Wednesday, 19 December 2007

IRFU Statement

I have today received the full text of the Irish Rugby Football Union statement of Monday 17th December 2007:

The Committee of the IRFU today received a presentation from dinosaur soft rock group Genesis on their key findings from their review of the Irish Rugby Team's performance at RWC 2007.

The objective of the process was to consider all aspects of the Rugby World Cup campaign so that steps can be taken to make sure we don’t do it all arseways again next time.

The findings confirm that Management, Players and the IRFU alike accept that individually and collectively we fecked the World Cup up.

This presentation identified that there was a complex mix of factors involved in why Ireland's Rugby World Cup 2007 campaign was totally banjanxed.

Firstly, it was found that the squad did not participate in a sufficient number of high intensity warm-up matches and thus lacked the level of match hardness required to take on the might of Namibia and Georgia.

Secondly, the report clearly found that personal issues or rifts did not exist or play any role in how shite the team played. Specifically:

  • It is not true that several members of the squad had to be removed at gunpoint from a taxi heading to the airport before the Georgia game nor that they claimed that they had to fly home to attend the funeral of Jerry Flannery's pet hamster and anyone who says otherwise is a feckin eejit;
  • Neither is it true that Peter Stringer was dropped from the team to face France after refusing to wear the leprechaun suit that Eddie O’Sullivan had bought him. The real reason he was dropped was that Eddie needed a scapegoat and Stringer was the smallest member of the squad;
  • Andrew Trimble was not a token Ulster selection and none of the other lads thought that. No way. Certainly not. Jaysus, no;
  • Isaac Boss was not left out of the starting line up for looking like an extra from a Mad Max movie;
  • Ronan O'Gara was not distracted nor upset by allegations of gambling debts or marital problems in the French press. Honestly, he wasn’t in tears – he just suffers from hay fever, so he does;
  • Nor were there any issues with Brian O'Driscoll's captaincy. To say that the Munster players were hostile to him simply isn't true. How could they be hostile to him when they didn't actually speak to any of the Leinster boys?

In response to the presentation the IRFU has agreed a number of key actions which include:

  • The appointment of someone with the first clue about rugby to the position of team manager. This in no way undermines the position of Eddie O’Sullivan who we all agree is a grand fella and who fully deserves the lucrative four year contract we gave him before the World Cup;
  • The appointment of a dedicated backs coach to teach the players how to pass the ball. Again this is no reflection on Eddie, fair play to him;
  • The retention of a professional to provide ongoing psychological support for the team and management. Bejaysus they need it; and
  • The development of more effective lines of communication between all those involved in the squad, the first step being a polite request to the Munster contingent that they talk to the Leinster players without the use of the words “feck” or “gobshite”.

We acknowledge that it will not be practicable to implement a number of these recommendations prior to the upcoming Six Nations Championship, and so fully expect Eddie and his team to nearly but not quite win it again.

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