Archive for June 2014

Sometimes, a borrower or a lender be…   Leave a comment

David Nucifora and interprovincial loan deals.

Something which has bothered Irish Rugby fans over the last few years is players leaving to go to French and English clubs, sometimes in positions where other provinces are lacking.

The problems….

  • You cannot, and should not, force a player to go to a team when they do not wish to.
  • Provincial loyalties, which are generally good and positive thing, can manifest as “negative loyalties” to other provinces.

On the first point. Personally I would be against giving a player an ultimatum that they “have to move or they will never be considered for Ireland duty”. However there is a fine line between this and “you would improve your chances of playing for Ireland with game-time at another province”. Let’s face it, if they go to England or France they will be far less likely to feature for Ireland.

This leads into the second point. Some players would rather stay in their home province and wait in line for game time, rather than move to a province with a need in their position. We can not criticise a player for this as it is what stops our top players like Heaslip and O’Brien from taking top dollar from the likes of Toulon and leaving Irish rugby altogether.

That is one thing but an unwillingness to move to another province because of a perception that you have of that province is another thing altogether. Jerry Flannery for example has said in interviews that he would “never have gone to Leinster” while he was obviously happy to go to Connacht. Sean Cronin has done very well out of coming to Leinster and he would have at one stage felt similar to Jerry.

This serves to illustrate that perhaps other provinces are not the same as a players perception of them might be whether positive or negative, and that “loan deals” might be the way to shatter those perceptions.

The solution……

The recent “loan deal” from Leinster to Connacht of two very promising players, Scrum half John Cooney, for the whole of next season, and Lock Quinn Roux, until the end of the year with a possibility of an extension, may just point the way to a new dawn in this regard.

Mentally, for the players, they have not “signed” for Connacht so they have an opportunity to sample the delights of Galway without committing themselves. Obviously they will have to commit themselves on a week in week out basis from a playing perspective but not permanently.

For Leinster, their players will get crucial gametime while they still retain control of them. Roux for example could well return in January 2015 depending on our situation with injury and international call ups. For Connacht they get 2 very promising players with very few strings.

Win. Win. Win you would think…..

Some provincial fans would resent this system though and say. “Why should we develop players who will end up in another province”

Such people should really decide whether they are Irish Rugby fans or Provincial Rugby fans. Even if they decide that they support Province over Country, they would do well to remember that Irish Rugby is structured from the top down and not like England and France where the Clubs are completelyseparate entities.

Some of them would be the very people to cite the advantages of having unions in control of the game rather that private clubs. Sure there are downsides, like having to rest international players on demand, having less control over signings etc.etc. But the upsides outweigh the downsides I would have thought.

Currently Leinster seem to be churning out a lot of Tight head props. We have Martin Moore and Tadhg Furlong who look like they could play for both Leinster and Ireland for many years and behind them now are Terenure’s Craig Trenier, Blackrock’s Jeremy Loughman and Roscrea’s Oisin Heffernan.

None of these are in the Leinster academy yet, but there are rumours of the first 2 heading north to Ulster.

Is this a bad thing? Surely it is better to keep them in the overall IRFU system than ship them off to a French D2 side, Rotherham or even London Irish? They can always return to Leinster should the opportunity arise, and they would not be “lost to Irish Rugby” in the way that a talent like Niall Morris might be.

When all 4 provinces have players falling out of trees in every position there will be time enough to export some……

So, in summary, perhaps the inclusion of a “foreigner” as the performance director of Irish Rugby (rather than David Humphreys for example) may facilitate these moves with a lack of “perceived” provincial bias, perhaps some new ideas and the “neutrality” to broker possible deals.

John Grainger

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Blues Talk TV – Episode 150   Leave a comment

In the final episode of the season, the Blues Talk team take a look back at Leinster’s victory over Glasgow Warriors in the Rabodirect Pro12 Final. We discuss the performances over the season both from the team and ask who has impressed the most.