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Twelve Feet Tall - Wardy's new autobiography

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    Twelve Feet Tall - Wardy's new autobiography

    I don't read a lot of sports books - one or two a year is enough for me. But I'll be asking for this one at Christmas.

    Ward was on OTB tonight discussing the book. A lot of the discussion was about being dropped for Campbell on the Australia tour in 1979. Joe Molloy asked a lot of leading questions I felt and Ward is clearly sore about the event back then. It seems that it wasn't so much being dropped, it was that nobody ever explained to him then or since why he was dropped. He even said he was never quite the same player again after that tour. He also is bitter about the IRFU generally and he clearly feels that he could have been a better player if developed the way professional players are today. Molloy even asked him if was a class thing against him, but Ward, in fairness, didn't seem to see it that way.

    Ward spoke warmly of his love of soccer and of playing club rugby in Munster. He had the feeling that he was appreciated as a player in Munster, but not as much when he moved to Dublin.

    The interview was pretty uneven (but worth a listen imo) and was a bit too much on the "why did they pick on you?" theme. That's why I want to read the entire book. Looking forward to it.
    "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
    Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015

    #2
    Yeah interesting interview, wasn't aware that he was named the inaugural European Player of the Year in 79. The IRFU of the day doesn't come out in a great light either!
    "Newmarket hit Clonlara hard in the first ten minutes but doing so to a team like Clonlara is like hitting a bear. Better off to play away and not to antagonise the beast."

    Comment


      #3
      Not sure of the fine detail of the selection process but it was something along the lines of a selector from each province and 2 from Leinster......not sure if Connacht had one or not. There were also sub selectors who could shove their oar in. A lot of the selections were trade offs between the selectors from the various provinces and there would be lots of lobbying. Knew a man who spent some time as the Munster selector back in the day.
      Anybody who sees a psychiatrist would want their head examined.*&nb sp;Henry Ford

      Comment


        #4
        I well remember the Ward / Campbell saga. Ward was the incumbent OH and European a Player of the Year heading out to Australia in '79. Player of the year with no votes from Ireland due to a postal strike, remember them? Ward had previously, and very unwisely, appeared in an English tabloid in a pair of swimming togs. Not endearing himself to IRFU committee members.
        His dropping was hugely controversial and divisive. Ward / Campbell camps were established and oft heated debate ensued. Campbell's selection was justified with a test series win. Pat Whelan was Irish hooker and was also dropped on the tour for Ciaran Fitzgerald. Halcyon days.
        A lion online, a lamb at home.

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          #5
          Tony Ward is very bitter about being dropped for a better player. We were blessed back then to have one of our best international 10s ever in Ollie Campbell.
          Only fools and drunks argue over everything. If you don’t have a hangover the next day you’re not the drunk...

          Comment


            #6
            In a previous biography Wardie ( or his Ghost) described at length the abuse he got from the IRFU over a Radio ad for CIE excursions to Dublin for Internationals.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Oldschoolsocks View Post
              Tony Ward is very bitter about being dropped for a better player. We were blessed back then to have one of our best international 10s ever in Ollie Campbell.
              No, OSS, as stated above, Wardie's problem was that he was never told what he was doing wrong or what he was not doing by any of the IRFU Coaches. That was always his main issue.

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                #8
                That's what he says, but deep down I think he knows. It's there in plain sight, Ollie Campbell was a superior player, a better running out half, better passing out half and a better kicking out half.

                And for someone who works in match commentary and writes about rugby in his column, and seems to want to pride himself on his honesty, I find it surprising that he has not admitted this fact to himself yet.
                Only fools and drunks argue over everything. If you don’t have a hangover the next day you’re not the drunk...

                Comment


                  #9
                  OSS. You are missing the point completely. His gripe is that he found out that he had been dropped in a phone call to his mother. No selector on the tour spoke to him at any stage. Nobody disputes that Ollie fully justified his selection. It's the way that the Blazers in the IRFU treated him that he is sore about.
                  Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. -T.S. Eliot

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Oh right, the IRFU Blazers being insensitive Aholes is the issue, apologies so.

                    Though, in fairness it was over 30 years ago, about time to get over it no? Perhaps writing and talking about this will be cathartic for him, let's hope so.
                    Only fools and drunks argue over everything. If you don’t have a hangover the next day you’re not the drunk...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wasn't there some issue with him posing for a pic. on tour on Oz. in his budgie smugglers?
                      Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue,
                      Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Oldschoolsocks View Post
                        That's what he says, but deep down I think he knows. It's there in plain sight, Ollie Campbell was a superior player, a better running out half, better passing out half and a better kicking out half.

                        And for someone who works in match commentary and writes about rugby in his column, and seems to want to pride himself on his honesty, I find it surprising that he has not admitted this fact to himself yet.
                        Ward was unpredictable, a maverick, hardly likely to win over coaches. Campbell was more orthodox, steadier, both had their strengths & weaknesses. Wards so called glamerous image would have grated in '79, Campbell did not have such problems.
                        As for being bitter, Ward and Campbell sat beside each other on the flight home from Oz. I met both after a club game in late '79 early '80, and whilst admittedly much younger and on the periphery of their company, they mixed freely with no sign of animosity.

                        Ward was one charged for half a haircut after staying in the Shelbourne with Ireland. His room mate charged a haircut. That was the IRFU then.
                        A lion online, a lamb at home.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Oldschoolsocks View Post
                          Oh right, the IRFU Blazers being insensitive Aholes is the issue, apologies so.

                          Though, in fairness it was over 30 years ago, about time to get over it no? Perhaps writing and talking about this will be cathartic for him, let's hope so.
                          Your reaction seems to be very strong in relation to this incident from way back!! Lie down there and tell us all about it.

                          In an interview on RTE recently, he freely admitted that Ollie was a better OH more suited to that Ireland team. His gripe was that nobody from the team management or IRFU spoke to him about why he was dropped or outlined what he should work on to fight for his place back. He contrasted it with how it would be handled in todays professional game......that's all I took from it. Don't forget it's a lot about selling a book. Ward will have some support here being a member of the only Irish team etc etc.
                          Anybody who sees a psychiatrist would want their head examined.*&nb sp;Henry Ford

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by cornerboy View Post
                            Your reaction seems to be very strong in relation to this incident from way back!! Lie down there and tell us all about it.

                            In an interview on RTE recently, he freely admitted that Ollie was a better OH more suited to that Ireland team. His gripe was that nobody from the team management or IRFU spoke to him about why he was dropped or outlined what he should work on to fight for his place back. He contrasted it with how it would be handled in todays professional game......that's all I took from it. Don't forget it's a lot about selling a book. Ward will have some support here being a member of the only Irish team etc etc.
                            Fair enough, I didn't hear that interview. But I honestly do think nobody can be surprised that the Blazers in the IRFU were lacking in "soft skills" though. 30 odd years is a long time ago, but if that's his sales hook, I'd leave him to it.

                            I often have this debate with my dad, he's firmly in the "Ward was a superstar camp", while I'm in the "he was OK, Ollie Campbell was the better player, just not as flash" camp. We have a carbon copy debate about Liam Brady and Roy Keane, and I'm just waiting for him to start on " but Noel Reid is such an exciting prospect", forcing me to retort with "he'll be fine once he starts to fuvkin tackle" meme.
                            Only fools and drunks argue over everything. If you don’t have a hangover the next day you’re not the drunk...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by kermit
                              OSS is a WUM, stop feeding him.
                              Bit harsh Kermit.
                              Only fools and drunks argue over everything. If you don’t have a hangover the next day you’re not the drunk...

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