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I want to tell you about the RFQ Charitable Trust and a new initiative that they have going RFQ Charitable Trust, dot com forward slash friends. Since 1978, the IRA, a few charitable trusts, has worked tirelessly to assist severely injured rugby players in their everyday lives. And now they're asking you to become a friend. Obviously, with the restrictions this year on meet ups, it's been difficult for charities to run the traditional events that they would have used as their fundraising initiatives.
Now, from the comfort of your own home, you can get involved. So without the ongoing support of our rugby friends and our generosity, the trust says life changing initiatives for our seriously injured players could not be realised. Funds raised from our Friends program help with everyday needs such as wheelchairs and physical therapy, but also contribute to major initiatives, including the ongoing research to spinal injury treatments, prosthesis and medications promoting nerve cell regeneration. So your friendship and generosity helps our seriously injured players live their lives to the full and get some more details here.
So check out RFQ Charitable Trust. You just pay an annual subscription and you can start your journey as a friend. At the moment they have one hundred individual friends and are trying to get that to a thousand by the end of the year, the 14 rugby clubs. So if you're a member of a rugby club, you can sign up every club as well and hope to get to 60 rugby clubs and have 16 rugby schools helping to get that to 60 by the end of the year as well.
So it's a big drive and it's a big, important fundraiser for the charitable trust and hugely important that and we're delighted to support that.
And also the like. Say, Gordon Darcy is here this morning. He's currently an ambassador for them. Gordon, good morning to you. How are you?
Not too bad. He got me in the middle of the discussion. Yeah, I was happy to come out and say hello. Yeah.
And look, just very briefly, the charitable trust is something that I know the players are always very happy to give back to you because it's always something in the back of your mind. You've seen players and former teammates of a fairly serious injuries along the way. It's a brutal sport when things go badly. And it's very important that we highlight the fact that the charitable trust exists.
Yeah, listen to those Shot of the day and you know, thirty six players in Ireland, you know, that need this service. And, you know, it is the contact sport. Unfortunately, sometimes things don't don't go well. It's you know, it's a it's it's terrible that this charity has to exist. But I think there's plenty of people who will who will give testament to the fact that they're delighted that it does exist. But like like with anything, you know, we need people to we need people to support us.
And this is this is, you know, something borne out of the pandemic, which is fantastic. The you know, the the friends of the friends of the chair of the charitable trust. It's a great idea. And, you know, hopefully people can get behind us and something that because the people who do receive and do benefit from this are a really, really, really need do need it. Yeah.
And one hundred percent, as I said, we're delighted to support it, according to the graphic flashed up there. Eighty two hours cops we had Matt Williams on last night talking about maybe Ireland could consider a market real. You would have qualified under the criteria where you could have gone away for a season or two at the end and had some fun, maybe earned a few quid and still been able to play for Ireland. What's your take on that and just how inflexible we are at the moment?
Like, I think we have to be realistic on that as well. We're not I don't think we're ever going to be able to compete with the salaries. I think the way the structures in Ireland are set up, it provides a balance to two players. You will be afforded a longer career in Ireland than if you do go abroad and you will be looked after better. But, you know, there is there is a there is a quid pro quo to that success in Ireland for, you know, can mean you're being sick.
I mean, you know, playing for your country and going abroad. You know, in theory, it's one of the things it's very easy to argue and say, you know, to broaden the player base. But that's not necessarily that's you know, it's unproven. You know, these things to say just to go and do it. And I think we need our best players playing here. I think when you look at all the provinces, when the internationals are away, the big name draws when they're not there at the stadiums aren't as full.
So I think if you dilute the player base even more, you may struggle to fill the stadiums.
OK, so there's a balancing act to be struck with regards to that has with everything. Yeah, it kind of comes off the back of.
So Glasgow have apparently approached Ben Healy. We don't know. They haven't come out formally and said because that's not how these things work. And apparently there are some Scottish ancestry links that would allow him to qualify for Scotland. It's a nightmare scenario where in two years time, Ben Healy is starring a ten for Scotland and being Ireland. That's kind of the worst case scenario. And I'm sure that there's agents involved here. Somewhere along the way saying that this is a potential outcome of this, like it is a difficult job to make sure that we keep the Ben Heelys and make sure that he gets time, game time for Monster and at the same time.
Yeah, but I don't I don't even think that this is an Irish conversation. Yes. And I think we have to you know, you talk about Don McFarlane talking about the young speedster up north and saying, listen, we need to afford this kid a time to grow into the position and into into his skillset and his body. Exact same for Ben Healy. He has to grow everything we're seeing now. I saying, yes, this is a guy who deserves investment and we need monster desperately need to keep it to keep him.
I've been incredibly critical of the overall movement of players around Ireland. And indigenous players need to see players need to see a pathway into the provincial teams. Ben Healy and Craig Casey are exemplary examples of that. So they have to be kept in Monster for Monster to survive as a club. And should he develop into the player that we're seeing sprinkling of every week, then that's going to be a fantastic conversation and a fantastic selection headache for the for the Irish coach.
But first and foremost, we have to keep Leinster or sorry, Munster indigenous players in the country.
Yeah, and I guess this is all part of the conversation that's going on about where we are at the moment with regards to the professional playing stock and essentially in the aftermath of the press conference this week with every. So in your column, actually, I kind of feel like this is all part of it is remet to make sure that the playing stock is managed properly and those contracts are managed properly. And with the pandemic, none of the contracts for the American players have been signed yet or agreed.
Yet you made the point that it'll be a very anxious Christmas for a lot of very experienced players who have kids who are coming to the end of a deal and who are thinking, should I sign a new deal in England and just lock something up because I have a mortgage and my kids are very young and I'm probably, you know, I have one contract left maybe too.
But there's a financial reality to life. And at some point there is I think you're putting out there is there's a tipping point between staying and representing, you know, being the one club man and represent and fighting for a place for the Irish jersey. And then the economic reality of saying, you know, I don't know what I'm going to be offered, but I am being offered something in France. And I already I know of one of the players in the in the national team that French clubs haven't changed how they're doing things.
They like to have their club. They like to have their squads finished by the end of January. So if we're only starting our negotiation in January, you kind of wonder, you know, in the absence of certainty or clarity, you know, you can if you can get it somewhere else, it can it possibly could be hard to say no. And I understand there's a financial you know, that's been touted as the you know, the financial you know, we're still assessing the organisation.
You know, I find that one a little bit hard to understand because any organisation that, you know, I just I've been involved in or am would expect an organisation the size of the IRA for you to have done fairly robust modelling on what revenue could worst and best case scenarios for to those 2021 21. So I'm not sure where the like the ambiguity around all this. It does feel like a little bit like a negotiation tactic. Yeah.
And I couldn't help coming to the conclusion when I read your piece yesterday that you don't really think David Nucifora is doing a good job. Do you think it's time for us to look at a different system or or should we be looking to move on from Nucifora at this point? No, I think, you know, it's very you know, you have to put a trying to put an awful lot into a few words. I think what the problem with this is, one of the problems is that there is an absence of what his remit is and it's very, very loose.
And, you know, what are his performance, what the success look like? That was one of the lines we used yesterday, what success looked like for Davnie Nucifora. And because the media and most people that would take a keen interest in this are not that clear on us. And there's been a lot of movement of players in around the provinces and that, you know, New Zealand esque model has that had been a success. And the review from the Rugby World Cup has not been openly, openly shared.
It's been addressed. And we have to take a word. You know, if you take people's word from that, there's just you know, I you know, one of the things I'm very used to was with with Joe was around clarity. You may not always like the clarity, but once you have that and once you're being upfront about things, it's it's easier to, you know, to critique and to move on from us. But I do feel we're being largely left in the dark with a lot of this love to kick back with a Big Mac.
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And Egg McMuffin served until 11:00. Again, Big Macs served after 11:00 a.m. at participating McDonald's checkout. You just heat up to see if there's one new delivery fee applies. Yeah.
So the bits of the World Cup of you that came out certainly seem to suggest that it was Schmidt's fault. There was a bit of blame for McNulty, and it was upsetting to me when the photographs came out where Nucifora was actually in coaching. Er, I didn't realise that his role was kind of on the field of play that coaching sessions as well.
That was that was a bit of a surprise to me when I saw that. So he's obviously deeply involved and I presume he's not actually doing coaching, keeping an eye on what the coaches are doing and trying to assess that. But there definitely doesn't seem to be that much clarity about what the role is like. Is it your instinct that we don't have that maybe the role is the right role, but we just don't know that and that and an open and transparent discussion around that would be useful?
Or do you actually think that we're not doing a good job when it comes to that side of the game at the moment?
Well, yeah, like, I don't I don't think it's being done particularly well. I think, you know, if the you know, the Leinster school's game covers up an awful lot of the shortcomings in some of the other provinces. You know, we talk about this pathway into elite rugby. And, you know, the club game has to be the, you know, the main underdeveloped resource in the country. And whereas the US, you know, the whole thing has to has to knit together.
And so the role is the right role. But that open conversation and that open society around us needs to be detailed to the people that that care and the stakeholders because, you know, media are a stakeholder in this. Funds are a stakeholder in this. And the clubs and the supporters, everybody are. And how, you know, what is the every job has a job description and every job has those key performance indicators and or what are the other yardsticks that that they're judged by?
You know, we just everybody would just like to understand what they are and have a better understanding of them.
How do you repair that disconnect between someone like David Nucifora and the grassroots of Ireland, if they are the things that ultimately will lead to high performance and to success at high performing levels? How do you prepare that disconnect?
I don't I don't think that's you know, this isn't a this isn't a, you know, a public caning of to have David Nucifora, you know, this is where part in the problem does does that fall under his remit or not? And if not, who does it fall on? Where is the development of the, you know, the of the pathway from the from the club game into the professional game? You know, because like how many clubs, 250, 230 plus clubs in the country and has every as every club got an international rep representing them like these things, you know, you go into any club you can at any under-age club, you know, you know, last year or in the year, in the years coming.
And you will see a couple of hundred kids there every week. You know, what coaching are they getting is the same quality. These are all the bits that we just need to, you know, need to understand. And that's probably is moves away from, you know, the David Nucifora point. But I do believe they all are integrated and an integrated approach is probably desirable than the alternative. Yeah.
Can we talk about actual quality of play that you're seeing on the field at the moment? And so we've obviously been talking about it a good bit on the show over. The last couple of months, like what is the identity of Ireland under Andy Farrell going to be and I don't really know just yet. I think he needs a little bit more time, given the lack of access that he's had and all that. But at the same time, it'd be good to start seeing some signs.
Yeah, like, I think one of the things we have to fundamentally accept is there's a big transition piece going on in the actual squad and then second in the style of play. So you remember we had very quite spoiled with having a Devin Toner in a in a in a squad for the last 10 years. And regardless of how good your thrower was, you got somebody at six foot 10 and, you know, pretty easy to lift, which I'm not saying that it did mask, but could potentially have any shortcomings in a lineup.
We know to, you know, medium to, you know, to good size. Second Rose and in Henderson and James Ryan and what we don't have that bunker in there. Their Rory best, you know, one of the probably the best scrummaging hookers that's ever, you know, that has played for Ireland. And there's been a, you know, Jack Megraw, James Cronon and in a killer and then and then a monster and not playing at the moment as well.
So they're not playing well and the are playing a jacks, you know, fighting position to ignore it. So that kind of meaty package isn't there. And anything you want to build off of that is going to and we've we've fallen down in the setpiece massively. So any any involvement of our game plan is going to be harder to do that with a misfiring misfiring CEP's. And I think they can solve that in the short term. But I kind of feel that the game plan that we're playing at the moment, there is an awful lot of Thierer theory based in on that that hasn't been tested in the you know, in against the Englands against, you know, France newsier that a real strong opposition.
And I think we got a fairly good yardstick of where that game, the limitations of the way we were trying to play against England. I think this week, if we get some growth on the game plan and see some of those a little bit more accuracy and it's going to be a little bit and I think we have to accept is going to be around kicking and setpiece if we get those strong fundamentals and we see some of that evolvement of that second line, second wave attack that there they are starting to play, then that is that's progress for me.
So you can see signs of that in in games against lesser opposition that might cut. There are some imprints of what he's trying to do on the game plan. What is it?
Yeah, look, there definitely are trying to create opportunities, but getting it to the with and those that kick and pass options on the wide and just getting getting their game breakers onto the onto the ball, which is around the Stockdale and Pontiac, getting on them in in situations where they talked about that, they've, they've said what it is, it's heads up rugby. But that is quite existential and a lot of ways because that is just creating mismatches put to play heads up rugby.
You need the strong, you need strong CEP's. And we do not have a strong setpiece at the moment. So should they be able to repair that? We'll get a better understanding of what they are trying, trying to achieve. And I said just like this labor, this point on the transition period, we all the players talked about the over detail and the level of detail that Joe Schmidt provided for players and demanded of players, which is fine until it's taken away.
And now if you're actually putting a bit responsibility back on players and they have to think their way out of problems and solutions, that doesn't happen overnight. That's going to take that. And it's going to take a lot of games. And I think and I hope we're feeling and seeing that pain now with a view to twenty twenty one players understanding, like Byrne, for example, will have taken that game against England, come back, looked over every decision and gone.
Could have done better. Where would I where could I have kicked? Where could I have not kicked. I would, I would I manage my forwards. How could I, how could I have kept them on the front foot and how could we have made England play with the ball because I didn't want the ball. All those things need to happen.
That's an interesting point you make there about the Joe Schmoe coaching that it does seem that this way of, I guess, empowering the players, allowing them to make decisions is more in line with how the coaching team at Leinster are operating. It's not a preprogramming of the players. And I guess that test level, they're just trying to get used to that. Yeah, I think so.
And I like and I would say the same with with the other three provinces as well. Munster It definitely it's like the end of the pro fourteen season last year has just lifted a weight off their shoulders and they're certainly playing. You know, I've seen some good some talent has been very impressive for them, but they're playing a really, really nice game of rugby. Casey is playing with Tempo Eeles, managing the game scandal. All these guys are coming in and and they're playing.
And we've got some, you know, Coomes coming in at number eight. They're playing quite an enjoyable brand of rugby, so when the when the monster players do go back to that, what we do now need to see is that transition for all these players and they go back to the provinces that they continue to play. We know the larger players are challenged continuously, that the monster contact and older players when they go back, that they absorb that type of rugby that heads up and not play what you see type of rugby.
And they bring it back to the national team. And the national team can harness them because we know that it's almost impossible to to do that type of coaching in a national team because you only get them for such short blocks. You need them to be doing it, living it every day.
And at least they are in the provinces. And you can see how that would make sense to bring that to a national level. And you can see as well in a post covid post sorry, post vaccine when we all got them that actually. And if go and spend a week with the provinces and like, see what's happening and learn a bit more about them. And that's why I'm kind of willing to give them a little bit of time.
I don't know if everybody that's what I am as well, because the other thing as well as sorry to cut you off is the the game plan has to like it has to interact with the players that are playing it. And I think we're seeing that now when we start to see the capabilities, we're seeing Darris now coming in place, how well him and see just under a complementing each other. And so how we get these people onto the ball, Stockdale has to he's their most potent threat.
The game plan has to evolve to suit the players that are taking the field. And that takes time. Unfortunately, we would love to have a silver bullet much the same way we love with the with covid. We don't it will be incremental improvements over time.
And I do want to ask one last thing before we get to your book about Balam is getting move from one side of the scrum to the other.
I do feel like that is definitely the bit where you're looking at your national professional. Whatever, David, as far as Gigas and go and come on, come on. Why am I still making these changes and the week of a game for somebody and seeing if he can play international rugby at a position. Come on.
Yeah, like that. Whatever. But Andrew Porter, you know that I would put my hand up. I'm very, very limited on technical scrum knowledge. If that is a tight, I'd experiment that needs to continue. I put my hand up, but I don't see it going the other way. You know, there are plenty of players in those positions that deserve to be playing in their natural position. You know, Dennis Buckley probably isn't delighted. And, you know, I think it's Eric O'Sullivan of Northam's James Coleman and Munster, you know, that are experienced, established lose that props.
You know that that, you know, again, is is is hard to you know, it's hard to understand at the moment.
Yeah. And look, you know, I mean, if you're the coach, you're doing what you can to get your to get your wins, but you hope that the pipeline is there and that's supposed to be somebody else's game as well. So it is Christmas time.
Your your your second of your trilogy is our Godfather two. It's called Blue Thunder. Is it better than the first one?
Oh, of course it is. Of course it is. It picks up. It picks up nicely off the off the second off the second one. So Joe Schmidt is the Leinster coach and he comes in and thankfully, Paul Howard was able to help get in my head then on that down on paper. So, yeah, it's it. Leinster turns around at the start of the book. They're watching. Everybody is a monster supporter and Leinster still have hopes to win a Heineken Cup.
And but there's a lot of road to go. A lot of a lot a lot of fun things have to have to happen for me. Working in Wonder Burger to hopefully winning a Heineken cope with socialism's and the Leinster team.
I mean, people forget now what that actually happened where the whole country wants to fans.
Yeah. So, like like, you know, when we were right and raising this this up, you know, Paul, you know, as a sports journalist, so you had a good handle on it. But like, I was in Wexford and, you know, started playing for Leinster. And at that time, Monsur were the, you know, the dominant team and in Ireland. And I'm about to be the most dominant team in Europe for, you know, the next seven or eight years.
And the majority of people, they support success. And they supported me. They supported Munster, you know, and that's my home county. But Leinster had to we had to we had a very clear identity as a Dublin based teams and credit to Mick Dodson and to everybody that's been involved with Leinster since there was a huge push to move it into a and all province, county, province club. And we did that. But we had to fight for our supporters.
And that comes across in the and the book. And it was you know, it was fun because, you know, the Leinster thing is is pretty funny. And then obviously this is it's a kids book. So it's not just purely for. Boys, there's effa, the character in us, as well as is fighting the good fight about as involved in the 20 by 20 women's campaign. So if his character has more challenges, that she's fighting for parity.
And in the females in the women's game and I mentioned it's a trilogy.
So you get finished the second one, you think, OK, I can relax for a little while now and then straight back into work for the third one. Yeah, well, I good relationship also.
I started I started bothering a couple of weeks ago with some ideas because we did most of the planning and the first book that we can we kind of have set the rules for the universe that the book exists. And so now we just have to, you know, map out the story and I'll put the book, the bits and pieces in it. And like Penguin are absolutely amazing. And Alan Nolan does the does the illustrations and he gets it straight away.
So it's just a it's it's it's really good. And we really do hope that people enjoy it.
And congratulations on it's called Blue Thunder. It's the second book of Gordon's game, the third book, I guess, in time for next Christmas, but gets the full thumbs up from my nine year old, too. So, Gordon, great to have you with us. Thanks. Many thanks very much.
Gordon D'Arcy there, who was appearing today as an ambassador for the RFU Charitable Trust, who, I remind you, are just asking you to become a friend. You can donate, ah, a few charitable trust. Dotcom is the website and it is life changing research for people who have suffered injuries and support for people who've suffered injuries. Playing rugby 087 nine one eighty one 80 is the number here. It's a minute past nine. Multibeam is live in association with Gillette.
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