The dominoes are starting to fall. After England’s governing body, the RFU, caused consternation by announcing measures to lower the tackle height across the community game to below waist level, World Rugby are set to follow suit in the professional game. The global administrator of the sport, through their CEO, has come out and said they too will lower the tackle height to roughly the sternum. The new laws don’t require one to go as low, and the changes likely won’t come in until after the 2027 World Cup, but brace yourself for another fierce debate on the future of the game. That will no doubt lead to some sort of culture shock for players, but was moving from Leinster to Munster equally so for Roman Salanoa? Perhaps not as much as initially moving from Hawaii to Dublin, even if the Limerick slang did confuse him. Munster’s tighthead has been speaking about his journey from the American island to Thomond Park and what has been a breakout campaign.
When will we finally get a resolution to 16-man gate? Croke Park’s Central Competitions Control Committee is still awaiting a response from Kilmacud Crokes to Glen’s objection following the All-Ireland final after the Stillorgan club finished the match with 16 players on the pitch. Seán Moran reports that “there have been plenty of rumours and informed speculation that within the club there is a hard-line view that no replay should be entertained”, but we nevertheless must still wait. In intercounty news, many Kerry fans wondered if Paul Geaney, who made his championship debut in 2013, might also see last year’s All-Ireland triumph as a decent last chapter to his intercounty career. Not so, and the Kerry stalwart has been speaking about why he is not done yet despite picking up a second medal last year.
Trickle down economics is not working for the majority in racing, according to Brian O’Connor. In his Friday column, our racing correspondent looks at how rich owners are getting richer by a prize money system that is topped up by public funds. This is not a good look when those below the likes of Mullins, Elliott and De Bromhead are left picking up the scraps, even if such names have built a dominant era of Irish racing at high profile meets such as Cheltenham. Most of these owners are rich enough to not be in the sport for the prize money. Add in the struggles of everyone else, and the system clearly is not working.
After years of waiting, riding for others, being passed up for grand tours, Eddie Dunbar has accepted a contract offer from the top Australian team Jayco AlUla and will be one of its designated leaders for the next three seasons. In an interview with Shane Stokes the Corkman explains: “It gets to a point where you have to make a decision. You either want to do everything you can to get to a higher level or just be comfortable with the situation you’re in. But I’ve never been a rider to get into that comfortable stage. I like to challenge myself. I like to see what I can do.”