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The OTB podcast network OTB. And this is OTB Sports Radio Island, Queenland.

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Good morning to see how you get on morning. I'm sorry I tweeted that the weekend after the racing game that Danica Ryan is the best second row in Ireland. And I stand by it and a lot of people are coming at me by James Ryan. But right now, today, if I had to pick a team to win whatever match for my life, I'm picking Donica, Ryan and my team. Yeah, he was he has these very little rugby player this year, he's had a good few injuries and stuff like that.

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But, you know, I played with Donica for a number of years and Monster and he's just epitomizes everything you want in a sportsperson desire, passion, energy, leadership, you know, work through the roof and honesty as well, because.

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So he's a guy you love playing with and he's a guy who inspires people around him because, you know, when you're going into these tight battles and big games that someone like Tony Karyne will just work his socks off. And he's he's a very talented player as well. He's thirty six now. So he's probably not moving like he was moving a couple of years back where he was making line breaks and offloading the ball. But he's a very intelligent player who's who's worked on his skills over the years.

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And and just it's phenomenal to see him in a final 12 years after being there with with my old team monster when he was Donica was on the bench that day. And I think he's been missed by Ireland the last couple of years. There's absolutely no doubt about that. And it's great to see him back in the final. He was very influential in Saturday, even though it was a poor match. It was a poor performance from wrestling. They struggled a little bit with with Saracen's just on settling them and seventeen turnovers in the game.

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Rossing So he was very good on Saturday at that point about him.

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I went missing him like I wonder.

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So he's forty seven Ireland Cups really. He's on that one hundred island cup suddenly.

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I don't know if he should have one hundred.

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I don't know the number but he's definitely should have a few more. But he made the decision himself to leave Turso.

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But even before that, is there is there a point where we didn't appreciate what we had with somebody like Duncker?

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I think look to us, Paul. Paul was there for a number of years. Dave Tollner had come on the scene. You know, he didn't play as much. You know, when he was younger, he was mixing between Baquero Second or Monster. So he probably should have a few more cups. He wasn't probably at the start of Jorge's era. Joel probably didn't realise what kind of value and just his presence. I mean that respectfully to Joel like that sometimes the presence of of of a forward and particularly on the field, their attitude, their body language, and that worked great that I'm talking about is very influential.

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And Donica was always like that. He was just someone even in training. I remember doing fitness sessions with him and just him pushing himself to the limits and just working so hard all the time.

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And it was always, you know, I remember Donica when he was under Monster underrating team and he came to Camillia my my junior club. And I remember I got a phone call saying when I come in and do a session with them and do a line out session. And I was around Tipperary at the time and I went in there and I just remember Donica, this long, skinny, tall player from Pnina who was just constantly asking me questions, what about this and what can I do here and what do I do now?

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And and I remember just gone Jesus far as he just kind of hoover up so much information. I was playing a monster at the time and then a couple of years later, he's in the squabs and he's with Monster. And so he's value is massive and he's presence. And I think that's what I've heard a lot of coming out of racing. He's so well respected there. So when I talk about a presence, you know, putting a guy in when you're under pressure like that and having them around that environment makes makes a big difference.

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So Donica probably should have more caps. He's certainly a player. You know, I have massive respect for and I love his attitude. And it's great to see him in the final, as I said.

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Yeah. I just wonder sometimes if we if we let if we're a bit easier with that presence thing you're talking about. That that's missing and that's missing in the Ireland team, isn't this Aspies? And it's a bit of an edge and it's a bit of an attitude and it's a bit of a body language saying that that great players bring and they just bring a kind of a steely resolve. And I think Donica just kind of developed that over the years we became a real leader and had this kind of gnarly kind of attitude that, you know, it's kind of like people ask me, what do I miss most about, you know, playing rugby?

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It's the dressing room. It's that because it's looking across at guys who, you know, are just going to knuckle down and they're not daunted, are worried, are afraid of the task at hand, if you like. I don't think it's that kind of fellow who, you know, it's experience a combat experience. Sure. As well, you know, so it's it's it's kind of been overcritical maybe on some of the Irish lads.

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But I just I always say I want to I said about Ian Henderson a lot. I think he's a wonderful footballer. He's he's a, you know, so athletic. But he I just love to see him have more of an attitude, be a bit more aggressive, be more confrontational. You know, people would argue that you can't just make someone become a bit more daglish in their approach, but you need is and particularly against England. And, you know, we've spoken at length about the last couple of matches, the Leinster Saracen's, the English Irish Games.

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It's just that bit of aggressive on the edge stuff that you need that it always bring in from that through.

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Paul is bringing from can and someone like Communicare Ryan stepping into that mix. He's the kind of fellow who would, you know, really stand up and be confrontational. And we need a little bit more of that.

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Yeah.

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And look, this is a are you going to get us in the school system in Leinster that will don't leave you come out of school? He's the most disgraceful I see involved at the moment. You know, that that has been injured. James Ryan is incredibly aggressive terms, Ryan's grace, but the aggression.

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So he he and Donna Karan are different.

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Right. James is a brilliant technical player. And the aggressiveness that we saw in the England game, I would be all for that. But that was the first time we've kind of seen that from them. Yeah.

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And James is still maturing. Think is the kind of fellow that. He's a fighter, you know, he's kind of if it was a street fight, he'll fight you and I'm not advocating violence or anything, but you just need to be a bit more confrontational. And, you know, James will get that more. Levie is someone like if you Sean O'Brien had it. You know, I remember playing Sean O'Brien as playing against Sean Ryan when he was quite young.

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And, you know, he wasn't going to be intimidated by me as far as his opposition. Number six, he was as hard as nails. And I remember him swinging a forearm at me and one of those early games. And I remember thinking, jeez, is this follows. He's a hard nosed and it does kind of it makes you sit back and think that you're not going to just bully this person because naturally more experienced players try to unsettle younger players and get at them and not really focus on their talent.

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But how are you going to how are you going to get into their head? How are you going to physically going to hurt him in rugby? And we do like a little bit of that. And, you know, the debate goes on about the physicality and stuff like this. And maybe we need to evolve a little bit with Ireland. So we don't want to just get all these. Bruce? No, but I play rugby a bit a little bit of a mix for that.

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Yeah. And I just I always I always hated when any team I ever played in or watching any team play in rugby. I hated the opposition's bullying them. You know, if you get beaten by playing better rugby. Fair enough. And sometimes it can happen where you are a bit dominant in Strom's or Mauls or whatever. But Tony Karyne is someone that kind of brings that bit of nasty edge. But look, I think his time is over now.

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Unfortunately, with Ireland, because he's thirty six, is probably his last season with racing. So who knows, you know, but maybe we can develop that a little bit more.

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But the Irish strategy need to go beyond whether or not somebody is going to play for Ireland or Ireland. Like I mean, he will be invaluable to have around Munster, even if there was a sense that he wasn't going to play for Ireland. Again, wrongly, to have done a crime involved in Irish will be surely can't have been a drawback. If that where they need to start thinking Narada, then he's going to get ten cops in the next year.

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Yeah, but he decided to leave himself on, as I said, and the whole rule about not picking overseas players. I agree with that. And some people don't agree with it, you know, particularly when you have a World Cup and you think Simon Ziba Donica, Ryan should have been at the World Cup, but they should, you know. Well, I don't think they should start from a playing point of view, maybe, but I agree with it because I think you will have the floodgates will open.

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And then we were given out about provincial rugby in the last few years, players rotating and and the international is not being paid. A lot of money go. It's just a reality of it. They go to France and they'll play for Ireland as well. And because, you know, believe it or believe it or not, most players, I think, would put more stock in paying for for for the country than over the provinces because it's a ruthless kind of nature to expose your donica.

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Ryan has been a big last month for the last few years. There's absolutely no doubt about that, because he's your typical kind of target monster player who is is very skillful as well. And you've seen, you know, you look at the semifinal against Claremont's and he's doing little wraparound passes for for do Bouchard's try, you know. So he's it is it is you some people are split on this on. But, you know, Dolnick is thirty six now.

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I don't think he's going to play on anymore. From what I'm hearing, he's going to play out the season.

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But you know him gone back to Monsur being involved with Monstrance, some capacity would certainly benefit and help younger players come and true. But there's so many of us have retired in the last kind of ten, twelve years. All of us, once the team that won European Cups, that there's a lot of a lot of ex monster players out there now. And they're not back in the monster system, if you like.

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Is it ludicrous, given the current situation in the scenario we're in, where. Just last week when they were talking about this, the review said that given the scenarios that are now on the table, we may at some point in the near future have to revisit the notion of not picking players who play abroad, because if I announce the scenario so dire that we may end up having to ship players out so that they can continue being professional in this situation.

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If you're Andy Farrell, is is the form of donica, Ryan, so good that you would turn around and say it's a million quid difference between finishing second and fourth in the Six Nations like. Can I have these two players that might make us a million quid? Is it so ridiculous that they might it's just don't his own decision?

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I don't I don't think they'll change it now. I think it could it could change next season where there is a finite major financial implication. The French clubs are owned by private owners, millionaires, billionaires. So they may be able to ride out the storm a little bit better. The French government are bailing out all the clubs are giving the clubs money there. They probably have more resources to do that than we do here. And from a government point of view in Ireland, I know there has been grants given to the FBI, the DEA and the RFU.

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But how long will that last year. If you are losing massive money, five million a month, it said, are paying out in salary and not in coming in. So it could be a case where that will change. There was talk that London Irish should become a technically perfect Irish province, and that's what a great idea.

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Yeah, it would be a good idea. And I think if if if that was to happen, if there was guys who were interested in, you know, this is probably more relevant to fringe players, younger guys who are, you know, look at the Leinster Baquero situation. If someone moved out of there now and went to England like Charlie Murphy gone to Ulster, you know, he could now go to London, Irish as well and still be picked for Ireland.

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So that would increase the player pool, if you like, to essentially five teams was I think it possibly will happen in the next year or two. Does the top players, you know that there will be a decision made as they can? They certainly won't be able to be held to ransom. And, you know, they've and a couple of times in the last ten years where certain players like Keith Harold, for example, was about to go to Saracen's and he got an improved offer to stay.

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You know, we've seen Shaun O'Brien, Jamie Hayslip, D'Errico in the earlier years. You're playing that's the cars overseas car, which is exactly what I would do as well. And the agents are doing that. And that's just the business of it. But I think now going forward, if that stuff goes on too much and if there's a huge difference in the salary, if you're getting offered five hundred grand to be in France or three hundred here, well, it's a massive gap.

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Yeah.

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And I don't think the RFU are going to be able to do that. But it would be great for the player in a sense, from a selfish point of view, if they can still go to France and be picked for Ireland. So, look, it may change and this debate will rumble on a little bit. But I just think I agree with the decision from the RFU not to pick overseas players because it keeps them at home. And I just know from personal point of view, if I was if there was 50 or 100 grand in the difference or play for Ireland and the possibility of maybe playing less games, being better managed in the longer term, it's probably you know, I'd be I'd be saying I want to play for Ireland and that's 100 grand.

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You'll get it back. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Probably are. You want you play out and I get that play for Ireland and if I play for Ireland, I'm going to get the match fees and I'm going to make up some of that money anyway.

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Yeah, I totally understand.

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I started party granzow but it's the big difference. It's where, you know, you're getting five, six hundred and you're getting 300 here. Well it's a no brainer. Yeah.

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And you just go committees at the London Irish idea because we've been talking about this on the show for ages. Are people talking about it again as a possibility?

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Yeah. I mean, look, it's it's it's it's it's hasn't been probably the coronavirus stuff has has halted it a little bit and but I think it should it'd be great idea because it'd be an idea for, you know, effectively from from an Irish selection point of view that you're allowing a fifth Irish team, their first team to select from and that's from London Irish point of view. And, well, they would be involved now in in the player pool here that, you know, Leinster is so extensive and we've seen that over the years that they know of a chance to get these players.

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And it's it's not just pie in the sky where players are playing the agent's card or the overseas card to get better contracts here. But actually, they now know that if a player would talk to them, that he can still play for Ireland and that it'd probably be more genuine. I know that some of the French clubs are are not really keen on talking to many Irish players anymore, particularly the internationals, because they feel they're being played for a fool.

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Really, at times they've they've helped improve those contracts here. But I think the idea of London Irish being a 50/50 Irish team to select from would be would be a brilliant idea. I agree. 100 percent. Oh, yeah. I mean, were you sleep there on Wacol? Not really. I was asking a question. It's the reality of it, though, and covid is like. Surely it was fanciful before now. And because of coronaviruses, it's even more kind of ludicrous to think that it might actually happen soon.

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Is it not better to look at a time of crisis, expand the amount of different places that you can do business, that it seems that it might become a necessity to be doing business like this and to have some semblance of control over the players if they are going to be playing away and not necessarily control, but influence, at least over the number of games are playing access to their data in terms of what they're doing and training the same relationship you have with the provinces here, although I don't know if they're about buying it or an ownership stake or some kind of something like that.

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And I don't know what the no, I don't think there's going to be any financial kind of crossover here. I think it's just literally doing an agreement with London Irish that we're going to pick Irish players if you sign them. And it's that simple. And it just gives more of an opportunity for the players as well to to to to go and play in the premiership. And you think would have benefits having the guys in different environment like that playing and probably.

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Probably a more intense championship league week after week after week where it is so important to win every game and you know, relegation is a big issue. And so I think that would be beneficial to the players and to undefiled if he gets a couple or a couple of Irish guys go there and obviously the money got to be right. And all you players, players are not going to sign for London Irish if the money is isn't on a par with some of the other premiership clubs.

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And, you know, I was thinking about this. Does do does it attract your top Irish players? Well, I say London Irish probably in a situation where they could sign a couple of marquee players for sure. But then you like any team, the level below that is potential international. So, you know, if you have extended squads or guys who feel that they're not getting enough of a crack of it here and that they want to play for Ireland, it's a great pathway for them to go somewhere different.

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And, you know, I just think someone someone like Charlie Murphy, who is played so well for Ireland for a number of years, then because of all the competition, Leinster goes to Ulster, I just think. Even though it's a different environment, a different team is still playing in the same league and, you know, it's still a lot of the same, if you like, it's a different team, of course. But, you know, for me, if I was in that situation, I thought I could go play for Ireland.

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I'd be really attracted about going across across the water and playing in a different competition, because, as I said, the number one for me would be to be selected for Ireland.

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So if you're Maxygen, for example, and he'd be he'd be the next one. Well, he can now go, well, you know, if I want to play for Ireland, I can now sign for Munster Ulster or London Irish. I know for teams to choose from, I can also go to friends of the money is ludicrous and crazy. But I'm not going to play for Ireland. He's still young like Max. Stephen is probably a good example of someone who can go to France and say, Right, I'm going for two years here.

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I'm young enough, I'm going to forfeit a certain amount of cups. I'm going to hope that I can come back. But there's always a risk. When you go, you'll make risk assessments of Perpignan and, you know, went for two years, came back and got back, involved with Ireland a bit again and was was very influential for months or so.

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Some guys can go and come back. But I think if you're at a 27, 28 mark and you're in international and you decide, well, I'm going to take two years, I'll go to France, it's risky and it's very, very risky. But look, it may change.

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Are you do you think this is likely to happen? More likely than less likely to happen or how far along?

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I think it's not. I think it's likely to happen. I think it'd be a great idea, as I said. So I do think it's likely to happen. It makes perfect sense.

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Is it coming from the RFU? Is it coming from London? It's coming from both because London Irish then get a great opportunity to to have more of a player pool to recruit from as well. So it would be beneficial to both.

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But look, I don't know where it's at now. I heard it was fairly you know, it was very real possibility a couple of months ago. So hopefully it does because it does.

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You know, there's there's a couple of Irish guys, there's plenty of Irish exiles in the UK in the next couple of years who will end up probably for London. Irish have been involved with the London Irish, set up Irish qualified guys. So I think it'd be great for both.

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Is there a danger, Ireland? I mean, we're sometimes not giving credit to what players get when they go abroad, going through a different system, going into a different league, that perhaps setting up this camp in a different country might actually just be a replica of the Irish system, just going in a different country. And the benefits of playing abroad won't be fully exploited by thanking London. Irish, like just being double that can all be there for a moment.

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Like I can definitely Flyman Zebo and done a crime like broadening their horizons. It it just get narrowed a little bit by by the advent of an Irish owned team in the premiership or I'm not sure.

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I still think there's there's lots of you know, there's lots of all they've signed very well this year, London, Irish, they are struggling a little bit. It takes time. It'll take time for them. But they've some top quality internationals there. I think it benefits the other way because, you know, there was always this intrigue with the French clubs and particularly the international players playing for their clubs over the years as to why they were monsters so hard to beat in my era and why are Leinster so hard to beat?

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And they they sometimes look and they don't see these superstar Munster players and incredible teams. And, you know, they look at their own clubs and the budgets to have and they think, why can we beat them? And so I think they they learn a lot, particularly in France. Look at Roger when he went to racing, I think, and Dan Carter, I think it was probably widely publicized about, you know, the cultural shift, their about attitude to diets, new nutrition, the fitness training, probably a bit more structure in the way you play.

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Irish rugby is very structured, I suppose. And we do get you know, we come up short at times when particularly at the World Cups, and it does have a negative effect. But I just think the relentless nature and the fitness levels of the provinces, by and large, we wear where the life out of our opposition teams, French teams and I think their natural flair. Maybe we can learn a little bit from the expansive approach of some of these teams in France and in England and natural ability and just off the cuff stuff that we probably need to bring in, particularly to the Irish team at the moment, where you try you want to try and encourage guys to have a course.

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You know, rugby has become very, very negative and boring in the last number of years. And we see so many games where the opposition just it's all about cancelling them out, taking away their talents, closing their space down. So we need more of an evolution around attack. You look at Racing and Saracen's on Saturday. It was a shocking game. It was non-stop tackle, knock on turnover, kick the ball, stop the opposition. And that's great if you're you know, sometimes, you know, players like that, you know that it's.

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All confrontation and you get big bows out of turn the opposition over, but just as a spectacle, I thought we'd see a lot more trees. We saw an incredible bit of brilliance near the end of the game from general back Ottawa for him off strike. So to answer your question, I know it's a long answer on, but I think we can learn a lot by some of our players being in different environments from what they do, particularly around the evolution of attacking, and that that approach had just been more expansive and a bit freer in the way we play.

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Yeah, 100 percent.

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Really fascinating stuff this morning. And thanks for joining us. My pleasure. Thanks.

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Let's OTB. And this is OTB Sports Radio. That was an OTB podcast. Network Presentations. Got. Cut through the noise with sound thinking from the Irish Times and smart sound from Sennheiser, subscribe to the Irish Times and enjoy a free pair of Sennheiser wireless headphones. Visit Irish Times dotcom slash subscribe.