For those that may not know ; 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 Did you see BOD when he scored that try against Argentina? I think maybe 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 and the options he was presented with 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 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 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 the All Blacks ; Argentina when they play Scotland ; Fiji when they play South Africa ; England when they play Australia.
Title was something one of the commentators said after we started so well and people began to think, hey, maybe, just maybe…