IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne had to smile when asked if the timing of the advertisement for a scrum coach was unfortunate.
“We were already committed to the date, I’m afraid,” he said, after Ireland had been pulverised up front by a rampant English pack on Saturday at Twickenham. Ireland have been overly reliant on two men; Mike Ross and before him; John Hayes; and the lack of depth in that position was cruelly exposed at Twickenham.
“Appointing a national scrummaging coach is arguably something that we should have done before this,” Browne admitted at the launch of the announcement of the union’s involvement – along with the GAA, IHA and FAI – in the National Sports Campus at Abbotstown.
Brown also acknowledged the importance of scouting Irish-eligible players who are based abroad: ”We’re always looking at Irish-qualified players who are abroad, we have a network in countries. Britain is the first place to start, given the number of Irish people there, but as well as that we are looking in South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina,” said the 51 year old.
Speaking of Ireland’s recent performances and the disappointment surrounding them; Ireland Head Coach Declan Kidney pointed out:
“Sport is cyclical. Our performances in international rugby have always been cyclical as well,” he said. He also admitted that results have regressed since the 2009 Grand Slam but that playing personnel had changed considerably and implied that maintaining the same level of results and performance year in, year out was an onerous task considering the regular overhaul of playing personnel.