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Posts Tagged ‘ Michael Bent ’

Rabo Direct Pro 12: The Leinster-Munster Juggernaut Returns

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Ah its back again. Post-Six Nations hangovers are worse when you’re successful, no doubt about that. There’s little to win in the muddling Rabo games that arise between the end of the Six Nations and the Heineken Cup resumption. But then along comes the colossus, the manly Munstermen versus the Leinster ladyboys, a fixture that defies all logic and at times elevates above European standard. Ah yes, it’s good to be back.
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Ireland Squad In Dissaray? Not Quite

Bent: All Black Turned Boy In Green

First of all let me apologise for the lack of rugby coverage here last week, we’re currently in the process of changing a few things around in our rugby coverage all in the name of bringing our readers the most comprehensive pieces we can. Bear with us, we’ll get there! The last week or two has brought all kinds of doom and gloom regarding the Irish camp with it, the news of Brian O’Driscoll and Rory Best being ruled out for the remainder of the year along with the permanent doubt over Paul O’Connell and now the loss of Stephen Ferris has rugby fans in Ireland reeling in despair over our fortunes this November.

Well first and foremost the irony cannot be ignored in that two months ago, still in shock after the hammering we took from New Zealand, most Irish rugby fans nearly wished this series wouldn’t happen. Yet now that some key players have been lost, it has become the series we had a chance with but now all hope is gone. Let’s be realistic here, no amount of foreign players (which we’ll get to in a minute) or trips to Knock or divine interventions of any form could have fixed it all in time for South Africa. The best we could and still can hope for this series is that it would be used for its proper purpose which is to blood new players. With key positions now in jeopardy this becomes a reality, and we’re all the better for it. Look nobody would ever wish injury on a professional sportsperson, but much like the national football team it does seem to be the only way for any young talent to make their way into the squad. With these pillars of the team gone we find the backs fleshed out with the likes of Paul Marshall, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson and Tiernan O’Halloran amongst others. In the pack we have the inclusion of Sean Cronin (admittedly a puzzling exclusion to begin with), Declan Fitzpatrick and Michael Bent. It’s safe to say that none of these players would have had a chance were it not for the injured bunch. At least there is a chance now to see some fresh faces.

As for our chances, well they really never were that bad. I’ve been chief among the gang lending my voice to the argument that Ireland would have a torrid November but as the Springbok injuries have mounted, notably super winger Bryan Habana who always manages to twist the knife in big games, plus the all important fatigue which showed so clearly in our last test in NZ, the chance remains much the same. The added incentive of world rankings is always a boost too let’s not forget. Empty seats however coud prove to be a serious factor against the performance of the teams versus South Africa and Argentina as a loss like the last game tends to very negatively affect the national support somewhat. Remember the Aviva ghost town in November 2010? But still, there is a chance, albeit one of the slimmest Ireland have had against a Southern Hemisphere team in many years. Finally back onto the hugely topical non-Irish player debate. There has been much debate over the inclusion of Michael Bent straight off the plane from NZ and into the Irish squad, especially given that he wasn’t included into the Leinster side that underwhelmed on Sunday against Ospreys. That someone can fly over to the country and without any sort of screening or proving ground enter the Irish team doesn’t sit well with most, particularly Keith Wood who engaged in a fantastic debate on the topic with Gerry Thornley on Newstalk last Wednesday. As for my own thoughts on the topic I can do no more than sit on the fence between both pundits. Wood made the point that Bents inclusion “doesn’t sit well with him” and I would have to agree with him, but this doesn’t extend to all non Irish players. I mean there was a time Ireland couldn’t get anywhere without non Irish players. Simon Gaeghan, Kevin Maggs, Isaac Boss amongst others. Also of we must get pedantic, Ronan O’Gara and Jamie Heaslip were both born out of the country. No the problem with Bent is the fashion in which he has been included, seemingly bypassing the months of performance required from others in the squad, even though he has been a star performer for his former team Taranaki. Thornley on the other hand argues that the rules are the rules, and whether they are right or not they are what they are at the minute. What this means is that Declan Kidney has X amount of players to pick from, and if the best man for the job happens to be foreign, so be it. The same too of course applies to Richardt Strauss though his three years hard graft for Leinster seems to have him exempt from begrudgery. Realistically we have to acknowledge that the professional era of rugby is an environment driven by money and it all contributes to the development of the sport on the country. Money though can only be made through results. For this reason and due to some serious oversight from the IRFU in the last ten years, we will have a front row that is only a third Irish and we will have to deal with it, simple as.

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