Wednesday, August 29, 2007

IRFU Adopt Soviet Five Year Plan Strategy, Apparently

An Spailpín Fánach is utterly stunned at the announcement today that Eddie O’Sullivan has been appointed Ireland coach until 2012. 2012! And this before a ball is kicked in the World Cup!

The Union points out in the release that they did the same thing in 2003, giving Eddie a vote of confidence before the World Cup. But they do not point out that the reason for that was because it was still less than two years since they hung Warren Gatland out to dry. The IRFU had made their bed and they then had to lie in it.

But this is four years on, when people are gradually beginning to see the hype of the past year or eighteen months for what it was, and will be watching the World Cup with a much more critical eye than heretofore. So for the IRFU to batten down the hatches like this smacks of nothing so much as the deal that the FAI made with Mick McCarthy before the soccer World Cup in Japan. And we all know how well that worked out.

It’s tempting to wonder if this new contract includes a get-out clause should O’Sullivan be offered the Lions job in 2009 when they tour South Africa. O’Sullivan is the long-time front runner (clever Eddie having skilfully disassociated himself from the 2005 debacle by by leaving Sir Clive to swing slowly in the wind), and we have confirmation of this favoritism in O’Sullivan’s appointment as coach to the Barbarians in December (whose brand has no proved as lasting in the professional era as the Lions’, more’s the pity). Your correspondent will bet good money that get-out clause exists, but An Spailpín doesn’t think it will come to that – it’s hard not to get the sinking feeling that there won’t be too much Emerald Green in the Lions’ squad by the time 2009 comes around. How very depressing.

FOCAL SCOIR: Anybody know how Gatland got on since he got the bullet here for being no good? What’s that? Three English Rugby Premiership titles in a row with London Wasps, a Heineken Cup with Wasps as well and an inaugural Air New Zealand Cup with Waikato last year? Clearly a bum – we’re well shot of him.

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