Gordon D’Arcy on Ireland’s lack of evolution; Peyper’s blunder leaves World Rugby with a conundrum
The Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the Rugby World Cup with The Irish Times sports team
Ireland’s Sean Cronin is welcomed back into Dublin airport by his twin boys Cillian and Finn after their Rugby World Cup exit. Photo: Morgan Treacy/In[ho
The post-mortem continues. Every inch of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup failure must have been examined and re-examined at this stage but there are still a few angles to look at, a few dark corners to peer into and a few new ideas to be explored. In his column this morning Gordon D’Arcy looks at whether Ireland failed to evolve over the last few years and, in the end, were outdone by an All Blacks side which had done exactly that, particularly since their defeat in Dublin last year. “I wish Ireland had adopted a constant evolution. It would have been so much fun to have seen Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery on the pitch together,” he writes. Ireland en masse suffered a huge downturn in form since last November’s victory in Dublin and, as D’Arcy writes, the rigid sticking to the same principles made that form dip harder to arrest. The Ireland squad landed back in Dublin yesterday as Joe Schmidt said his farewells after six years in charge. “It has been seven days a week and I think I can honestly say, in six and a half years I’ve not taken one, full day off. There’s not one day where I don’t think I’ve either been scribbling notes or watching footage, or getting to a game or doing some coaching: going into a club and doing something. I’ve loved it,” the New Zealander said.
As it is the All Blacks now look towards conquering another Six Nations team, this time in England, to pave the way to their third successive Rugby World Cup crown. The hype has been building up around that one since the weekend with England head coach Eddie Jones typically ramping it up on Tuesday when he claimed that their training sessions had been spied on. Speaking yesterday, defence coach John Mitchell – a Kiwi himself – elaborated further and wondered what the point in rugby espionage these days when the game is so structured. And speaking of controversy, there hasn’t been much greater in the last few days than the photograph of Jaco Peyper with a group of Welsh fans, seemingly mocking Sebastian Vahaamahina’s elbow to the face of Aaron Wainwright. This morning our columnist and former referee Owen Doyle looks at the incident and writes that this could cause a serious issue for World Rugby given the limited options in Japan. “A certain set of semi-final results, and one poor performance, would leave them in a huge bind. And it is very hard to see Peyper reappearing: that photo isn’t going anywhere. I can imagine it caused a lot more annoyance within World Rugby than is evident. They have done well to “low-key” this incident,” he writes.