It’s the hope that kills you

2 October 2007

For those that may not know[1] ; Ireland got knocked out of the RWC at the weekend. It wasn’t unexpected. After scraping the bonus point against Namibia, not getting one against Georgia, and losing to France, it would have required a miracle to get past the pool stages. We’d have needed to win by 7 or more points, score 4 tries, and make sure that Argentina didn’t score 4 tries. And, considering the poor performances that the team had been putting in it never seemed likely.

Course you still hope.
Cause what is the point if you don’t?

But in the end Argentina won, and won well, 30 to 15. Maybe that scoreline would have been closer had we not had to chase the four tries, maybe we would have won if all we’d needed was to beat them by a single point, but that is irrelevant. We lost. We came home.

And the post-mortems will continue for many months. Why did we perform so badly? What happened to the team that could run and pass and “had a chance”? Why did we struggle to get our game going?

Some have argued that the players didn’t want to win that much, that they are all paid so much money that they didn’t have the passion of earlier and perhaps less talented teams. Pschaw I says to that. Pschaw[2] Did you see BOD when he scored that try against Argentina? I think maybe[3] he would have liked to win.

He had a good game. As did Paul O’Connell, despite some missed lineouts. And Geordan Murphy had an okay game, considering the support runners he was getting[4] and the options he was presented with[5] and the whole performance of the team was considerably better than earlier in the tournament.

But we should have started the RWC like that, and progressed. Instead we dug ourselves a huge ginormous hole by starting sluggishly.

In a way the tournament was like an extended version of our recent games. We start poorly, realise that we are in deep shit and start to play. Trouble is we just didn’t have the time or confidence to get out of that hole. And so the 2007 RWC is over for Ireland. And for many of those players this is the last RWC they’ll get to go to. Over the hill now. And what a sad way for Denis Hickie to finish his career. And possibly many others.

The debate about whether we should blame the players more or whether management should take responsibility seems to have been ignored in the rush to shout that Eddie O’Sullivan must go. I’ve always been quite supportive of Steady Eddie, but I’m back-tracking now, not that I think he should be fired in some knee-jerk reaction[6] but for the IRFU to be describing this as some sort of blip? Are they insane?

Maybe it is just that they want to get O’Sullivan back, to pick his brains, behind closed doors and try and figure out what went wrong before coming out and saying what is what, I don’t know. Maybe they’re hoping to persuade him to “agree terms” and don’t want to force their hand yet? Who can tell.

But this isn’t something that can be solved with a quick fix. I’d’ve had no problem[7] with us going home had we played to our potential and still been defeated. But, *shrug* we didn’t. We seemed lacking in strategy. lacking in skills. Lacking in just about anything that a rugby team needs to play. And I haven’t even mentioned the whole substitution fiasco.

Of course the RWC isn’t over yet. There are still a whole heap of teams left in the competitions. And I’ve made my decisions and I shall be supporting: France when they play[8] the All Blacks ; Argentina when they play Scotland[9] ; Fiji when they play[10] South Africa ; England[11] when they play[12] Australia.

Title was something one of the commentators said after we started so well and people began to think, hey, maybe, just maybe…


  1. you heartless uncaring peoples
  2. remember, repetition provides emphasis
  3. understatement here, jic it doesn’t come across
  4. none
  5. very few
  6. Wales you know what Im talking about
  7. yeah, yeah, that is a lie. I would still be ever so slightly annoyed
  8. lose to
  9. Part of me will be cheering for Scotland, but there you go
  10. you have to support the underdog
  11. heresy, I know, but I do like to go against the popular view
  12. again I think they will lose

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. JL Pagano says:

    England when they play Australia?????????????? Surely not!!!!!!!

    Your point about BODs commitment is well made, but I must refer you to George Hook's assertion that although he is a world class player and gives 110% personally every time he wears the green jersey, he is not the best captain we have and tries to win the game all on his own hoping those around him will follow suit, and that is precisely what this team has been lacking, ie leadership.

    And I don't think it's just Irish rugby that needs a make over after this World Cup. European rugby has been made a fool of by the southern hemisphere over the past four weeks IMHO and needs to go back to the drawing board and look at the way it structures its season so that squads can spend more time together and that its domestic season makes a lot more sense. By this I mean why oh why oh why does the Six Nations come to an end when theres still three months of the season left to play? Talk about anti climax!!!

  2. Fence says:

    I know. But I have a soft spot for Martin Corry. Which is decidedly weird as I don't like him.

    As for the captaincy issue, who else could replace him? I'm not sure if there is a real captain in the squad. None have shown much leadership in the WC.

    The reason for the 6 Nations structure is down to tradition and the power of the clubs, especially the French and English clubs. They don't want to be missing players at the most important time of the year for them. Ideally the 6 Nations would be more like the footballing European championship; no club games going on. Rugby is still adapting to the professional era, and considering that many high up in the IRFU were opposed to professionalism in the first place it is hard to see where the change is going to come from.

  3. jean pierre says:

    shit fence. i'm really sorry ireland went out.

  4. Fence says:

    Don't worry JP, I'm support a lot of losing teams, I'm well used to it :)

  5. sportcrazy says:

    I'm afraid I must agree to disagree on the "knee-jerk" thing. I can't think of any good reason to keep Eddie on, and plenty for why we should sack him immediately.

    I actually agree with ALL of your decisions on who to support next round, even England. Although it's a bit like watching Cork-Kerry, I wasn't sure who I wanted to lose more, and I was really hoping for an unreconcilable draw ;)



  6. Fence says:

    Hey Al, I've replied over on your blog to most of this.

    As for watching Cork-Kerry, I'd go with Kerry, they have the Gooch after all :)

  1. 9 October 2007

    […] we left the RWC and headed home I has to switch and support some other countries. As mentioned, I did the almost unthinkable and cheered on England against Australia. And what a match! And that […]