Ireland shouldn’t overreact to World Cup woe, says Conor O’Shea
A shock defeat to Japan followed by a drubbing at the hands of New Zealand wasn’t precisely Ireland had envisaged the World Cup would play out.
The fallout has sparked debate, when the IRFU should review the strategy and setup together with many questioning.
However, Harlequins head coach Conor O’Shea and former Italy called for calm.
“Can you respond due to this World Cup? Then overreact and tear everything up?” He questioned. “I feel that could be pretty ridiculous.”
The players rule’s issue has also been brought up, together with some predicting for stars plying their trade outside of the four provinces to be qualified for selection.
“Just because South Africa did leading into the World Cup doesn’t mean most of us need to suddenly change,” countered O’Shea.
“The strength of Irish rugby over the last number of years has been the provinces. If we had all the players away, but would we be in a position of power?
“You can’t be half-pregnant. If one goes, 20 may go and then the feel-good as well as states and the sponsors so I think that it’s too simple to say let’s proceed. Might there? Because there might be. Johnny [Sexton] failed it in the past. Simon Zebo might come he might have appreciated his experience away and back, you never know but when somebody goes you have Mike Haley who started the season well and has come in.
“I believe Ireland have got themselves into a really powerful position by having this system”
You don’t need to look far to get a Tier One state who stuck to their guns atop criticism, and finally reaped the benefits.
“What South Africa have done is excellent for South Africa,” noted O’Shea. “They’ve always been this huge team that can say’I will look you in the eye and I’ll run over you’.
“That’s the Southern African DNA, and they sent it and they also won. They didn’t automatically, no one was saying that once they lost in the first match to New Zealand.
“They have beaten, and they got slammed into their media to be one-dimensional.
“But they didn’t overreact. They said, if we lose, we will lose our strategy’. Which is amazing by Rassie [Erasmus].”
Overall, the prior Ireland winger believes the outlook is positive because of his country.
“You look at the provinces every week. . .they are currently still winning, by and large, each weekend. So that goes into [international ] camp. They Understand How to win, they have got a background of trophies,” he said,
“You look at Leinster and the young guys. People such as Ronan Kelleher, consider what he has done from the onset of the season, so that’s players putting their hands up and putting pressure on. Jack [Conan] has a bad accident and has been playing brilliantly at number eight and Max Deegan goes .
“You look at the age of James Ryan. It is like something, you move on. Jacob Stockdale’s try-saving handle in that game against Bath. Joey Carbery put pressure and will come back. There’s a whole good deal of good players.
“Johnny Cooney missed out to the World Cup and is playing brilliantly. When you have that depth of contest and look at the Irish states when compared with the Welsh provinces at the minute. Scotland are reliant on a couple of players – you seem at Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg.
“Ireland are in good form. I understand you have to dissect everything and analyse it but sometimes you are able to over-analyse things. You say, the World Cup didn’t move the way they desired. They won’t get another prospect for four years to right that all they could do is look at the next match that’s in front of them and win those next games.”
The rebuilding project falls at the foot of Andy Farrell, who succeeds the outgoing Joe Schmidt.
“It will be a fun next couple of years to watch the way the Irish group evolves,” mused O’Shea.
“Eddie Jones failed it where he attracted through some of those young men but he still had a path for the [Chris] Robshaws and [Mike] Browns in the start so there might be some Irish players that do not create the next World Cup but they’re very important to winning now.
“And it’s [then] if the new men come in, as it is not just about chucking a load of young guys in.”