The Offload: Parsons and Wall can lead Ireland to 2022 World Cup win
Duo were scintillating against a poor Wales side; another head injury for Johnny Sexton
Beibhinn Parsons impressed as Ireland thrashed Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/Inpho
ParsonsWall clothing line
Psst, Adidas, we come bearing gifts. Guaranteed earner: Brand the next women’s rugby clothing line before Nike beats you to the punch.
ParsonsWall is our working title for new apparel. The Welsh were atrocious at the Arms Park on Saturday so we should probably not get overly excited about how devastatingly effective Dorothy Wall and Béibhinn Parsons looked out there. Still, Wall made 24 carries and Parsons first try was beyond sensational.
Let’s get a little carried away with ourselves as we witness the greatest one two punch since Bod and Paulie or at least since Coghlan and Cantwell. Can Ireland’s version of Shaq and Kobe be enough to find a way around France, never mind Emily Scarratt’s all-conquering English professionals?
Probably not but, in any woman’s language, progress is seven tries and keeping your opponent scoreless.
It helps that Parsons and Wall hail from serious sporting pedigrees. Mayo footballer Tom Parsons is Béibhinn’s cousin and to understand what prompted Wall to wreak havoc on every rugby field she invades, tune into the latest Irish rugby podcast to hear tales of her super granny Betsy O’Connor, a New Yorker from somewhere between Fifth and Madison avenue.
Did somebody say Saks?
When the clothing line takes off, which it definitely will, concerns about funding the female game on this island will disappear. Not a nickel is going to the mad men. They have their full stadiums - cough, splutter - and sugar daddies to keep them in six figure salaries. Let them throw good money after big South Africans.
Bring Lynne Cantwell back from Cape Town like the Springboks stole Rassie Erasmus off Munster and, while we are at it, save Sophie Spence from coaching that Welsh rabble. It is easy to get carried away with oneself after 45-0 result but we may as well back Ireland to win the World Cup in 2022. Qualification is a mere formality. Here we go.
Sexton HIA part III in 2021
Johnny Sexton’s latest failure of the Head Injury Assessment will not be accompanied by a neurologist seeking attention on French radio. But it cannot go unmentioned that Sexton - who has a history of concussion dating back to 2014 - has entered the graduated return to play protocols, following blows to the brain, on three occasions in 2021.
“The biggest thing is we’re trying to take care of all the guys,” said Leo Cullen. “Caelan [DORIS]and James [RYAN]are pretty close to a return now so Johnny, again, is similar to all the guys. We just have to make sure we look after them in the right manner.”
Cullen, the Leinster head coach, never veers off the straight and narrow on this issue. When it comes to brain injuries they implicitly trust the medical advice. Doris has suffered at least two head knocks of late and missed the entire Six Nations as a result. Ryan appeared to suffer two bangs during the championship.
The high profile nature of these players suffering traumatic brain injury shines a greater light on rugby’s battle with concussion - a war the sport knows it can never win - but it also makes Leinster’s achievement in dethroning the European champions on their own patch even more admirable.
Perhaps the HIA is doing its job or maybe we are living through an endemic in elite sport. What is certain is the players now know the harrowing health risks by now.
By The Numbers
24 - carries by Ireland flanker Dorothy Wall in the 45-0 defeat of Wales.
Lions management meltdown
Speaking of brands, the UK and west Brits’ favourite rugby garb is bracing itself for a massive financial hit this summer. The best laid schemes of Gatty and Faz are out the window, it seems, with The Times are reporting that Ireland head coach Andy Farrell will not join Warren Gatland’s coaching ticket for the Lions tour of South Africa.
The hits just keep on coming with Munster scrum doctor Graham Rowntree and Leicester’s Steve Borthwick also turning down the chance to shape a pack to cope with Eben Etzebeth and RG Snyman.
Gregor Townsend will run the attack, returning the scene of his greatest triumph as the outhalf, when winning the 1997 series.
Hope is to hand if Eddie Jones’ English backroom are permitted to tour. Considering Matt Proudfoot primed the Bok forwards to victory over England in the 2019 world cup final, before he was head hunted by Jones, makes him the ideal candidate to fill Borthwick’s shoes.
Also, England defence coach and former All Blacks supremo John Mitchell has some history with the Lions having played alongside Gatland in the Waikato pack that trashed them 38-10 in 1993.
Get Mitchell and Proudfoot on board and Tuesday’s expected announcement of the Lions coaches will swiftly move onto the next Covid created crisis: Looks like the inaugural Rainbow Cup has as much chance of happening as we have of finding a pot of gold.
Word of mouth
“What a day! What a message to send young girls in Ireland today.” Catherine Martin - Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media - pays tribute to Ireland beating Wales, Rachael Blackmore winning the Grand National and Linda Doyle becoming Trinity’s first female Provost.
“I actually said ‘They are not like Ireland,’ meaning they are this structured team that builds phases and phases. And then I said ‘They are not softies’ and I was actually talking about another team.” Springboks chieftain Rassie Erasmus addresses “SoftGate” scandal on Off the Ball.
“I don’t think it’s great for national competition. Out of one of your best provinces three of the lock positions are taken up already [by South Africans]. That will reduce your pool but definitely strength your club.” Erasmus on Munster signing Jason Jenkins.