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[00:00:00]

Right, you tell it off and up to bat. No, I never go back to 30 now. I'm not even tired, I promise. Make it easy on yourself, John, and just let her stay up. No, we said we're getting back to the usual routine. Looks like I have to be the bad guy again.

[00:00:17]

Five more minutes, please.

[00:00:20]

Remember what we agreed about a routine. You can finish watching that tomorrow.

[00:00:24]

It takes a hero to be the bad guy. Healthy routines start with sleep to get bedtime back on track and start your kids on the way to a healthier life for more ways to start. Does it make a start that I brought to you if I say for the HSC and Healthy Ireland? The OTB podcast network OTB. And this is OTB Sports Radio, Alan Quinlan, good morning to you.

[00:00:50]

Come on in. Morning, Terry. How are you? Not good, thanks. Underwater, John, Joe on the way.

[00:00:59]

But it was before the confirmation of the R.G. Snowman. Everybody suspected as much about the severity of the injury, honestly, in relation to the AC.

[00:01:06]

And we're looking at whatever it might be, six to 12 months layoff there. And the reaction to it has been the same for me from all, including within the club, maybe slightly at odds with the usual reaction that you got. You know, those sort of cliches about, listen, we've got a great replacement and one man's injury is another man's opportunity sort of thing. Like it's been pretty honest about the impact of his loss and how much damage it's going to do to this team in a normal season to try and put some to try and quantify what that loss is.

[00:01:36]

Does it his removal move them from possible contenders to not. Ah, how would you view his his loss?

[00:01:46]

I think the level of player he is doing does probably take away that bit of excitement that was there. And it's gone from excitement to devastation really is a massive loss. I think you could, you can build a you can build the game plan around someone that's impactful and that big and strong and athletic. And I know a lot of monsters play play they would have wanted to do. And things they wanted to do were revolved around revolving around RG snowmen and some of these cases.

[00:02:22]

But is you know, I have been watching pretty closely the last couple of years and I've done a good few after 10 games and always come off the bench. But it's a bit was probably just acting like in another freak freak freakish athlete. So I just think that someone like him gets over to get in line, gets his hands true, makes lots of lane breaks himself. So the level of his loss is just is just phenomenal for a monster.

[00:02:50]

But, you know, I suppose after a challenging week of dealing with that and the disappointment that I just think you could even though there was no crowd at the game, you could probably feel the vast majority of people at home, maybe the rivals, particularly monster people, anyway, just going to cause a struck again. And it was a tough week for him because Joey Carbone's is as big a loss for for a period of time. So it's been a you think give Taiwan our name and Joy Carbury Goller, these guys were in the mix for Monster and that little bit of depth that that possibly they need to take that next step to maybe be in a Champions Cup final as it's a big blow from.

[00:03:37]

But it is an opportunity for for ThomasA Finnin, which some of these guys that's this. But it's the depth chart. You know, I did the racing game and round six, their last was around five when they went to Europe this year. And the impact of the bench for racing was very, very telling. And it was the same type of impact, didn't didn't come from Monster, even though they've put in a heroic performance and we see a successful Leinster being in the last number of years.

[00:04:11]

It's it's just that that depth in the squad and that level of player to have right to the squad. And that's what has to happen if you want to win European Cups. And but look, it's a mess. It's a massive blow, but they have no choice but to dust themselves down and say, well, look, we're we're one player, one of World Cup win are better than we were last year with with Delenda, who I was very impressed with.

[00:04:36]

And but there's no doubt about it. Simon will be such a massive loss.

[00:04:41]

He'll be a loss to any team and obviously part of pro sports. And as you say, the only option they have is to just get the head down and carry on, but have been human instinct is difficult to estimate.

[00:04:52]

Sometimes you're from your experience when you get a couple of heavy blows to a squad's morale like this, how long can it take for our can it be a situation where it's very difficult to get out of the funk? Because I'm sure there was a around the the the monster set up when the news came through that the guy that we've spent so much time talking about, having learned about the deal so long ago, that he's gone essentially for the entire season.

[00:05:16]

Yeah, well, I think, like I said, there was lots of he trained unbelievably well in the last few weeks. He's he's he's had a real impact and inspired people around him to to and excited people around him to play with him. He's six foot ten. He runs like a winger. When he makes line breaks, he's absolutely devastating. And breaking up the opposition mauls. He's a line winner, and so I think they probably knew Saturday night, I think after the game when when the physio checked him on the field and they would have had a good check in on his knee inside the dressing room.

[00:05:52]

It's fairly obvious sometimes when you check the stability of the knee, how much movement is in it. That's because there's a major problem. So I think I feel sorry for you on background because I know he's been under pressure and this was a chance to, you know, really work with a top quality squad and wear more depth than ever. And there was a lot of excitement about some of the young players that have come true. Jack O'Sullivan, Gavin Coombs, John Heartiness, Craig Casey, Ben Healy, Jake Flannery, Jack Crowley, these guys, Thomas Ahern, you know, it's probably a while since once we're able the name six, seven, eight young players that people are excited about with the new signings he was now getting aside and Stephen Larkham, who only came in last September, didn't get to work with a lot of his players when they were away at the World Cup.

[00:06:45]

Think it could pre-season with him, Graham Roundtree, that things were looking really up for him? And, you know, then the discovery news and the snowman knows it's a setback.

[00:06:55]

And I think with teams I've been in over the years, probably, and it's easy to say this day, but if you dwell too much on the fact that it's such a big player is gone, you're saying, well, if only if only if only we had sname and we would have won that game against Leinster, if only we had sname and we would have won that game, you know, against Rossing in Europe. And they just got to put it to the back of their minds now.

[00:07:22]

And hopefully that hopefully, you know, it's it's the end of August. If he gets his operation pretty quickly, it could be back within five and a half, six months. I know that from personal experience, I think the medics and the general public are talking seven, eight, nine, 10, 12 months. What there's there is a possibility he could be back after five and a half, six months. So what they're going to try and do now is make sure this side of Christmas that, you know, when the new campaign for Europe starts off, that, you know, come the end of January, they're they're in contention to try and make the knockout stages.

[00:08:00]

And thus, you know, it'd be incredible boost to have him coming back for knockout stages next April if that was the case. So it is an opportunity for the younger players, but it's going to be hard for them to process it. And it's been a bit of a distraction because you can feel sorry for yourself and and use it as an excuse. As I said, they were very, very dangerous proposition. Connacht on Sunday, a game they have to win.

[00:08:25]

No, Scarlet's are playing dragons away. They get a bonus. Fine. When I know monsters, monsters points difference is good. But if Scarlet's get a bonus point win and monster to lose the game and not get there, not in the semifinals. So you can get easily distracted. They've got to win against the Canucks side, who we saw last Sunday were fantastic and they'll certainly throw the ball around again on Sunday. And so they've got to get to focus really quickly again and put this behind them.

[00:08:52]

Yeah, I don't even I mean, he'd be focused on his recovery, I'm sure, in the short term. But having a guy like that around some of the names that you mentioned that are coming through, I'm sure it won't do them any harm as well over the intervening period. Does not look as if he's entirely lost to the World Cup winner from from a learning point of view as well. Will you just talk to us a bit? We were supposed to see a couple of times last week and our four teams also going to a roster.

[00:09:12]

We haven't been off for such a force. Lundström once again, particularly like that tone or style at the end was a ludicrously dextrous play for someone who hadn't played in that long. We'll know more about Leinster, obviously post the All-Star Game this weekend, which it looks now. Looks like it goes ahead. The Sarrazin game looms quite a bit of themselves. Had some good results after a bit of a sticky return to begin with. How impressed you by Leinster last weekend?

[00:09:40]

Well, I think they'll be disappointed with Will, probably with the outlaws. The game was at the end. I think Leo Collin conveyed that after the match. I think they probably would have sat in the dressing room thinking it was too close for comfort. It just didn't have that feeling of of of a big derby win because they were in a position of of I think there were eleven points put on 60 Minutes and they'll get better. Leinster will get better.

[00:10:10]

They still have that. I think they just have a standard of of performance and intensity and energy about whoever takes the field from. I think they've that's what happens when you're a championship winning side and they'll get better. What they've they've got to be very, very mindful. I know it's a couple of weeks where they're play monster, most probably in a semi-final and then a pro fourteen final. They'll want to try and wrap up the pro fourteen and win that before.

[00:10:39]

They really take their focus, put their focus on that Saracen's game, but Saracen's are a bit like Carnot at the moment, which, you know, when you have a there, it's a quarterfinal of Europe for sure. But probably Saracen's have some changes. They've lost some players and the expectation will be that they come to Dublin and Lenzer when it makes them a very dangerous proposition to have some world class players in their side and some real winners and went on fire as of the main man there.

[00:11:10]

I think, you know, their drive and desire to try and win would beat Leinster, will be will be a man. So it it is a very dangerous proposition. So they can take their eye off the ball, but it's something they can look too far ahead either. I think the coaches will be more so focused on keeping an eye on Saracen's watching their games, trying to put together a team that they'll start against Leinster in a couple of weeks.

[00:11:36]

But it is a dangerous proposition from and will be coming to Dublin thinking we give this an almighty crack. And most of those players have one in Dublin before, whether it be with England and they have that experience. So it's it's something that looms. It's a very, very busy period for Leinster in the next couple of weeks. And that's why, obviously, I think they'll make a lot of changes for the Ulster game tomorrow night. They'll be looking at a semi-final next week.

[00:12:01]

And then from their point of view, hopefully a final and then it's a run of of two weeks in Europe as well. So it's it's a it's a really intense period for them.

[00:12:12]

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[00:12:26]

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[00:12:42]

So you're not looking at that Instagram as a thing that's going to be a key, like if they are going to make. What changes do you think is probably a fair enough point? Like where are we going to get the 14 try again? That we have is a lot like in December, the 12 point win for Leinster.

[00:12:56]

Are is there almost an element of equity that is keeping some of the powder dry with what's to come now?

[00:13:03]

I think if I think both sides would make a number of changes and could be a completely new new team for both sides. So you will see an old end game. You will see guys trying to impress, throw the ball around, but will not be, you know, putting out the playbook this early in the season, I think, and showing everyone their hands. I think it will be players having to reveal themselves and you probably will see a high scoring game.

[00:13:28]

I think there's more of my focus looking back on Ulster last Sunday against against, against Konate. I think Leinster, the team that everybody looks at, particularly in Ireland anywhere to the level of that in their squad and the kind of standard that they have even when they're second perceived second string goes out and plays. And I think Ulster last week were very, very disappointing against Collins and they openly said they lacked a spark. There was a lack of energy about their performance.

[00:14:01]

And Billy Barnes was quoted as saying, well, we're a team. That's when we when we get confidence. And I think relying on winning matches to build confidence, it does bring confidence. But I think being robust and resilient can make you confident, creating opportunities in games, not being soft and porous and defence that takes away your confidence. And and for Dan Macfarlane said last week, even though they were qualified, they were in the semi-final, they knew they were going to be playing.

[00:14:30]

It was a very, very worrying performance for me because they go to Edinburgh next week to play a semi-final and you can't just switch it on. And like I said, when you look at Leinster, they just seem to have a standard that other teams want to aspire and get.

[00:14:46]

And, you know, the players just know their role in all the level of of of intensity they've got to bring to the performance. And and that's something that also didn't do last week. So there's a real emphasis on even though he'll make a lot of changes down by violence, that Ulster gets some little bit of momentum out of this game. It's a game that probably won't win, but they need to get some level of fight or both in their performance before they got to Edinburgh next week, because if there's any more to say, I don't think they can just go and turn it on in Edinburgh next week.

[00:15:20]

Now, there have been hampered by some injuries and Addison and Henderson and Dan Macfarlane took off a couple of them for frontline players at halftime. But I thought that was a mistake. He should have played them right through try to win that game, made the changes for this week and then be be ready. Set to go full metal jacket against Edinburgh. So that is a concern for me and it's a bit of a it's a no win situation here.

[00:15:48]

But I think there's there's a lot at stake for Ulster, I think, in their performance tomorrow night.

[00:15:54]

Do you think if he and Maddigan is in the starting 15 when the teams come out later today and that in it's one of the few possessions that Macfarlane will be watching really closely, like they did pick for the most part? Well, it would be considered to be their best 15 for that game against Carlton and they were beaten in it that at 10. And obviously that dictate an awful lot in terms of how that team is going to play against Edinburgh in that huge game that if Maddigan has a big weekend and if he can be maybe one of the standout performers in a game that perhaps kick starts that momentum.

[00:16:25]

You're talking about that Billy Burns might be under a little bit of pressure. And this is Mitigants Chance this weekend to show that he is still a real option when it comes to 10 for Ulster and then in months to come, maybe beyond.

[00:16:38]

Yeah, I'm sure there's no there's there's no way he might have been saying for all thinking he's going to sit on the bench, she sees an opportunity, sees a chance to take on Billy Barnes for number ten. Slot Burns has been very, very good for Ulster. We've covered some of the games and I think he's been superb. He's improved immeasurably in the last season. They've had some big wins in Europe. They've got into the market there in the knockout stages, two and five games out of six.

[00:17:06]

There'll be Claremont's in Belfast. There are a lot of good wins and the momentum gained under Dan Macfarlane. So I think Maddigan would have seen a little bit of growth there. They still need to be far more ruthless and he needs a performance. I think the Bondevik try last week is I would respect everyone. You don't you just don't see that at that level at a twelve runs from fifteen, twenty yards out and runs over your flyhalf and scores, scores, scores under the course and all these 100 kilos.

[00:17:39]

He's very, very powerful. But aside from the fact that it's, it's mostly halves would struggling to stop on diarchy one on one like that. He needs more help and support from, from his flanker from from the, the centre. And it was that lack of spark and intent from Ulster that just summed up the whole performance. So you're not going to protect your old half like this. It kind of sums up what the day has been and what it's been like.

[00:18:08]

The only issue for me was kind of hold it hold was that close. In the end, there was only six points. So there's a lot at stake for him. But again, he's a superb footballer. He's got to get a platform from the the Ulster forwards and try and play a little bit. But it's not easy. You know, you're playing against the Leinster side, even though there'll be lots of changes. There are still a lot of quality there.

[00:18:28]

And if you can put in a performance, he might force his way into contention. But I don't think Boardman's has done anything wrong then. I think he's been pivotal to to to make a little bit of progress and getting some big wins in the last year.

[00:18:43]

I don't think it's a surprise, though. Is it, in a game where they have nothing to play for and they don't have anything like the competition for places that Leinster have? I mean, apart Lenzer almost like in the same category as Dublin, the senior football team, and that, yeah, it may be a small enough game and it doesn't really matter whether you win or lose, but if you play badly, there's a good chance you got to lose your place.

[00:19:01]

That isn't the case of an Ulster. It's very hard for them to get themselves out of this funk until they get to a game where everything's on the line like next week. The question is when you can just flip the switch, then it's a very difficult thing to do. Yeah, that's the danger. And that's why I thought, you know, in the in when you were a professional player in any of these clubs, I think you've got to look at the rugby season and blocks of four or five weeks.

[00:19:23]

That's all you can do, particularly with the planning and how the squad and a bit of rotation that's going to happen. And you can't play the same team five weeks in a trot. So I think that's where I think Dan Macfarlane maybe should have kept all these players on last week, gone for that when aggressively with his best players. I know he's five, six, seven players out injured, and that's in his defence. Some of them are top starters from the international players.

[00:19:54]

Henderson is a massive loss. Will Addisons the last? Martiens the last. There's a lot of quality missing there and experience. But you know, the potential of going in against Edinburgh and having no win in the first two games is not a great position for them to be in. And like you said, getting that little bit of momentum. So there's still a huge opportunity here. Even if those who don't win this game, they can take a lot out of it by creating chances, by being really strong defensively, by standing up to Leinster physically, you're going to see a Leinster side with a number of changes, but you're going to see guys playing who there's a real hunger for them to try and push and put pressure on the the top side and Leinster.

[00:20:37]

You know, and guys paying for contracts and their futures and all that kind of stuff, so it doesn't make it any easier, I think, for Oldster, but they've got to show Hungar with their younger players and the guys are going to come in. They have a future and they have an ability to step up to the plate when needed and try and get something out of the game. Hopefully it is a good game. I think you will see very few scores.

[00:21:00]

But also, you know, they've got to walk off the field with a bit of a feel good factor that they did a few punches, their true non last week.

[00:21:10]

Kournikova just asking for update some of the stories. We were chatting in the newspapers earlier on about the Absol ad from that Harry Maguire situation where he was away. And Toledoans obviously is going into a bit of bother. But Richard told the Herald this morning that as a player, holidays, summer holidays can be an absolute nightmare because you have been dogged for photographs and autographs and hassled and hurried all over the place. And things may have quieted down for you coming over the last couple of years since you retired.

[00:21:37]

But as a player, when you're away.

[00:21:39]

And I said maybe that's that's leaving the possibility that it hasn't. But, you know, when you're away, whether it's like a group of players are like a private personal holiday, is it in your own experience? I'm not asking about high regard or any of that stuff, but in your experience, is it is it a hassle? It's a tough to, like, get away for 10 days or two weeks and enjoy yourself without having all the hassle of hangers on and whatever else.

[00:22:05]

It's different for different players.

[00:22:06]

I think in rugby, it's by and large, people would wouldn't wouldn't you know, I've been away and on foreign holidays with with a number of players on different occasions and and 99 percent of the time, it's just goodwill from Irish people who recognize the group of rugby players. And they want a few photos and they want to chat for a few minutes. And we've never had any hassle. I think particularly I think I don't I don't think if know was five or six rugby players in a group, that would be a number of locals coming.

[00:22:41]

All we're trying to cause hassle. That's never been the situation. So there's always a chance that something I do feel sorry for Harry Maguire and I feel that the whole process was rushed through way too quickly, didn't have a chance to defend himself. And these are the issues that are potentially can arise. And, you know, the way the world has changed with social media and camera phones and people video and you, it's much, much different now than when I went away.

[00:23:10]

I've been away with some of the big names, if you like, Paul Rodge, people who, you know, they're players that everybody wants to follow, whatever he wants to chat to them. Everyone wants to stop them on the street and stuff like that. And they can be it can be different for them.

[00:23:28]

But I think you've got to just be very, very careful and mindful of that fact, particularly soccer players. So we've never really had an issue. The only issue with someone hanging on too long when they've asked reporters and just hanging around with a little bit and but by and large, it's never been been an issue for the groups I've been in.

[00:23:46]

But times have changed.

[00:23:47]

That's probably would would you like would you would you go out of your way to go somewhere? Would you be deliberately picking somewhere that was a bit out of the way or would you be in the middle of it?

[00:23:57]

No, I've been and I've been in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, which would rugby players and my old mates and some of their mates and big groups.

[00:24:05]

And, you know, the only the only situations that ever happens is Irish people want to get photos if they're passing by, and that's it. And I've never encountered any sort of house. But I say it's different when you're standing around with John Hayes with no top on or Paul O'Connell and they're you know, they're not going to get hassled as regards an aggressive approach from anybody. It's usually only people looking for folders and stuff like that. It's totally different work for the for the soccer players.

[00:24:33]

But thankfully, we've never had any issues with you know, they ask you Irish and and they welcome me in. And that's this. You have we were in Turkey in 1998. It's a long time ago. It was 12 of us there, seven rugby players and five guys who didn't play rugby. And we were welcome everywhere we went. And we didn't have any hassles with anybody, which is always great. But there is a danger. The world has changed now, as I say, with social media and people are a little bit more obtrusive.

[00:25:05]

Harry Maguire situation is different. He he had an issue with people approaching his sister and stuff like that. I do feel sorry for him. But what are you aware of? How are not you know, even if you're here in Ireland? I think it's it's changing. And the professional rugby players have to be mindful of that. And here in Ireland, that's, you know, as people sometimes out there who want a bit of hassle or Moncrieffe and you can no, it doesn't matter whether you're right at the end of that day when your name is kind of drug.

[00:25:37]

Until it looks bad and it tarnishes, so it's it's it's it's a crazy situation at times for people. Yeah. All right, Kelly, thanks. Cheers, OTB. And this is OTB Sports Radio. That was an OTB podcast, network presentations.

[00:25:58]

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[00:26:24]

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