- Dec 3, 2012
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Why do you say including South African teams in pro14 isn’t a long term solution?Last week I met up with some friends for a chinwag about the Leinster game and I was the only one that worried our medium rare grilling was going to be an issue.
In a way its not surprising how the game panned out. Opening period Leinster choked the life out of LAR like they do everyone else but when LAR turned it up a bit the boys looked a bit perplexed by it. This was not the Leinster of old that went to the well in '11 to overcome Northampton or the barnstorming juggernaut that has contested 10/12 of the last Celtic finals and won 4 in a row. They looked to have had their rudder shot out a bit.
Reason IMHO? They're varied...
1) The P14: Its a joke. Its so much of a joke that Leinster win games with a 3rd or 4th string. Its so much of a joke that many teams playing Leinster put out a 2nd string because there's no point risking the 1st fitness in a 6 try BP defeat. In the 6N people pointed out that the likes of Farrell and Itoje were undercooked due to a lack of top rugby and Leinster for me at the weekend were much the same.
The solution? Well there is no solution really. Bring in the SA 4 maybe? They could spice up the competition and add some challenge to the likes of Leinster and Munster who are cruising around the P14 but I dont think its a long term solution. Joining the GP or T14 would hardly be allowed by the IRFU because of the possible relegation jeopardy that exists and the risk of "ghettoising" one or more provinces.
Ultimately the P14 is an issue that will not be resolved easily as the gulf between the haves and have nots is widening and week to week competition is non existent.
2) Nationalisation of the laws: I watched the game with a few friends, some of who are relatively high level referees. One thing that came up throughout was the fact Referee Carley was giving LAR a lot of soft penalties and seemed to be a lot stricter on Leinster when it came to the breakdown. Of course he was not out to get Leinster but it highlights how the game and its interpretation now vary widely between unions. In the P14 if you go hands past the ball and back on to jackel you're told to leave it or penalised, but in the GP and T14 referees allow more leeway on this. LAR exploited this well as they were smart in how they targeted the ball at the breakdown. First man arriving to the breakdown for LAR in attack was engaging the first Leinster player but rolling off feet to seal. On Leinster attacking rucks the first LAR man in was doing the old matador routine and stepping away so the arriving Leinster player went off feet. Ringrose got done by one of those in a promising Leinster attack. In defence when there was a jackel on LAR defenders we going hands past the ball and waiting for the clean out to push them back on. Just after the LAR yellow there was a clear example of it that was penalised and I was unsure why a second yellow was not shown. It was subtle though and well coached and classic Gibbs. It took Leinsters platform away.
3) Player Welfare: If you only play a handful of meaningful games a year you learn nothing and are undercooked. Simple as that.
4) The IRFU benevolent Academy fund: Simply put if you develop a talent like Joey Carbury you should have the right to play him when Sexton is injured. It appears probably more so going forward that the fruits of the Leinster Academy will be cherry picked to feed the needy elsewhere. A player like Carbury would have been useful on Sunday and if rumours are to be believed the man himself may agree.
Why on Earth would ROG go near the Munster or Ireland job given where he is now? There's a lot of talk of him being the saviour of Munster rugby and yes he is the Messiah down there but given the issues at grassroots in Munster and the supply pipeline problems I can't see him going home any time soon.
also, do you know how New Zealand’s provincial competition (level below super rugby) works? You could implement something like that in pro 14, it has the best of a promotion relegation system without the same downsides. It wouldn’t solve the issue but it would help. The idea is you have two divisions but each team plays teams from both divisions, they just play more games against teams in their own division. Then there’s semifinals and a final in each division, with promotion and relegation for the next year.