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    Ashton & Irish Rugby Central Contracting

    <H1 =ing>My knowledge of this wouldn't be up to scratch. I remember Ashton all right, remember the team being s**te (whether his fault or not). I have no knowledge on his effect on the central contracts issue, is this English journo bluff or was his input that important - Anyone know?</H1>
    <H1 =ing>Ten years on, Ireland acknowledges rich legacy bequeathed by Ashton</H1>
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    When Brian Ashton’s year-long tenure as Ireland coach a decade ago came to an ill-starred end, it seemed few shed a tear at his departure. The relationship had clearly not worked and a quick divorce was to the benefit of both parties. However, with hindsight, it is clear that the country now ranked in the world’s top three has much for which to thank the man charged with plotting the downfall of Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday.


    It was Ashton who was mainly responsible for drawing up the blueprint for the structure that has served the country so well since the Millennium. Indeed, it is being described in some quarters as his legacy.


    When he signed his unprecedented six-year contract in January 1997, Ashton advocated a system and structure based on the existing four provinces each with a full-time coach and a squad of 25 professionals. In fact, it was a condition of his appointment and when the IRFU failed to deliver, it was one of the main reasons for his exit. Although he was not around to see its eventual implementation, Ashton is now recognised as the driving force who hastened the process for a country that had farther to come than most in terms of embracing professionalism.


    Certainly, Eddie O’Sullivan, who had just moved to the United States when Ashton arrived in Ireland, agrees that a debt is owed to the Englishman. “He had a big input in suggesting the union pool their resources into the four provinces with four professional sides and build the national squad around that,” the Ireland coach said. “Had he not been a catalyst at that point in dealing with the union, they may not have taken those strides so quickly. He has to take credit for that, for the strength of our structure in the last number of years.” <!-#include ="m63-article-related-attachements."->


    Denis Hickie, the only playing survivor from 1997, and who was first capped under Ashton, remembers the impact made by the now England head coach. “It was fantastic for me because I was not just going to be on the wing chasing kicks all day,” he said. “He had a real vision. The reality, though, was that we were not the team to deliver it at that time.”


    The story of Ashton’s time with Ireland is told in a fascinating account of the often rocky journey to professionalism trodden by the country. In the book From There to Here, Brendan Fanning, rugby correspondent of the Sunday Independent, chronicles the events that led to Ashton being appointed and all too rapidly leaving, after he refused to move to Dublin full time because he felt the IRFU was not delivering on what he felt had been promis

    #2
    Losing 57-25 to Western Samoa must have been a dark moment for us, i have to admit i don't actually remember that game but i do remember getting tanked by Italy in Rome and thinking that Irish rugby was dying a slow lingering and very painful death. Thankfully i was wrong.

    Comment


      #3

      Originally posted by blackadder
      Losing 57-25 to Western Samoa must have been a dark moment for us, i have to admit i don't actually remember that game but i do remember getting tanked by Italy in Rome and thinking that Irish rugby was dying a slow lingering and very painful death. Thankfully i was wrong.
      actually remember the Western Samoa game, qoute afterwards was "thank god it wasn't all of Samoa.."

      Remember Samoa just throwing the ball wide and running around, through and over us.. was men against boys and the realisation that we (Irl) were way behind everyone in terms of physical conditioning &amp; fitness.

      Comment


        #4


        Originally posted by RobbieG
        Originally posted by blackadder
        Losing 57-25 to Western Samoa must have been a dark moment for us, i have to admit i don't actually remember that game but i do remember getting tanked by Italy in Rome and thinking that Irish rugby was dying a slow lingering and very painful death. Thankfully i was wrong.
        actually remember the Western Samoa game, qoute afterwards was "thank god it wasn't all of Samoa.."

        Remember Samoa just throwing the ball wide and running around, through and over us.. was men against boys and the realisation that we (Irl) were way behind everyone in terms of physical conditioning &amp; fitness.
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        I think that was the home match we lost to Samoa. When we lost to Italy &amp; Samoa in successive matches under Muray Kidd. Another very dark time.

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