Irish rugby and hubris

Sir, – The failure of our rugby team to make it past the quarter-finals for the ninth time in a row in what is essentially an eight- or nine-team tournament represents a level of underachievement that is almost unprecedented in an Irish sporting context. We keep being told that Irish rugby is somehow exceptional. Irish rugby is exceptional but not in the way its supporters think, and this has been proven every four years for the past 32 years. We have now heard all the excuses, from lack of conditioning in the amateur era, through to bad luck with injuries and lack of squad depth in recent years, and this time we apparently “got the cycle wrong”. There must be overarching reasons for these repeated washouts – be that hubris or something else – in the rugby culture, and it must surely be time for these causes to be identified. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.


Sir, – Ten scorelines from the pool stages in Japan: 35-0, 61-0, 49-3, 71-9, 66-7, 63-0 57-3, 48-7, 45-7 and 45-10. Time for World Rugby to consult the GAA on setting up a tier-two competition? – Yours, etc,


Clarinbridge, Co Galway.

Sir, – The turning point was the England game in Twickenham. A woefully “not up for it” performance was the wrong game at the wrong time for the team. Warm-ups are all about confidence building, not walking into ambushes. – Yours, etc,



Co Cavan.