Latest reports from the Ireland camp in Japan; sport on TV a hefty cost for pubs

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ireland’s Rhys Ruddock attends a gym training session at the Ichihara Suporeka Park ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Charly Triballeau/Getty Images

Ireland’s Rhys Ruddock attends a gym training session at the Ichihara Suporeka Park ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Charly Triballeau/Getty Images

It’s safe to say the news coming out of the Ireland camp in Chiba over the last few days has not been the most encouraging with Robbie Henshaw falling to injury while Keith Earls has also been battling a thigh problem. However, the latest news coming from the camp could spell another problem for Ireland with Rob Kearney now a doubt for the opener against Scotland after picking up a calf injury in training on Monday. Irish management gave an update on the situtation overnight in Chiba and Gerry Thornley was at the press conference to report on the situation. Kearney’s experience at full-back – particularly in what could be terrible conditions in Yokohama on Sunday – would be a major loss to Ireland but there is cover in the form of Jordan Larmour. Meanwhile, much of the talk coming into this tournament has been on Ireland’s heavy reliance on foreign-born players such as Bundee Aki, Jean Kleyn, CJ Stander and others. In his column this morning Gerry Thornley writes that a player’s birthplace should have no bearing on their right to play for Ireland. “For anyone’s nationality or loyalties to be questioned in this day and age on the basis of appearance is absurd and dislikable. In the current climate of rampant nationalism, ironically driven by the descendants of immigrants in America and Britain, it is dangerous territory,” he writes. Moving on and many pubs around Dublin and further afield will be opening early over the next few weeks to show the Rugby World Cup although very few will be allowed to serve alcohol until 10.30am. However, the cost of showing live sport is becoming a huge burden on a lot of pubs, particularly smaller places in quieter areas and some are even deciding to get rid of their TV subscriptions. In our consumer pages this morning, Ruaidhrí Croke looks at those costs which, in some cases, works out at selling about 440 extra pints per month just to cover. Don’t forget you can follow all of the build-up to Japan with columns, analysis, news, interviews, stats, fixtures and much more on our dedicated 2019 Rugby World Cup site.

Moving to GAA and Kevin McStay writes in his column this morning that the great worry for the GAA and every county outside of the capital is that Dublin are unbeatable. “For the rest of the GAA family, the sight of six-in-a-row will be a bridge too far. They will begin to insist on intervention. Nobody within the official GAA has stepped out yet and said: we acknowledge that this is a problem. The tier-two system is just a band-aid to the issue,” he writes. One potential change to make things somewhat more even is to limit Dublin’s Croke Park games to just one in the Super 8s. However, that proposal as well as possible rule changes and a Tier 2 championship will have to wait until next year for when congress takes place in October.

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