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    Originally posted by Spiffy View Post

    I would agree with Jackie Brown that central contracts are part of the problem (though not the whole problem.) There will always be pressure on any coach, no matter how overt or subtle, from the IRFU to select those who are on a central contract ahead of players who are not. Otherwise it becomes difficult to explain away the paying of big bucks to players who are not doing the job, compared to their non-contract counterparts. However, central contracts have proved useful in taking care of top players with proper rest periods etc. I don't think there is an easy solution to this issue. The current system does seem to favour retention of players who may be past their use-by date, or are obvioulsy out of form.
    This is where the IRFU and the coach need to work together. If the coach says "hey, this guy isn't putting in top performances anymore, there's a player who is, and I'm gonna pick him" despite the first guy being on a central deal, the IRFU needs to back the coach unless the coach is clearly being unreasonable. Getting dropped a few times lights a fire under these guys, and if it doesn't, then you don't want them on the team anyways. The easy solution is to write opt out clauses into the central deals. If a guy on a central deal wants out b/c he isn't getting picked for the national team, he is free to go abroad to chase big money with the understanding that while he's gone his test career is on hold. A 3-4 year deal with a player option after year 2 isn't that much of a risk if given to the right players. Also, the IRFU needs to consider the age profile and look long and hard to giving a deals to anyone who will be over 31-32 at the end of the deal being proposed.

    Comment


      Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post

      Central contracts aren't the issue; it is the not dropping underperformers which is. The idea of central contracts to keep guys playing in Ireland is a good one, but playing them b/c of the central contract when other players are clearly in better form is an issue. TBH, after the 6N, Schmidt was coaching like a guy afraid of his own shadow. His big moves were dropping Toner, a guy who wouldn't get into any other tier 1 squad, and picking Luke McGrath over Marmion and Cooney for no good reason other than that he plays with Sexton at Leinster. Stockdale has been found out defensively; teams have a go at him on a regular basis and profit from doing so. Bringing Carbery was lunacy given the fact that he required surgery a month before the WC began; Henshaw seems as if he's always coming back from an injury; Kearney has had a fantastic career but he's past it at this point.

      If the IRFU abandon "play in Ireland to play for Ireland", they'll find out fairly quickly what life is like at the SRU where anything above 4th in the 6N is considered a good result.
      The list of players who wouldn’t be considered by another tier 1 squad is a lot longer than just Devin Toner
      Only fools and drunks argue over everything. If you don’t have a hangover the next day you’re not the drunk...

      Comment


        Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post

        Central contracts aren't the issue; it is the not dropping underperformers which is. The idea of central contracts to keep guys playing in Ireland is a good one, but playing them b/c of the central contract when other players are clearly in better form is an issue. TBH, after the 6N, Schmidt was coaching like a guy afraid of his own shadow. His big moves were dropping Toner, a guy who wouldn't get into any other tier 1 squad, and picking Luke McGrath over Marmion and Cooney for no good reason other than that he plays with Sexton at Leinster. Stockdale has been found out defensively; teams have a go at him on a regular basis and profit from doing so. Bringing Carbery was lunacy given the fact that he required surgery a month before the WC began; Henshaw seems as if he's always coming back from an injury; Kearney has had a fantastic career but he's past it at this point.

        If the IRFU abandon "play in Ireland to play for Ireland", they'll find out fairly quickly what life is like at the SRU where anything above 4th in the 6N is considered a good result.
        So you would take Adam Beard, Cory Hill, or all the Scottish 2nd rows apart from Johnny Gray ahead of Toner??

        Comment


          Originally posted by In Joe we trust View Post

          So you would take Adam Beard, Cory Hill, or all the Scottish 2nd rows apart from Johnny Gray ahead of Toner??
          In all honestly I wouldn't consider Scotland Tier 1 at the moment. They are a cut below an Ireland team which wasn't in any sort of consistently good form in 2019.

          Comment


            Originally posted by Oldschoolsocks View Post
            The list of players who wouldn’t be considered by another tier 1 squad is a lot longer than just Devin Toner
            That is true, but Toner not being selected was Schmidt's big move to shake things up by dropping an "undroppable" player. It was too little too late b/c there were too many guys in the squad he'd hung onto for too long and relied on when he should have been giving more minutes to younger guys.

            Comment


              Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post

              That is true, but Toner not being selected was Schmidt's big move to shake things up by dropping an "undroppable" player. It was too little too late b/c there were too many guys in the squad he'd hung onto for too long and relied on when he should have been giving more minutes to younger guys.
              They became increasingly undroppable because there weren’t (it seems) reasonable alternatives- but it was crystal clear from the England game onwards we were not going to be competitive with what we had. Sure, if we’d beaten England inDublin there would have been a compelling reason to keep that group tight, send a team with another winning 6N campaign begins them- belief at a high etc etc. But after the complete destruction of that side and style of play- selecting for subsequent games in ways that would left you with no better options was just madness. We had been rumbled, and the response was...?

              Comment


                Originally posted by jagawayagain View Post

                They became increasingly undroppable because there weren’t (it seems) reasonable alternatives- but it was crystal clear from the England game onwards we were not going to be competitive with what we had. Sure, if we’d beaten England inDublin there would have been a compelling reason to keep that group tight, send a team with another winning 6N campaign begins them- belief at a high etc etc. But after the complete destruction of that side and style of play- selecting for subsequent games in ways that would left you with no better options was just madness. We had been rumbled, and the response was...?
                There were no reasonable alternatives b/c Schmidt never gave guys a real chance. Murray basically had to be too injured to limp himself onto the pitch in order to be dropped. Sexton, forget about it. He could be limping around and Schmidt wouldn't take him off. Look at Cronin. One bad game and he is dropped. Best misses a few throws and it is "he's our leader, he is so important to us." Kearney, another one no matter how good other guys were playing or how average Kearney was playing, he was in there. TBH, as good as Sexton was in 2018, the lack of caps against quality opposition for the other starting 3 outhalves in the country is absurd. I know that the Paddy Jackson stuff threw a wrench into the works, but still. George Ford is 26, with over 60 caps. Ross Byrne for the past two or three years has been playing big games for Leinster b/c Sexton is a part time player and has to be nursed from one match to the next. Byrne has what, 3 caps at the age of 24 ? That is insane. He's been playing well in knockout games in the HC and pro14 but Schmidt couldn't give a ****. How many games has Carbery started against tier 1 opponents ? 1 against the Wallabies ? Again, absurd. Schmidt did a lot of good things, but he also was very narrow minded when it came to selection. Stockdale has been poor defensively the entire time he's been with Ireland, it's been the major knock on his game for some time, Conway is in superb form, but Stockdale gets picked b/c he scored a bunch of nice tries when Ireland were in serious form.

                I just hope Farrell starts with a clean slate and tell the IRFU that he's going to play who is in form and who he sees as guys going forward, not guys in their mid 30s whp were given central contracts b/c Schmidt was afraid to move on and told Nucifora he HAD to have these guys.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post

                  There were no reasonable alternatives b/c Schmidt never gave guys a real chance. Murray basically had to be too injured to limp himself onto the pitch in order to be dropped. Sexton, forget about it. He could be limping around and Schmidt wouldn't take him off. Look at Cronin. One bad game and he is dropped. Best misses a few throws and it is "he's our leader, he is so important to us." Kearney, another one no matter how good other guys were playing or how average Kearney was playing, he was in there. TBH, as good as Sexton was in 2018, the lack of caps against quality opposition for the other starting 3 outhalves in the country is absurd. I know that the Paddy Jackson stuff threw a wrench into the works, but still. George Ford is 26, with over 60 caps. Ross Byrne for the past two or three years has been playing big games for Leinster b/c Sexton is a part time player and has to be nursed from one match to the next. Byrne has what, 3 caps at the age of 24 ? That is insane. He's been playing well in knockout games in the HC and pro14 but Schmidt couldn't give a ****. How many games has Carbery started against tier 1 opponents ? 1 against the Wallabies ? Again, absurd. Schmidt did a lot of good things, but he also was very narrow minded when it came to selection. Stockdale has been poor defensively the entire time he's been with Ireland, it's been the major knock on his game for some time, Conway is in superb form, but Stockdale gets picked b/c he scored a bunch of nice tries when Ireland were in serious form.

                  I just hope Farrell starts with a clean slate and tell the IRFU that he's going to play who is in form and who he sees as guys going forward, not guys in their mid 30s whp were given central contracts b/c Schmidt was afraid to move on and told Nucifora he HAD to have these guys.
                  We are very much on the same page with this, the un-droppable became even more un-droppable because he had painted himself into a corner. Tactics come from the coaches and players, the primary responsibility for strategy (ie long term direction and associated plans)- lies with the head coach.
                  Last edited by jagawayagain; 16th-November-2019, 12:01.

                  Comment


                    They should ditch the official central contracts thing. The IRFU can still subsidise the cost of keeping top players (essential to both province and country), but it can be done through the provinces on a case-by-case basis and nobody has to know which player was paid for by the IRFU, or to what extent.

                    It would amount to much the same thing but would help to eliminate the perception of some lads being nailed on “Ireland players”, rather than just Irish players who are competing for the shirt.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by Munsterboy View Post
                      They should ditch the official central contracts thing. The IRFU can still subsidise the cost of keeping top players (essential to both province and country), but it can be done through the provinces on a case-by-case basis and nobody has to know which player was paid for by the IRFU, or to what extent.

                      It would amount to much the same thing but would help to eliminate the perception of some lads being nailed on “Ireland players”, rather than just Irish players who are competing for the shirt.
                      I see what you mean- but I think as soon as player management kicked in it would become clear which piper was calling the tune.

                      It it seems to me the two problems are: (1) players on central contracts may be preferred when it comes to selection, and thus the bar is higher for those not on central contracts, (2) some players seem to have contacts renewed beyond what seems reasonable for their age and recent form/unavailability/restricted playing time through injury. I don’t think it’s beyond the wit of those with the responsibility to retain the idea of central contacts (which I think is enormously beneficial to players, provinces and Ireland), but to address these two key issues. I suspect that our suspicion is that they don’t see these as problems/don’t actually want to address the issue/

                      Comment


                        Agree with others that the central contract system is probably past its sell by date at the moment. It made sense in an era of BOD, POC & ROG where certain players were oceans better than those behind them but that simply isn't the case any more. What we have currently is a situation where competition for places is so fierce and the superior player decision is so marginal and changes season by season that far too many centrally contracted players are falling below their rivals.
                        The reality is there are zero players who could be considered as essential to Irish rugby at present, they're all replaceable. There's no reason to break the bank for anyone when the money can be better spread across the group and it's no harm if a few players want to move abroad and end their international career when we have the depth to replace them.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Dowlinz View Post
                          Agree with others that the central contract system is probably past its sell by date at the moment. It made sense in an era of BOD, POC & ROG where certain players were oceans better than those behind them but that simply isn't the case any more. What we have currently is a situation where competition for places is so fierce and the superior player decision is so marginal and changes season by season that far too many centrally contracted players are falling below their rivals.
                          The reality is there are zero players who could be considered as essential to Irish rugby at present, they're all replaceable. There's no reason to break the bank for anyone when the money can be better spread across the group and it's no harm if a few players want to move abroad and end their international career when we have the depth to replace them.
                          So you'd have no problem with Murray, POM, CJ moving abroad for more money as there are no central contracts?

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Dowlinz View Post
                            Agree with others that the central contract system is probably past its sell by date at the moment. It made sense in an era of BOD, POC & ROG where certain players were oceans better than those behind them but that simply isn't the case any more. What we have currently is a situation where competition for places is so fierce and the superior player decision is so marginal and changes season by season that far too many centrally contracted players are falling below their rivals.
                            The reality is there are zero players who could be considered as essential to Irish rugby at present, they're all replaceable. There's no reason to break the bank for anyone when the money can be better spread across the group and it's no harm if a few players want to move abroad and end their international career when we have the depth to replace them.

                            Murray is a level above any other Scrum Half in Ireland.

                            Leavy is a level above any other open side.

                            CJ is a level above any other 8.

                            POM remains, for me, a level above any other 6.

                            Furlong is a level above any other tight head.

                            Ryan is a level above any other lock.

                            In the back 3, we have Earls, Stockdale, Conway and then a significant drop off, I think.



                            There are no marginal "superior player decisions" in those positions, for my money. Where we are, I think, is at the inevitable end of a cycle in which we built towards the world cup, and arrived there with a range of players on central contracts - Kearney, Toner, Best, Sexton, O'Brien - that for a variety of reasons aren't exactly adverts for the concept.

                            But the idea that we have such a surplus of talent that it's redundant doesn't stand up for me. And where we do have competition it's at the wrong end of the scale. We're yet to see if any of the hookers in the country can step up. Henderson is in strange form, but Dillane, Kleyn, Beirne aren't going to displace him as far as I can see. None of our 10s is ready to replace a visibly fading Sexton, our Centres desperately need a revamp on an individual and unit level.

                            But the only positions that match your description I think are Killer putting the pressure on centrally contracted loose heads ahead of him and the fact that Conway (and Addison) are ahead of Kearney.




                            "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                            "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                            "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Balla Boy View Post


                              Murray is a level above any other Scrum Half in Ireland.

                              Leavy is a level above any other open side.

                              CJ is a level above any other 8.

                              POM remains, for me, a level above any other 6.

                              Furlong is a level above any other tight head.

                              Ryan is a level above any other lock.

                              In the back 3, we have Earls, Stockdale, Conway and then a significant drop off, I think.



                              There are no marginal "superior player decisions" in those positions, for my money. Where we are, I think, is at the inevitable end of a cycle in which we built towards the world cup, and arrived there with a range of players on central contracts - Kearney, Toner, Best, Sexton, O'Brien - that for a variety of reasons aren't exactly adverts for the concept.

                              But the idea that we have such a surplus of talent that it's redundant doesn't stand up for me. And where we do have competition it's at the wrong end of the scale. We're yet to see if any of the hookers in the country can step up. Henderson is in strange form, but Dillane, Kleyn, Beirne aren't going to displace him as far as I can see. None of our 10s is ready to replace a visibly fading Sexton, our Centres desperately need a revamp on an individual and unit level.

                              But the only positions that match your description I think are Killer putting the pressure on centrally contracted loose heads ahead of him and the fact that Conway (and Addison) are ahead of Kearney.



                              Leavy is still in rehab and jury is out as to whether he’ll play to any serious level again. Fingers and toes crossed though.

                              POM is past it, talismanic in his day and capable of the odd performance. But his line out work and the odd vital turnover no longer mitigate his lack of carrying which leaves CJ exposed as the main ball carrier.

                              agree with the rest though
                              Only fools and drunks argue over everything. If you don’t have a hangover the next day you’re not the drunk...

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Oldschoolsocks View Post

                                Leavy is still in rehab and jury is out as to whether he’ll play to any serious level again. Fingers and toes crossed though.

                                POM is past it, talismanic in his day and capable of the odd performance. But his line out work and the odd vital turnover no longer mitigate his lack of carrying which leaves CJ exposed as the main ball carrier.

                                agree with the rest though
                                A bit harsh on POM, it is more than the odd performance,
                                lineout work and odd vital turnover- I suspect you’d fine it’s a line out turnover or more per game, plus one or more turnovers in play, but that said I agree that the lack of carrying is a weakness, and that his best is probably behind him.

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