Wednesday January 22, 2020

No easy solution to Irish rugby’s World Cup woes

After last weekend’s humiliation against the All Blacks, Ireland’s Rugby World Cup knockout record sits at a wretched zero wins from eight games. It’s back to the drawing board for the IRFU, but where do they go from here?

27th October, 2019
Joe Schmidt (second left) with his brains trust of David Nucifora, Greg Feek, Andy Farrell and Richie Murphy: once again, a place in the last four was beyond Ireland’s capabilities Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

It begins as a story of glossy brochures, brightly lit conference rooms and power point presentations, with a man in an IRFU blazer standing at a lectern, delivering a seemingly realistic message. “Ireland’s principal aim is to reach a World Cup semi-final,” were the words said. The date was May 26, 2004, the day the IRFU launched its first strategic plan.

Three more of these plans have followed and while the shiny catalogues...

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