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And this is OTB Sports Radio Alan Quinlan.
Good morning. Morning on. How are you. Very well, thanks. That news of Gary Keagan coming in to start working with the Ireland squad is something that perhaps might surprise a few people. But you can see why a team like Ireland would bring in somebody like him, because there have been questions asked of that performance anxiety in particular after last year's World Cup. Yeah, look, the were always going to bring someone in after a multi finished up with the team, so it's it's not a major surprise that there's somebody there working on the sports psychology.
That's something every team would have to have available to him and have to have working with.
So, yeah, the one thing I think about what would happen with the Irish rugby team and look, they've they've had a fair few ups and downs in the last 18, 20 months.
I think a lot of pressure and expectation to deal with. So that is something certainly that, you know, they've had to endure, if you like. They're shown a lot of tenacity and resilience and they're saying the right things and they're trying to build their confidence and feel good factor within the group.
But look, the performances haven't been where they probably can get, if you like. And, you know, there has been a transitional phase, withdrawal, even a undefiled coming in and and a different type of game that they're trying to play.
So there's been a lot of stuff going on. So it's not a surprise that they have someone working with them like Gary. And it's but it's a regular thing and it's a common thing. The psychology of the sport is is as important a lot of the time as the physical stuff and the tactical stuff.
It's definitely been interesting listening to someone like Eddie Jones talk over the last few months and listening to some of the different people around sport that he's communicated with and the different ideas that he's taken on board. I guess seeing this news is encouraging on that front. But I guess Andy Farrell is open to broadening his horizons a little bit. And maybe if he does a little bit more of this, of this over the next little while, there could be a little bit of an overachievement from Ireland's part, a sense that actually they can get back to the top table pretty quickly.
You know, look, it comes down to player personnel as well, and that transition that I'm talking about, you know, there's been a lot of players around for a long time, and some of those guys still perform. Of course they can. But I think a problem is we've probably had to rely on some of those senior players to deliver performances. And, you know, I've been involved with teams in my career where. It's just such a breath of fresh air when young players come in and to do brilliant things and they can create so much excitement about a team and we saw a lot of that in 2013 with, you know, Portakabin in Lahmar leave.
James Ryan, these guys bring such a surge of energy. Gary Ringrose in the last previous couple of years to that. So while we haven't seen is is that same level of excitement with the players, that can be far less than the last 12 months. I suppose there was optimism around Gibson Park and James Low coming in UGA. Keenan has done very well, but that really exciting kind of player who, you know, is going to go on and win 78 hiccups.
We could do one or two of them coming in. As you know, Ron and Kallara could be around for a long time, who knows? But there's a number of injuries and there's a number of players out. So the depth chart has been really challenged. And and like I said, the ups and downs. And it's a challenging time for Randy Farrell himself. So, you know, when you're an assistant coach, you can sit behind, if you like, a little bit and you don't get the same flak that the head coach gets.
And he's dealing with a fair bit of bitter criticism around the team in the last while.
Like I said, there's been some good performances, but you have to be a realist as well. You know, we're a level below where they are at the moment, probably New Zealand.
And we're in that tier, even lower tier one side. We're probably in a second tier and a tier two nations. And I think there's a there's people are crying out for a bit of excitement and a bit of energy. It has been difficult. No crowds and it's not going to happen overnight, so. He has to deal with that as well and be fired and his coaching team, so it's kind of a it's a tricky place and you have to be strong within that group and you have to be resilient and tough and stick together.
And that's what they'll try and do. But that's the pressure and expectation that's there nowadays with the Irish rugby team. You've got to deal with it. And lots of people in the last few years and, you know, the Irish rugby team don't get much criticism while they've got their fair share in the last 18 months anyway in the media. And they've got they've got, you know, loads of criticism.
So, you know, it's kind of a it's a tricky players from. But if they finish in The Hague in Scotland, you know, you can say that the question was asked this week about progress and lots of people were talking, where's the progress? It's hard to see where there's consistent progress. We've probably regressed in a number of areas. The setpiece is one that's your foundation, your fundamental part of your game. And that's been very, very creaky and poor in this and this campaign.
So they need to sort out a number of problems. And and, you know, you kind of consistence, consistency and selection if you're looking for change and you're looking to chop and change and see guys. So in many senses, you can take the positives out of it. And, you know, I say this is the next player. You kind of have to believe that the rocky patch, you learn from it and you get better and you keep working harder.
Things turn around a little bit, but you need quality as well. You need young players coming into to really grasp all of the situation. So we're not in a bad place, but I think we can be better, better than where we're at at the moment for sure.
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There's a lot in that we might come back to, like even the strategic side of it. And there's a lot of discussion about the evidence for particularly this week, what you mentioned about the some of the exciting players maybe that we haven't seen coming through over the last year. The one of the names that's been talked about now for various reasons has been Hele.
What are you hearing now? He's progressed very well. Look, it's still early days for him. And I think you could see by his performances and looked at it's a far less pressurised environment playing pro fourteen. When all the internationals are away, monster are dominating when winning with bonus points, you know, so he's building up a bit of mileage on the clock by playing.
Is he staying or is he gone or is he staying?
Oh, sorry, I didn't understand what you meant there. I'd be very surprised if he even entertained the notion of going playing for Scotland, given he's a temporary man as well, you know, and he's he's he's one of our own. But look, I don't know. But obviously the financial stuff would turn your head a little bit if he's on, you know, twenty, fifteen, twenty grand on an academy contract or whatever it is. I don't know the exact figure.
And Glasgow can offer him a hundred grand a year or something. You know, you'd have to go, you know, short term gain for long term gain or what you want to get long term out of it. And I'm sure his ambition is to you know, he's broken into the monster team and stay. I don't know. I'm not I can't speak for the guy, but I'd be very surprised if if that goes anywhere, to be honest.
Does the if you need to step in and sort of ditch out their own short term policy of not engaging in contract talks to lock them down? Are they in that danger, do you think?
Well, they can't. And you know what I mean. There's I've been in this situation a good few times where particularly coming to the end of your career, you are worried about a contract, particularly the older players. You know what's going to happen, younger players than other clubs and other people looking for them. It's been an absolutely crazy time. The RFU have have been bleeding money for the last number of months with the losses and not uncommon in basically I know the government bailout will help steady the ship a little bit, but you can't go.
It's fully understandable. The players have got to understand. They have to wait till after Christmas to try and save contracts out. You can't just start guaranteeing contracts and money until there's some sort of certainty or a little bit more certainty for the RFU. So everybody's got to take that on the chin and deal with that reality. It's up to Monster to try and make their case. And, you know, within their budget, if they want to bring Ben Healy up to a full time contract, then, you know, you've got to there's only so many players and so much budget you have in the squad.
So they've got to make that decision. But you can't just say, well, all these players should be tied down and young players, old players in December, it's just not possible. People are going to have to wait. And that's just the reality of it. What did you make of the conversations about David Azfar then, this week has been he had written about maybe Amajan own yesterday in a bit more detail about it, like he is, as he said, that there's a confusion about what it is that the performance director, what is the remit of his role is and specifically what it is he's doing within that?
What is success for him within that? Where is the Rugby World Cup report? A lot of questions about David as far in his role this week. What do you make of it?
Well, I think that the kind of headline one was his accountability is accountability to the RFU, I think. And there's professional games committee there to say that he has to report into. So I found that strange. You control flippant remarks and comments out there that he's not answerable to anybody, but he's answerable to the CEO. And that committee on Red One as an ex player is the only player on that committee. So I think there is accountability.
Look, two years ago, he was doing an incredible job, were the envy of the world. We had this performance director running our game here at the club game, the professional game, the Sevens, the women's rugby and everything was right. So, you know, I think there is there's there's obviously a fair bit of angst against him because of and particularly coming from Leinster, because, you know, the players that have moved Carbury was it was the high profile one.
Roman Salino was the most recent one. And lots of people slinging mud at David Misophonia from from from Leinster.
And, you know, I can understand he should come out if the questions are there, if the questions are there about his remit and fair enough about the accountability point. But like, if the questions are there and people are unsure about what it is, success is for him, like there doesn't seem to be publicly anyway. Maybe, as you say, they exist within the RFU, but nobody knows about the parameters for his remit. Are clear identifiers around what success looks for and why doesn't he come out and just walk people through that?
Like, I think Gordon Darcy is correct to say that he's flippant in his dealings with the media.
Yeah, look, I do agree with that. It's it's it's kind of behind the scenes, isn't it? I do agree with that. I agree that, you know, he probably should come out and speak more and and and give those plans and structures and what they want. But you can read all that stuff in the reports that the IRA, if you want to achieve regarding Six Nations World Cup qualifications, it's kind of like the gold setting from the union themselves where they want to be in the club game.
All that stuff is on the review. So I can understand or yes, David Nucifora comes out every once in a while and everyone is clambering to try and ask questions and and figure things out, but. That probably should be a more regular thing, and regarding the accountability to the Irish public, that's that's probably an no refuting. It's an Irish decision. And like I say, you know, people people probably want. Given the current circumstances, obviously with Joel involved and Joel Schmidt involved, they were, you know, quite close and and, you know, Joel would have been a spokesman for for any involvement around the team.
And because of that negative run and because of the, you know, probably a period of time now where the team are not going well, you know, people want to hear more from that. Was the RFU report from the World Cup not published, Adrian?
No, it hasn't been. And the details of it haven't been put out there. Yeah, OK.
Well, that's something that's your garden was looking for and make that out into the public, I suppose. Yeah. Yeah.
Look, there's an argument to say that that stuff should be out there, but I think they did release a fair amount of stuff out of it around the conference and.
Yeah, exactly the garbage. So I don't know what I just don't know what people what do they want the evidence supports to come out into the press once a week is at. And I don't think so.
But I think he makes the point, doesn't he, that he was on after Georgia and that was the expectation that it was going to be this great sort of we were going to Georgia and everything was going to look good. And then it came out and he was like, I definitely I watched a lot of that. And I watch a all of his dealings with in that press conference. And he's not I don't take a huge amount of confidence from from what he's saying in terms of the plan, like Gordon D'Arcy himself had said, that, like, are we just over overly reliant on the Leinster school systems to produce players?
And then the performance director is saying, well, look at everything's fine. And actually it's a paper thin explainer of it. Yeah, I understand where you're coming from. I'm just a bit confused by this. That's. It's kind of like as if we have no plan. The RFU system here is and I've always been an advocate of the provincial system and the development of players coming through and that pathway to to get into to get into the professional game.
The club game is something that I came to myself and that needs, you know, more resources. I think the RFU in the middle of a plan with McKenty of giving resources and and finances to the clubs right across the country. My own club and William would benefit from that. Every every club in the country is is getting financial support from from the RFU, the structures around bringing players through. Well, the club game is not as strong. You just look at somewhere like Limerick when when I played with Shannon, the competition, the rivalries, all that stuff has gone bust.
You know, the professional game has has has done that to it. And we probably don't see enough players coming through the club system. The school system is probably, you know, more of a natural progression. And it's hard to to make that progression through the club system. And but it's an area that needs to improve.
But I'm just I think I'm just not sure where it's all coming from. It's kind of like suggesting that we have no plan and everything is wrong within Irish rugby. I just find us kind of baffling that that's kind of the story during the week. I'm not sticking up for David Nsofor or they are a few, but I just I just I don't know where the major issue is here. It's obviously there's there's a lot of questions about what's his accountability and what's his role.
And like I said, two years ago, it was we were the envy of a lot of teams in the world. Absolutely. Loads of stuff needs to get better and you can always improve things. We need to develop more players. We need to try and find a way to have particularly a monster, the school system in the club system and the professional game more aligned. That is that happens so much better in Leinster. And that's proven because obviously they have more numbers as well.
But that transition and that connection between the Leinster branch and the school system is is far more fluid than it is in Munster. So, of course, those things need to change and there has to be. The accountability thing is, yes, maybe David Nsofor needs to come out more and share these plans publicly. And but a lot of the plans and the strategic plans are under review website. And I had a look at a lot of that stuff.
And so it's it's probably there for everyone to see.
But, you know, people are probably questioning and looking for. You know. What's his plan, what's his role, what's his job? His job is to try and make sure that we have a lot of players playing for Ireland. And, you know, he's he's probably upset people that there has been movement around in the provinces. But that wouldn't stop wouldn't have happened and without evidence before. And I think a lot of this stuff is coming from.
Let's start the criticism around him. So, of course, he needs accountability. Everybody needs accountability when you get well-paid in a job. But, you know, and that's something that I suppose Gordon was talking about. Great stuff.
And I'm going to talk to you again on Monday to review the Scotland game. Thanks a million shares, lads. Thanks, OTB.
And this is OTB Sports Radio. That was an OTB podcast. Network presentations.
Love to kick back with a Big Mac. Ain't nothing you wouldn't do for a sausage and Egg McMuffin. Well, good news. You can now order McDonald's on.
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