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Ireland at the RWC 2015 Thread.

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    Ireland at the RWC 2015 Thread.

    We dont have a specific thread for the team and the competition. I read this article on the times page a moment ago, is it me or is the language in it difficult to read?:



    A legal practice and the Irish rugby team may have a lot in common but they probably don’t call him Shaggy in the London offices of Lee and Thompson LLP. These days Shane Horgan’s career sound track plays out where the law meets the entertainment/sport industry and along the corridors of Sky and RTÉ.
    Who knows where it will all lead but from his early foray into television analysis, life on the bench in front of camera seems to be working out just fine. Naturally articulate, Horgan’s fresh perceptions and willingness to participate cuts deeply into explaining what rugby teams are trying to do.
    The authenticity and projection to viewers that he has read Joe Schmidt’s playbook and also run the lines has been convincingly peddled and the former winger is comfortable doing it. He’s jumped the fence from player to pundit and the authority holds. That’s harder than it seems.
    Horgan remains part of rugby but not in rugby like today where he is part of a World Cup Trophy tour hosted by DHL.
    What used to be his life is now a companion to something bigger. Suit, tie and sharp shoes, he’s a London city boy. And one who is not forlornly peering over his shoulder for a glorious lost past.
    “No, my whole career I was aware rugby was finite,” he says. “I was aware it was for a limited amount of time and not for your entire life. I was prepared for that and didn’t have an issue doing something else.
    “The fact I still have my toe in the water and I’m still exposed to rugby and derive enjoyment from the game...it’s not my primary job anymore so playing rugby isn’t an issue at all to be honest with you. I don’t miss getting beaten up!”
    These days people want him to crystal ball gaze, tell them how Ireland will do in the World Cup, whether they will blow up as they did in 2007 after an encouraging Six Nations. Horgan was at the epicentre of the Bordeaux experience.
    But simple comparisons, he believes are invalid. Joe Schmidt, the players and the Scotland match on that last epic day of this year’s championship successfully join the dots to make a bigger whole than the team of Eddie O’Sullivan could. He has reason to be hopeful.
    Turning point
    “It’s hard to look at it any other way,” he says. “I think the game against Scotland was a huge turning point for Ireland. They could have won that Six Nations without having to play the way they played against Scotland. Maybe they would have even won a Grand Slam but I don’t think they would be in as good a position as they are now.
    “They learned some fundamental truths about themselves in the game; the capacity to play at a high level and the reward for playing that way. They will recognise that. It’s with that sort of bravery and level of testing themselves at the margin of things not going well... that’s now an option.
    “They could have gone through the Six Nations and won a Grand Slam and never really found out how good they can be. After Scotland it’s clearer. Ireland are a successful group of rugby players that can play to a really high level.”
    Schmidt’s strength, Horgan believes is that he has grabbed player’s attention and hasn’t let go. His intensity is to be followed or lost. He did it with Leinster and it has seamlessly transferred it to Ireland. He inculcates the team collectively and the players individually that if they do what he tells them they will win.
    But like all apparently simple equations, when they are broken down there a massive construct in the foundation.
    “What Joe has and all the best coaches have this is the trust of their players,” says Horgan. “If the coach says before a game if you do x, y, and z and do it correctly then a, b and c will happen and it actually happens, it builds trust very quickly.
    “That’s what the players have recognised. In Leinster we used to see it. That happens over and over and over with Joe. Once it has happened a couple of times it becomes symbiotic. Coaches and players start thinking together.
    “That manifests itself in the Joe and Johnny Sexton relationship. I think you can see Johnny directing a game, managing a game, playing a game...it is the same way that Joe would play it if he was in that position.”
    If Ireland don’t beat themselves, it begs the question of who in their World Cup pool will. Canada? Romania? On strike Italy? A French team flapping in the wind as only the French can?
    It’s difficult not to bask in the light of Ireland’s good fortune there. With that rubbing of the hands and smug satisfaction comes heightened expectation and if 2007 can be remembered people were high-fiving in Bordeaux and diving onto the Irish glory bandwagon and Medoc in equal measure.
    Overcooked? Undercooked? Mad expectations that laid low an Irish team unused to such burden and now Schmidt maybe lining up for a similar fall. Yes? Well, actually no.
    “There is a clear path to the semi-final where you are going to have one huge group game,” says Horgan. “Italy realistically are not going to beat Ireland.
    “You’ve a game there against France. France have consistently beaten Ireland over the years. But there’s less fear now than any other time in the history of Irish rugby. If they win that game you couldn’t bet against them getting to a World Cup semi-final. But you can’t reverse what has gone on in the last 10-15 years in Irish rugby and can’t reverse what’s gone on in the last two years. And we shouldn’t try to. And we shouldn’t worry about it.
    Having expectations
    “That idea of not having expectations or pressure is just not going to happen. In 2007 in France there was huge expectation and huge disappointment. As a result it was kind of kid gloves, everyone saying that team was doing well, they came in and it all blew up and it could happen again so we can’t have expectation.
    “But we can’t not have expectation. This team is different. It has won stuff. It’s won back-to-back Six Nations. A lot of players have won in Europe, won PRO12. That team I played in hadn’t won as much.”
    There are fine players who will be left behind, he says. He points to the quality in the back three. He rips out names Bowe, McFadden, Kearney, Kearney, Zebo, Trimble. And there are others. Gilroy, Earls, Fitzgerald. There will be two or three injured players before the flight to London, he says. Factor it in.
    The probability of Paul O’Connell playing against France, where he will take up employment after the tournament, will be spun to death . But that, says Horgan, is meaningless for the player.
    “Look at the motivations for Paul O’Connell and his team -mates at a World Cup. Look at what’s going on. There is so much. But is it a motivating factor for him? I don’t think it will cross his mind.”
    “Once you take your eye off the ball and start thinking about giving someone a big performance because of who they are or what they’ve done, I think it’s a risky business.”
    A straight-talking lawyer then. The thing is that the jury are usually listening.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugb...land-1.2257704
    I am the million man.

    #2
    Basic article , but Horgan is sure that there will not be a repeat of 2007 . A coach who concentrates on the details while the players are clear on their roles , winning mentality and trophy success . To those he sees the Scotland match as having kick started another string to Ireland's attacking options . The 2007 and 2011 warm up matches were very poor from Ireland and this inability to be able to deliver a good standard of performance every time the team takes to the field has always been Ireland's greatest weakness. These warm up matches will show if Ireland has truelly moved on and developed .

    Comment


      #3
      Tis a fairly badly written piece alright, very clunky. Reads like the effort of a post-Leaving Cert kid on work experience who hasn't quite grasped how certain terms and phrases are supposed to work, rather than that of an experienced scribe.

      Anyway - have to admit I'm still not really thinking about the RWC, and it probably won't be uppermost in my mind until a week or two before it starts. Tbh, over the last season I've been more interested in the Pro12 than even European rugby (probably a few reasons for that but I'll not divert the thread with it). In terms of the RWC, I guess I've been somewhat peeved by the fact that the ticket prices are so prohibitively high for any of the games to which I might have gone. Anyone actually feeling the buzz at this stage?
      Tis but a scratch.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by mr chips View Post
        Tis a fairly badly written piece alright, very clunky. Reads like the effort of a post-Leaving Cert kid on work experience who hasn't quite grasped how certain terms and phrases are supposed to work, rather than that of an experienced scribe.

        Anyway - have to admit I'm still not really thinking about the RWC, and it probably won't be uppermost in my mind until a week or two before it starts. Tbh, over the last season I've been more interested in the Pro12 than even European rugby (probably a few reasons for that but I'll not divert the thread with it). In terms of the RWC, I guess I've been somewhat peeved by the fact that the ticket prices are so prohibitively high for any of the games to which I might have gone. Anyone actually feeling the buzz at this stage?
        Yep, ever since the day we left them kiwis off the hook in the Averva.
        Gwan Joe!!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by mr chips View Post
          Tis a fairly badly written piece alright, very clunky. Reads like the effort of a post-Leaving Cert kid on work experience who hasn't quite grasped how certain terms and phrases are supposed to work, rather than that of an experienced scribe.

          Anyway - have to admit I'm still not really thinking about the RWC, and it probably won't be uppermost in my mind until a week or two before it starts. Tbh, over the last season I've been more interested in the Pro12 than even European rugby (probably a few reasons for that but I'll not divert the thread with it). In terms of the RWC, I guess I've been somewhat peeved by the fact that the ticket prices are so prohibitively high for any of the games to which I might have gone. Anyone actually feeling the buzz at this stage?
          . Prices are an absolute joke.
          I always knew Madigan was a closet Scrum Half. Ignore All things that suggest Continuity.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ustix View Post
            Yep, ever since the day we left them kiwis off the hook in the Averva.
            I was almost tempted to write "apart from ustix" when asking the question!!
            Tis but a scratch.

            Comment


              #7
              Bit of a nothing article to be honest. Harking back to 2007 is a bit redundant at this stage. We're well beyond that.

              Our situation going into 2015 is much more similar to 2011 imho - winning team, winning coach, strong squad, one big pool game to secure a winnable quarter final.

              The real question I have is: if we win our group, can we avoid a repeat of our quarter final flop? We'll have a huge game against France at the end of the pool stage. Win that and we'll have to get up for another huge game a week later with a first ever semi-final on the line. We'll have avoided NZ but it still won't be an easy game.

              We'll need a lot of luck with injuries but we'll also see if Joe can manage the team's state of mind through the competition. From Italy onwards we'll have to beat 5 tier one nations in a row to secure the cup. We've flopped once in each of the last two 6Ns. No room for that here.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Munsterboy View Post

                The real question I have is: if we win our group, can we avoid a repeat of our quarter final flop?
                Have we actually flopped under Joe's tutelage? I know we've lost games but apart from the very first game against Australia, I can't recall a game where we just didn't show up, like that Wales RWC QF.

                Maybe I'm wrong, Remind me. But even when we've lost we've been at the races.
                Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2019.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by rathbaner View Post
                  Have we actually flopped under Joe's tutelage? I know we've lost games but apart from the very first game against Australia, I can't recall a game where we just didn't show up, like that Wales RWC QF.

                  Maybe I'm wrong, Remind me. But even when we've lost we've been at the races.
                  I'd say you're right. I think Joe has removed the emotion or to a certain extent, the pressure from individual players.

                  Whereas in years gone by, in the build up to a game players have been thinking about "what it will mean beat these" or "I need to give 150% on Saturday" etc., under Joe the focus is entirely on "these are the individual tasks I have to execute in this game. These are my responsibilities".

                  It means there is less room for choking, complacency or inconsistency. Every player is drilled with his duties and knows that his place in the team depends on him fulfilling them, no matter whether we're playing Italy or New Zealand. He's not thinking about the big picture because he's totally focused on his instructions.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by diarm View Post
                    I'd say you're right. I think Joe has removed the emotion or to a certain extent, the pressure from individual players.

                    Whereas in years gone by, in the build up to a game players have been thinking about "what it will mean beat these" or "I need to give 150% on Saturday" etc., under Joe the focus is entirely on "these are the individual tasks I have to execute in this game. These are my responsibilities".

                    It means there is less room for choking, complacency or inconsistency. Every player is drilled with his duties and knows that his place in the team depends on him fulfilling them, no matter whether we're playing Italy or New Zealand. He's not thinking about the big picture because he's totally focused on his instructions.

                    Sounds dangerously close to what Woodward was doing 12 years ago. Agree completely that the process has now overtaken the occasion for the players. If they complete their required tasks they will win.
                    I am the million man.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Cowboy View Post
                      Sounds dangerously close to what Woodward was doing 12 years ago. Agree completely that the process has now overtaken the occasion for the players. If they complete their required tasks they will win.
                      Was that how Woodward coached? I was living in the middle east from 2000-2004 and I don't remember too much about the build up to that world cup. I always thought Woodwards tactics boiled down to being super fit, being super big and being super drop goaly?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by diarm View Post
                        Was that how Woodward coached? I was living in the middle east from 2000-2004 and I don't remember too much about the build up to that world cup. I always thought Woodwards tactics boiled down to being super fit, being super big and being super drop goaly?
                        He was mad into the little 1%'ers, still is.

                        He mentioned on BBC lately that the back three should wear only white boots (to make the touch line harder to determine when running up against it, benefit of the doubt etc) and everyone else should wear only black boots (to make citing more difficult)
                        I am the million man.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Cowboy View Post
                          He was mad into the little 1%'ers, still is.

                          He mentioned on BBC lately that the back three should wear only white boots (to make the touch line harder to determine when running up against it, benefit of the doubt etc) and everyone else should wear only black boots (to make citing more difficult)
                          Jaysus. That is impressively OCD!

                          Can't argue with the logic though!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Cowboy View Post
                            He was mad into the little 1%'ers, still is.

                            He mentioned on BBC lately that the back three should wear only white boots (to make the touch line harder to determine when running up against it, benefit of the doubt etc) and everyone else should wear only black boots (to make citing more difficult)
                            Is that why Heaslip wears white boots. Out on the wing and nowhere near a ruck to get cited.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by diarm View Post
                              Was that how Woodward coached? I was living in the middle east from 2000-2004 and I don't remember too much about the build up to that world cup. I always thought Woodwards tactics boiled down to being super fit, being super big and being super drop goaly?
                              And in Johnson, Hill, Dayglo, Wilkinson, Greenwood, Robinson etc having a rake of best in the world in their position players. Lord Bald's coaching ability was more clearly demonstrated in NZ in 2005.

                              Comment

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