Monday, November 16, 2015

Leinster rugby is becoming an emotional roller coaster

This is Keego on Leinster, random thoughts on the season so far.

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I’ll be honest here, I didn’t watch the match. BT is too expensive and all of the streams I found had some sort of connection to adult educational nude websites, so I couldn’t risk compromising my internet history file any further.

But I did see the stats for the game. This will be more of a general state of the province type of post.

Firstly, I was delighted to see the end of last season. It was so hard to watch that it affected my ability to enjoy RDS Guinness. Matt O’Connor is a good coach, but he is not a Leinster coach. That is the short story. The long story needs a longer blog and I am just too fragile emotionally to go into it now.

During the summer, talk of Cotter came and went along with a few others. Then Leo Cullen was given the role on an interim basis. When any and all other managerial targets where missed he was offered the role permanently. That was the first alarm bell for me. When Leinster have trouble attracting the top line managers then it is a symptom of an issue. When a 3 time Heineken Cup champion’s team has trouble finding a manager then there is a problem.

Leo Cullen was a great captain, part of some of the greatest nights in Leinster history. A pillar of the club who’s efforts will live forever in Leinster history. He believed in the jersey and put himself on the line every time he put it on.

That is exactly the kind of coach I want for the team.

But not yet.

Switching tack a bit here, but Facebook won’t offer me the job of MD. That is because I do not have the experience, know how or ability to manage that company. If I go and prove myself in industry and put the years in at the top level then I will be in the shop window for the job.

Now I am not saying that I will someday be managing Facebook, but you get my point.

Leo Cullen was and is not the best candidate for the Leinster coach job. I know it is early in the season to be calling his appointment into question but it is what it is.

Would Manchester United put the manager of Bray Wanderers in charge? No they wouldn’t.

I want Leo to be the Champions Cup winning coach this year, but looking at the stats from today it looks like it will be difficult to finish in the top half of our pool.  The views from the grandstand and the north stand was that Leinster had no fight in them. Wasps where solid, did the simple things right managed the game very well but where not spectacular. Whereas Leinster where rudderless without direction or a game plan.

The showing on the pitch against Wasps shows inexperience. His post-match interview with Craig Doyle shows it too. I know there will be Leinster fans making excuses, but at this level there are no excuses. That was bleak yesterday.

This is not Leo Cullen’s fault. I think the idea was to have him as a forwards coach for a few years then promote him. He needed more time in that role, looking at last year’s performances. With experience comes confidence and performance. The players need to look at themselves too. There were 13 internationals on the pitch v Wasps, none of whom performed.

I am not for one second saying I could do their job. But when people pay a lot of money for season tickets etc., it is up to them as professionals to make tackles.

Finally, it appears that Ireland as a whole has taken aggression out of the game nearly completely. I understand that you can’t walk on to pitch angry, but rugby is a game of controlled assault. You can’t go into that without a certain amount of aggression. Are all the free cars turning the players into Manchester United?

The reaction to this match will make the season. Can Leinster hit the reset button, get the mind-set right, get the game plan right and most importantly execute it?

I very much hope so, it’s the belief part I don’t totally have.

As usual @nkeegan is where to find me.

Keego (@nkeegan): Blogger, professional wrestler, sometime attempted rugby player (@TheThirsty3rds), professional procrastinator and attempted musician with a fondness for long walks on the bar, tea and the couch. Opinionated Leinster fan and constant gardener.


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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019