just want to go back to his team?
The whole issue with McLaughlin's contract is baffling. They finally get a coach who has them consistently qualifying for the HEC play offs and have a decent chance of getting to the final. The dressing room appeared to be a happy place ( although he hardly got a ringing endorsement from Trimble this week ). The team are playing well and have become difficult to beat. McLaughlin has blooded young players and they haven't looked out of place. He has managed his squad well and now look like they can qualify for the CL playoffs also. Having resigned from his teaching job he must be wondering what has happened.
Has his relationship with Humphreys totally collapsed?
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