Advertisement
If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

Does the IRFU player management scheme go too far? (the rest programme for IRL intls)

  • 27-08-2012 12:22pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 45,433 ✭✭✭✭ thomond2006


    http://whiffofcordite.com/2012/08/27/the-well-fair-program/

    Really good article on this, personally I find the fact that the Connacht tourists are being held back from the Rabo start of the season completely over the top and ridiculous. Should players that played little part in the tests be tired? Granted, I know nothing about strength and conditioning of players so hopefully someone can enlighten us!

    The fact that Ireland treats the Rabo as a B-league is a stick that the English and French clubs are currently beating us vis-a-vis changes to the Heineken Cup.

    4 years ago, I went to a London Irish vs Munster pre-season fixture, a week before the start of the then Magners League, the very same context as the game last weekend. All of the internationals were available and played some part.

    Munster:
    D Howlett (P Warwick 77 min); A Horgan (B Murphy 22 min), K Earls, L Mafi (I Dowling 52 min); P Warwick (R O'Gara ht), T O'Leary (P Stringer ht);
    F Pucciariello (M Horan ht), F Sheahan (J Flannery ht), T Buckley (J Hayes ht); M O'Driscoll (capt) (P O'Connell ht), D Ryan B Holland 72 min); B Holland (D O'Callaghan ht), N Ronan (D Wallace ht), J O'Sullivan (J Melck 65 min).

    Subsequently in the opening block of the Magners there was some rotation of players but all were available for the opening round. This year, no current internationals were available and won't be for the first few rounds of the Rabo.

    The only thing that is different from 2008 and 2012 is that Ireland played one extra test in the previous summer (1 vs Oz, 1 vs NZ in 2008; 3 vs NZ in 2012).

    So, does the player scheme go too far in your view?

    Player Management from IRFU: does it go too far? 28 votes

    Yes
    0% 0 votes
    No
    64% 18 votes
    No opinion
    35% 10 votes


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,234 totallegend



    So, does the player scheme go too far in your view?

    Very much so. Excellent article from Whiff of Cordite, the notion that the Connacht lads, but also Marshall, Cronin, Sherry and Cave need extra rest after their 'exertions' in New Zealand is ridiculous.

    [Suggestion to Thomond2006; maybe modify the thread title so as to specify that "player management" is different from "player succession", because the debate on limiting foreigners will drag this thread down very quickly]

    There was a article in yesterday's Sunday Times by Peter O'Reilly along the same lines, i.e. that Kidney would be looking for more contact with his internationals, such as monthly camps even when there are no games scheduled. It's going way over the top, IMO.

    O'Reilly said that chasing a domestic double (as Leinster have done the last two years) and winning a Grand Slam are mutually exclusive and I would well believe that Kidney is of the same opinion. That completely ignores the fact that:
    a) Munster were not that far off the double when Ireland did win the GS in 09
    b) The knockout stages of the HC and Rabo take place AFTER the Six Nations.
    so skewed logic there, but then that's par for the course when it comes to the IRFU.

    I think there's a lot of danger attached to making everything and everyone subservient to the primacy of the national team; while that should be the objective, I think the IRFU are going about in a very, very poor fashion. I would suggest they get their own house in order first; it's now 5 months since the Twickenham meltdown and we still have no scrum coach.


  • Registered Users Posts: 388 ✭✭ TheKeenMachine


    I normally would agree with the IRFU here as the player management scheme certainly hasn't harmed our provinces. However, that Loughney, Wilkinson, Duffy, Marshall and McCarthy are to be restricted is a bit stupid when all they did in NZ is held tackle bags.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,927 Mod ✭✭✭✭ CatFromHue


    I suppose it could also have to do with having a proper pre season. Connacht began their pre season on 25 June (7 weeks after their last game), Ulster's began on 26 June (5 weeks after their last game), and Munster's was on the 27 June (I think and it was 6 weeks after their last game). I'm not exactly sure when Leinster's began. So that works out to be about 9 weeks for the provinces.

    Then there is also the players getting a holiday. Even though they mightn't have had much game time they were still on tour in a rugby environment and training/watching what they eat etc.

    Edit: I don't like the IRFU pulling players from games during the season. This causes me the most problems.

    On a separate note there does seem to be a problem with recruitment in the IRFU. Apart from the backs coach issue, there is the fitness and conditioning issue highlighted above and I read on Sunday that Massimo Cuttitta who had been lined up for a scrum role might/is withdrawing his application for the position. Something to do with the role being ill defined.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,943 ✭✭✭ jm08


    It was an extra long season for internationals this year and there was an extra test match to what there was 4 years ago (last match of tour was 21st June). More than likely the IRUPA insist that their members have a month off every summer so that their bodies can recover. Brad Thorn was critical at the length of the season Irish players had (rather than the intensity of the season).

    Are you sure the Connacht players maybe just are not as far along in their pre-season conditioning and are being held back by the Connacht Strength & Conditioning staff?


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    Of course the Connacht lads should be rested. You need a clean slate of around 5 weeks per year, you cannot achieve that while you are touring in New Zealand.

    I think it goes too far in other areas though, yes, but anyone who misses their summer break needs to make up for it afterwards or else you start to see more injuries and (possibly even worse) player burnout. The players really appreciate that aspect of it. I don't think they're so keen on other stuff involved.


  • Advertisement
  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,234 totallegend


    jm08 wrote: »
    It was an extra long season for internationals this year and there was an extra test match to what there was 4 years ago (last match of tour was 21st June). More than likely the IRUPA insist that their members have a month off every summer so that their bodies can recover. Brad Thorn was critical at the length of the season Irish players had (rather than the intensity of the season).

    Sigh. Source?

    Clarification; source that it's IRUPA insisting on this, not on the 'month off' aspect


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    Sigh. Source?

    It's 5 weeks. And they suggest that as large a portion of that should be without any training at all, including running etc.

    It's not the IRUPA though who insist upon it as far as I know, its mandated by IRFU staff. Although I wouldn't be surprised.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,285 ✭✭✭✭ Podge_irl


    The connacht players aren't playing as they need a proper pre-season. While hey didn't play in NZ they were still on tour and needed a break afterwards son would have started pre-season later then everyone else.

    My issues with other aspects of the player management scheme are many and varied though. Players being withdrawn over the prime Christmas period with inter pros on was farcical.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,943 ✭✭✭ jm08


    Sigh. Source?

    Check out irupa.ie - it announces itself as

    "IRUPA - Protecting Player Welfare"


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,234 totallegend


    jm08 wrote: »
    Check out irupa.ie - it announces itself as

    "IRUPA - Protecting Player Welfare"

    That is just jaw-dropping. I'm in shock that you apparently think you've backed up your point.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 9,943 ✭✭✭ jm08


    Podge_irl wrote: »
    The connacht players aren't playing as they need a proper pre-season. While hey didn't play in NZ they were still on tour and needed a break afterwards son would have started pre-season later then everyone else.

    My issues with other aspects of the player management scheme are many and varied though. Players being withdrawn over the prime Christmas period with inter pros on was farcical.

    I don't have the Sunday Times to hand, but Peter O'Reilly described the access that Gatland had to the Welsh players. He mentioned Simon Easterby having to deal with Gatland having access to Scarlets players in prep for the 6Ns, two days before a Heineken Cup group game in January.

    Perhaps totallegend might fill us in on the details of what he said.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,513 ✭✭✭✭ thebaz


    organising 3 tests against the All Blacks at the end of a World cup year was hardly looking after the players best intetersts - crazy planning - what did the 3rd test do to players confidence ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 869 smurphy29


    Podge_irl wrote: »
    The connacht players aren't playing as they need a proper pre-season. While hey didn't play in NZ they were still on tour and needed a break afterwards son would have started pre-season later then everyone else.

    My issues with other aspects of the player management scheme are many and varied though. Players being withdrawn over the prime Christmas period with inter pros on was farcical.
    Fair point about preseason. I do wonder, though, how intensive training was in New Zealand. I know I'm speculating here, but it's the end of a season, the players are battle hardened, I doubt there were too many full contact sessions. I'd guess the Connacht players were largely on tackle bag duty and little else. I think this emphasises the need for some flexibility in the rules.

    The Christmas period was, as you say, a farce. The sad thing about it is the interpro rivalries don't get to develop. When Ulster bumped into Leinster and Munster in the Heiny, the big surprise was how little the players had played each other. Ulster v Munster and Ulster v Leinster should be great rivalries, but Leinster v Munster gets to hog all the oxygen. Kudos, at least, to the Pro12 for changing the pre-HEC QF round of games to Ulster v Leinster this season.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 21,206 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Eoin


    Even if they were just wearing blazers and holding tackle bags in NZ, it still must be a bit draining.
    The fact that Ireland treats the Rabo as a B-league is a stick that the English and French clubs are currently beating us vis-a-vis changes to the Heineken Cup.

    A bit off topic, but how well do Irish teams have to do in the Rabo before they drop this argument? According to Wikipedia, there has been an Irish finalist every year but one, and usually at least 2 Irish teams in the top 4.

    We may not play our best teams every week, but it's not at the expense of a chance at the league title. Going by the league tables from the last few years, it's not hard to imagine that all provinces apart from Connacht would qualify, and still be able to rest the top players.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,943 ✭✭✭ jm08


    thebaz wrote: »
    organising 3 tests against the All Blacks at the end of a World cup year was hardly looking after the players best intetersts - crazy planning - what did the 3rd test do to players confidence ?

    IRB decides the fixtures - Ireland drew the short straw.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,943 ✭✭✭ jm08


    smurphy29 wrote: »
    Fair point about preseason. I do wonder, though, how intensive training was in New Zealand. I know I'm speculating here, but it's the end of a season, the players are battle hardened, I doubt there were too many full contact sessions. I'd guess the Connacht players were largely on tackle bag duty and little else. I think this emphasises the need for some flexibility in the rules.

    Seems to be plenty of flexibility - Declan Fitzpatrick who started a test but had little game time with Ulster last season as he was injured, started 2 pre-season friendlies for Ulster.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,234 totallegend


    Eoin wrote: »
    A bit off topic, but how well do Irish teams have to do in the Rabo before they drop this argument? According to Wikipedia, there has been an Irish finalist every year but one, and usually at least 2 Irish teams in the top 4.

    I think the point is that the Irish teams can treat it as a B-league and still cruise through it which highlights how poor the league is, yet 10 of 12 Rabo teams are guaranteed HEC qualification every year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 869 smurphy29


    Point taken on Fitzpatrick jm, but not sure it counts as 'plenty of flexibility'. He played very little last year and he's the one player the IRFU are desperate to get as much game time as possible, because they need him as back up to Mike Ross and he has a high quality NIE player ahed of him in the pecking order at Ulster. Judging by Peter O'Reilly's column yesterday, they'll be placing demands on Ulster to give him significant match time this year - they're not doing it for Ulster's benefit, that's for sure.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 21,206 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Eoin


    I think the point is that the Irish teams can treat it as a B-league and still cruise through it which highlights how poor the league is, yet 10 of 12 Rabo teams are guaranteed HEC qualification every year.

    Yeah, I got that - but they're looking for only the top 6 teams to qualify, which I think could still happen for 3/4 Irish teams and still be able to rest players regularly. Maybe their issue isn't specifically with the Irish teams, as they know they'd probably be there on merit regardless.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,943 ✭✭✭ jm08


    smurphy29 wrote: »
    Point taken on Fitzpatrick jm, but not sure it counts as 'plenty of flexibility'. He played very little last year and he's the one player the IRFU are desperate to get as much game time as possible, because they need him as back up to Mike Ross and he has a high quality NIE player ahed of him in the pecking order at Ulster. Judging by Peter O'Reilly's column yesterday, they'll be placing demands on Ulster to give him significant match time this year - they're not doing it for Ulster's benefit, that's for sure.

    From what I've read, Fitzpatrick had a ball on the NZ tour and wants more of it and hence he didn't let himself go in his downtown during the summer. This will be to Ulster & Ireland's benefit.

    I don't think Ireland has ever made a call on selections for HC games (otherwise we'd have had Toner as a starter in the HC final, and not Brad Thorn). Even for the final this year, Fitzpatrick was dropped for Afoa even though Afoa had been suspended for the semi.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 869 smurphy29


    jm08 wrote: »
    From what I've read, Fitzpatrick had a ball on the NZ tour and wants more of it and hence he didn't let himself go in his downtown during the summer. This will be to Ulster & Ireland's benefit.

    I don't think Ireland has ever made a call on selections for HC games (otherwise we'd have had Toner as a starter in the HC final, and not Brad Thorn). Even for the final this year, Fitzpatrick was dropped for Afoa even though Afoa had been suspended for the semi.
    I'm not sure what any of this has to do with what I''d written in the previous post.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,456 Cpt_Blackbeard


    There are plenty of problems with the current system, but delaying the inclusion of international players into their provincial side makes 100% sense. Whether they play or not, the players need a rest after the NZ tour. It just so happens that this rest means that internationals start their season later and miss the first few rounds of the Rabo.

    If you were to go down the route of not delaying the players introduction into their provincial sides, you could hypothetically have players who will be training/playing without a rest for years at a time. Irish internationals went (pretty much) straight from the 10/11 season into preparations for the RWC. After the RWC was finished, these players got a deserved rest. Had this not occured, they would have played through the 11/12 season and gone straight on tour to NZ. They could then be back immediately for the coming season and then be gone away on the Lions tour at its end.

    There is a reason why Irish internationals are capable of playing at the top levels into their mid 30s, while their SH counterparts are usually burnt-out by 30. The careers of Irish internationals are heavily moderated. The central contracting system may be messed up, but our player welfare system is the envy of our 6N rivals.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,285 ✭✭✭✭ Podge_irl


    I'm not so sure SH players are burned out by their early 30s. They just move up north for the money which in turn frees up space for up and coming players. It works for everyone down there. They play less high level rugby then teams up north though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    I don't think it prevents injuries all that much. If it did then how do you explain the crisis Munster went through last season?

    I think it's very important for the players to have time off though.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,193 ✭✭✭ [Jackass]


    It does and it doesn't in my opinion.

    The IRFU are very good at looking after player welfare when they're spending time at their province, restricting how much they can play etc., and also the unused players being rested, I don't have a major issue with that though to be honest. All though I would like players to be available all the time, I understand the caution taken.

    That is, however, until international rugby rolls around, and then I think not only do they not take it far enough, but they're border line reckless.

    The IRFU treat a 3 test tour as a more important part of a players career than perhaps the following entire season, or even the longevity of his career.

    The news about Sean O'Brien perhaps being out for the season is one thing, and he was known to need an operation prior to the tour, but the likes of Paul O'Connell and especially Brian O'Driscoll have been flogged to death for Ireland, with little concern for their club career and sometimes bordering on contempt for their club career, only really accounting for how long until the next Irish test and will they recover.

    Leamy, Flannery and a whole host of other internationals fell on being flogged also.

    I think the IRFU are at this point SO intimidated by provincial rugby that (the cynic in me suggests) they are almost sabotaging the provincial game to protect the interest in international rugby, which has largely lost the sense of absolute importance over provincial rugby over the last number of years, according to their last survey, only slightly being more important to fans than provincial rugby overall, but with a large respondent putting provincial rugby well ahead of international rugby. This followed by a raft of changes to foreign players rules, meaning that fine, if the provinces want to do well, then it'll have to be with Irish players, pretty much only, which will definitely hamper their competetiveness, and then the Irish team should in theory always outshine the provincial teams. Very very negative attitude. Essentially curtailing the improvements and top tier performances of the provincial team, because they were failing to translate it to the national team, and instead of blaming their own ineptness and their conservative boys club with Eddie the lap dog followed by Deccie the yes man, they go after what is working in Irish rugby to real it back in, rather than going after what's failing and broadening their approach to it (international rugby). Too much politics and agendas in the IRFU for the national team to ever realise its potential.

    So in response to the thread, I don't think they go way over the top with protecting players when they don't need them, as they don't mind (and perhaps want) to deprive the provinces, whilst also happy to send players out in green with a limb hanging off them and to hell with the provinces, so many players need that protection from the IRFU with time off imo. But certainly some players are held back needlessly, for reasons already alluded to.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,976 profitius


    The players need time off. I think they should have longer summer holidays. The Connacht players in question especially need the time off. Connacht went through their losing patch last season because the players were knackred. Thy'll be fresher this season andso will be able to perform better.
    I think the point is that the Irish teams can treat it as a B-league and still cruise through it which highlights how poor the league is, yet 10 of 12 Rabo teams are guaranteed HEC qualification every year.

    The teams who usually do best in the league (Leinster, Munster, Ospreys) have the biggest squads. Thats something the league knockers tend to overlook.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,234 totallegend


    Just for context; the Welsh regions have to release their players 13 days before any Wales international. Since Wales have four Autumn matches this year, the regions will lose their internationals on 28th October and get them back on 3rd December.

    Simon Easterby pointed out in the Sunday Times this weekend that this means the Blues, Scarlets and Ospreys will be without their key players for five weeks and then have 6 days with them to prepare for round 3 of the HC. That's not sustainable; prioritising the national team is all well and good but the Welsh set-up is not a template Ireland should be following; the Welsh regions haven't helped themselves at times but the WRU is choking them to death.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 771 seanmacc


    Its good for the fringe players and young players who get some good game time in who otherwise wouldn't and in turn should benefit the Irish International squad.

    The English and French are only on a whinge fest because they don't take the Heineken Cup as seriously as they do their own domestic league. The problem being that the English and French leagues have more prize money in it and they will focus their rescourses on winning their respective leagues. The Heineken Cup needs to provide a similar incentive to win as the UEFA Champions league. Then the English and French teams may invest more in their squads and deploy a squad rotation system like the Irish provinces.

    Sadly without the English and French temas there is no Heineken Cup so the Rabo teams may have to pander to some of their demands.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,174 ✭✭✭ troyzer


    This thread has not aged well....


  • Advertisement
Advertisement