A performance to be proud of but our maddening inconsistency continues to baffle
Pathetic. To those involved, hang your heads in shame.
One day I hope the Irish rugby community will be given the opportunity to apologise to Fijian rugby for the insult. The proud Fijian people are worthy of an international cap against Ireland every time we play. We, the Irish, of all peoples, should be aware of valuing and supporting others cultures.
Then we come to the team we like least to play, the Pumas. This Argentinian side were both well prepared and battle-hardened. Yet Ireland dominated from the start. They were energetic, aggressive and creative. Gone was the disorganised Irish performance we viewed against the Boks.
It was great to watch Ireland comprehensibly outplay the Pumas. It was the type of performance we all know this Ireland team is capable of producing on a regular basis.
The team played exceptionally well. Congratulations to all involved. But the question remains. Why has the national team played so poorly on so many occasions, yet once every season they are capable of such excellence?
Since winning the Grand Slam in 2009 I can identify only two other performances that were equivalent in intensity and execution to the Pumas match. Defeating England in the last game of the Six Nations Championship in 2010 and smashing Australia in the pool stages of the World Cup, were top shelf performances.
Why only these three great wins over such a long time period? There are comfort zones across the entire Ireland team set up. We are allowing administrators, coaches and players to perform well below acceptable standards.
Sixth on the IRB rankings is below this team’s capability and drastically under what we, the Irish rugby community, should demand from such talented players and coaches.
The performances of administrators, coaches and players during November are a microcosm of the problems within this national team structure. Good people, under- performing, and getting away with it because they are good people.
There is a need for some ruthless leadership to simply state to all involved: “You are capable of much better performances and I will demand it of you, and hold you accountable for your actions.” Ask the Fijians, and they will say that type of leadership is sadly lacking in Ireland. But then the Fijians don’t count. They are not even worthy of a cap.
Everyone involved with the national team will claim responsibility for the good win against the Pumas. As for the rest of November and being sixth on the IRB rankings, well that will be someone else’s fault.