Unfortunately I can't find a clip of the reaction by "sacked Scotland coach" (as Matt Cooper's column in "de Paper" described him) Matt Williams on Setanta, describing Kissane as a "work experience girl" and not "showing respect". At least she has a decent job Mr. Williams. A good reporter asks reasonable questions the public would ask if they got the chance, and she did just that - and it's not like he hadn't time to consider the possibility.
The IRFU's decision to award a 4-year extension prior to the World Cup (a mistake the FAI made with Mick McCarthy, let's not forget) was shown up big time here - not least because of the warning signs during the pre-Cup camp. If they do sack him, Eddie leaves with a ton of cash but they shouldn't - I'm not sure there's a good replacement on deck yet. Perhaps looking the alternates in the eye will be punishment enough.
Tom English asks some very pertinent questions in his Limerick Leader column, like
- "Does he remember saying that his predecessor Warren Gatland had got distracted by contractual negotiations in his final days as Irish coach?",
- "Does he remember criticising Matt Williams for (his obsession with his first XV)"
- "Four years ago, after beating Argentina in the 2003 World Cup, he said that every international coach loses their nerve sooner or later. Through his reluctance to change his starting line-up when it was obvious many players were struggling and his apparent aversion to making early switches while games were underway is it not possible to interpret that as a loss of nerve?"
Keith Wood's column in the Torygraph had an interesting tale of the aftermath of another campaign sunk by the Argies - Lens, 1999. [Hat-tip Fear of God]
After that game in Lens, we stopped off in a pub in Roscrea, Tipperary, on the way back home to Limerick. It was almost as if the guilt of the loss was too much for us to travel any further. It was the middle of the afternoon and the few guys in the pub hushed as we entered. I knew that they had been talking about us and asked if there was anything they wanted to say.
One finally got up the courage to speak and when he started he couldn't stop. He couldn't contain his anger and, in many ways, forced us to face the heartache we had caused up and down the country. I apologised for our performance, for how we had let down ourselves and the country, and I didn't make any excuses. Their reaction to this absence of spin and honest admission of failure broke the ice and pints were immediately issued. It was a lesson learned about the impact we had on our supporters; facing up to them became the start of the recovery as it will have to be for this squad.
I'll finish here with an excerpt from Cooper's column linked above:
There remains considerable affection for the players among the rugby public, based on their past performances for Ireland and for their provinces when they showed they are better than they played in the World Cup. O’Sullivan would do well to remember that they remain much more popular than he does.
And that's all of them - not just Eddie's 15 Untouchables and the Ulster Token.