Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: UK West-Midlands
It's a cyclical thing imo, at the moment we're seeing a massive spin of the cycle as Munster head into a regenerative phase, and Ulster are on their way out of one, and Leinster are at the top of a wave.
Unfortunately our national squad has gone past the point of no return when you look at the game they play. It may have won England a World Cup, but the game has changed beyond belief since then. Munster, even without the problems of specific players missing, were also proponents of the game, and appeared to be trusting it, but it was taking them "down" with them. However, they have realised that it is not a game that will win Rugby, just "not lose by much" when you do get beaten.
The game's strategy is overwhelming at times. Defence coaches react to offence coaches who react to defence coaches who.....
Every so often, someone is going to "solve" the issue at hand, and by doing so create a whole lot of problems for some other coach. At the moment, in Leinster at least, there's a coaching ticket with a lot going right for them. At Munster, a new coaching ticket en route with fresh ideas, sure to scatter the pidgeons. At Ulster, the right gameplan, but not squad depth, their new coach will be trusted with pushing that game out to the nether parts of his squad.
At Ireland there is a coaching ticket enjoying having their arses kissed by the media for winning a medal in 2009, beating a vastly inferior "old enemy" at home in 2011, and "triumphing" in the southern hemisphere at RWC. But beyond that, they have been passed by by the game, and are 'crippling' players with their leash-like gameplans. Ask Conor Murray why he kicks so much for Ireland, ask Sexton the same question. Ask D'Arcy why he looks to hit crash balls and then hit the deck without looking for an offload. Ask POC why he's first receiver for any and every ruck or maul that takes place within 5m of the touchline. Ask Tuohy what the **** else he has to do to get into the squad. Ask Declan what in the name of **** is he up to, and has he any idea that the laws of the game changed 3 years ago!?
@OP, there's an upsurge because we're seeing a lot of rugby these days, because we're doing well in a lot of rugby these days. The marketing at Connacht and Leinster in particular have been doing themselves absolute credit in getting the game into places that weren't considered strongholds.
In the main though, I think that rugby is slowly growing internationally too, and as a result, we're certain to see an upsurge in numbers here too, mainly due to the above fact, that we're actually quite good at it!
Boxing was massive when McGuigan won medals, swimming saw huge numbers when Smith took golds etc..
It is cyclical, the most important thing is to try to keep the transients interested beyond when the initial buzz wears off. If you can do that, you grow the sport massively!
Last edited by emmet02; 24-05-2012 at 08:27.