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Thread: IRFU throw rattle from pram over criticism

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    IRFU throw rattle from pram over criticism

    The IRFU have hit a new low in their dealings with the media. I see they refused a registered journalist access to a press conference because he had the audacity to criticise Eddie O'Sullivans tactics and the under preformance of several players in the NZ game.

    A lot of this criticism was justified. Some of it (D'Arcy, Geordan Murphy) wasn't. The fact is in my opinion that they had no right to act like this, irrespective of the levels of criticism.

    I wonder if George Hook is barred from all Munster press conferences, because if this is the norm, then he certainly should be.

    Black day for rugby when the Gestapo approach to controlling the press is adopted.

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    Article

    It appeared in Mondays Indo.

    For those not registered with the Indo website:

    Harsh reality bites home as tourists throw victory away

    New Zealand 34 Ireland 23

    Hamilton

    THE message was wearily delivered but forthright nonetheless.

    Riled at Saturday's extension of a sorry 101-year winless streak against the All Blacks being heralded as the latest in a line of plucky endeavours, Ireland's genius, Brian O'Driscoll, desperately sought to sow the seeds for a stirring Eden Park revival.

    "We put together a 60 to 62-minute performance, but against the All Blacks that's not good enough, you've got to play for the full 80," said the inspiring centre, whose wonderful performance exorcised the demons which must have plagued him ahead of his return to New Zealand soil.

    His midfield partner, Gordon D'Arcy was hardly circumspect in his reaction to the crushing defeat.

    "We lost it," he says quietly, as an icy chill of harsh reality sweeps through the innards of the Waikato Stadium.

    So true. Ireland played for just under an hour, then conceded 19 points to slump from being two scores ahead (23-15) to a losing deficit which sided with the handicapper's view.

    The havoc the All Blacks caused when they finally hit their stride bears ominous portents. Consider the fact that this was an All Blacks side coming together for the first time since their November Grand Slam triumph and next week's task in Auckland, pretty much a home banker when you're wearing black, resembles a Herculean task.

    Buttressed by another week's camp, surely all the faultlines which emerged on Saturday cannot be retained for two successive matches.

    And, for their part, will Ireland be able to maintain the intensity of their approach, particularly defensively and at the breakdown, for a full 80 minutes, never mind 60?

    For all their apparently limited resources, the All Blacks still managed to make a stumble in this one with the dual openside experiment flopping badly, so much so that the normally circumspect Graham Henry openly admitted that the jury was still out on the ambitious experiment.

    A debut second-row, Greg Rawlinson, was utterly ineffective and in midfield, too, a huge responsibility was placed on Aaron Mauger's shoulders, as he nursed out-half Luke McAlister through a nervy start, all the while trying to keep an eye on the enigmatic Ma'a Nonu outside, liable to spill the pill in attack or leave the door open in defence. Yet, despite all these nagging inconsistencies, the All Blacks still managed to win this one pulling away.

    Or rather, to return to D'Arcy's pained view of things, they managed to thieve the win from under Ireland's noses.

    Individual criticisms are often invidious in circumstances such as this but Peter Stringer and Paul O'Connell won't need to be reminded of their late faux pas; O'Connell emphatically so, with the hurried pass, meant for Shane Horgan, leading to Flavell's decisive score.

    Nevertheless, the composed Stringer, who so adroitly ghosted down the Biarritz blindside just a few weeks ago, must surely regret his reckless kick into open field. Beneath his posts. With his side just a point down against the All Blacks? Suicidal stuff.

    That it was replacement Troy Flavell who managed to benefit from Stringer's brainstorm is indicative of the manner in which the All Blacks deployed their bench at key stages, however envious one is of their endless supply of talent.

    Ireland, unfortunately, are still reluctant to use the numbers allowed by the IRB to supplement the starting 15. It is a damning indictment of the unused replacements who continue to grow splinters on the Irish international bench that they are not deemed worthy of adequate, impactful game time. It is quite inconceivable why Geordan Murphy was allowed to remain on the field for 79 minutes before being replaced by Girvan Dempsey. One presumes that Murphy had been fulfilling the wishes of the management in what he admitted was a limited attacking approach on his behalf.

    If not, the logic dictated that his replacement should have arrived much, much earlier than shortly after that lone, almost definitive daring break from his own half which led to the McAlister intercept. Alternatively, what does it say to Dempsey about the faith in his ability to alter the tempo of a game at such a crucial time?

    Ditto the rest of the bench, a point forcefully emphasised by the delay in replacing a tiring David Wallace - who had just conceded a penalty - with a groundhog (Keith Gleeson) when a ball carrier was needed at that stage, as the All Blacks stepped up their own barrage of ball-carrying.

    Sadly, there are players on this tour who would be better off sunning themselves in Tahiti as their value in terms of this summer's enterprise appears to be negligible unless there is some radical shift in emphasis this week.

    One marvels at how McAlister's mental strength will have hardened in manifold ways as a result of Saturday's experience. In stark contrast, when Ronan O'Gara misfires, there is nobody on the bench to light a fire under him.

    It is this comfort zone which allows the frequent lapses which creep into his performances to disappear into a worrying vacuum of almost desultory analysis. O'Gara is indubitably number one but wouldn't it be nice to see what his number two, or heaven forefend, number three look like?

    Niall O'Donovan will hope his lineout work pays dividends once more next week, Brian McLaughlin will pat himself on the back after the exhaustive breakdown work, transcending forwards and backs, while the ultimate high fives will go Graham Steadman's way.

    The defence coach has managed an utterly smooth transition since Mike Ford's departure.

    That the All Blacks reverted to a mauling, close quarters battle, while also abandoning the flatness of their attack, concentrating on support behind the ball instead of risking offloads, was a measure of how they were forced to adapt to the immense defensive challenge presented to them.

    In attack, though, Ireland struggled to make their mark. Until chasing the game, there was an element of sameness about the play, save the one occasion when Shane Horgan replicated his Leinster tactic by seeking work in midfield, taking a brilliant line which bamboozled the All Blacks.

    Andrew Trimble, despite his fantastic finish and ceaseless defence, is uncomfortable on the wing.

    D'Arcy might crave extra space. Dempsey is having the year of his life. Murphy may need to be shaken up a tad to produce his magic more regularly. Denis Hickie, unused on Saturday, is on tour. So too Gavin Duffy. And whatshisname? That Staunton fellah.

    "I was happy with our attack but it was hard to do anything with limited ball," said O'Sullivan, before tying himself in knots when he admitted that All Blacks held on to the ball and Ireland didn't as the game entered its defining period.

    With Shane Horgan's jaw merely bruised, only Alan Quinlan seems likely to force himself into the 22.

    But Ireland should not only surprise their supporters, but themselves too, by showing some more fluidity in their back-line selection which just might keep these formidable All Blacks awake. Because they certainly won't start in a slumber two weeks running.

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    Agree that the rattle was thrown out. However it was the players chocie to rally around those "sullied" by the indo not the IRFU who have been left red faced by the whole incident. Whilst I dont agree with the action taken by the team if you read the Indo today you will see that their reporters have taken the high morale ground. As anyone who reads the Indo you will know that this is a place that they can rarely visit and is enough for me to side with the players on this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beautifulrock
    Whilst I dont agree with the action taken by the team if you read the Indo today you will see that their reporters have taken the high morale ground. As anyone who reads the Indo you will know that this is a place that they can rarely visit and is enough for me to side with the players on this one.
    The players gave them the high moral ground by their actions. Surely a well worded statement from O'Driscoll acknowledging the criticism but rebuffing it constructively would have been more effective? I can't side with the players on this, much as I'd like to. They were wriong to bar Kelly from the press conference pure and simple. A lot of what he said was right, pure and simple. If they react this badly to criticism they shouldn't be well paid, professional athletes.

    Imagine the stick they'd get if we lived in an English tabloid culture. Then they'd really know what criticism was.

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    Unfortunately the Indo is not reduced to the most common denominator & not so long ago had a spat with Brian Kerr. However O'Sullivan has always been like this & is unable to take any criticism.
    http://www.forastrust.ie/

    Bring back Rocketman!

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeSoap
    The players gave them the high moral ground by their actions. Surely a well worded statement from O'Driscoll acknowledging the criticism but rebuffing it constructively would have been more effective? I can't side with the players on this, much as I'd like to. They were wriong to bar Kelly from the press conference pure and simple. A lot of what he said was right, pure and simple. If they react this badly to criticism they shouldn't be well paid, professional athletes.

    Imagine the stick they'd get if we lived in an English tabloid culture. Then they'd really know what criticism was.
    Joe, I understand where you are coming from but like many other on here it is very hard to side with the Indo on anything. The bit that I dont like is their(indo sports reporters) "attack" today on anything rugby including saying "us" irish are thin skinned etc.

    And yes a BOD statement would have been more sensible although I do think the players have got their point across very effectively.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beautifulrock
    And yes a BOD statement would have been more sensible although I do think the players have got their point across very effectively.
    But its how they got the point across....and exactly what point did they get across?? The point that 'Well, no matter what we do on the pitch, you guys better not criticise it or else ye're not coming to our next press conference' ?.

    It smacks of childishness, pure and simple. And make no mistake, this did not come from just the players...be very sure that O'Sullivan had a big role in this too.

    The only part of the adverse publicity I did not agree with was the references by Kelly, and particularly 'Scurvy' Thornley in the Times when they dragged the name of the new sponsors in to it, asking them what they felt about the performance and were they satisfied they were going to get value for money out of it. Thats gutter journalism, that could also damage the revenue streams of the IRFU, and was quite unfair.
    Last edited by joeSoap; 15/06/2006 at 11:21 AM.

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    I am not convinced O Sullivan had a hand in this, a bit early for a them against us approach. It it was during the World Cup next year then maybe that might be the case but not now.

    While you may argue about what point that was put across by this action, it has certainly marked the reporters cards. That raises the next question of course is who needs each other the most.

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    The article in question is tame enough, easier to ignore than take an issue with.
    The Examiner reported simply and correctly that the issue has been resolved, so move on. But the Indo (Kelly) writes that the row still rumbles on.
    Kelly's articles today suggest to me signs of crucifixan complex, an OTT reaction to a mere spat.
    "Shameful", "appalling vista", "Pandora's Box", "defiled".
    FFS it was just the silent treatment for a few hours. Has the guy ever experienced life?

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    New Signing joeSoap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beautifulrock
    While you may argue about what point that was put across by this action, it has certainly marked the reporters cards.
    Marked them about what? The necessity to never criticise?? This is censorship, nothing more, nothing less, and is also bullying by the players.

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    New Signing joeSoap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geysir
    Kelly's articles today suggest to me signs of crucifixan complex, an OTT reaction to a mere spat.
    "Shameful", "appalling vista", "Pandora's Box", "defiled".
    FFS it was just the silent treatment for a few hours. Has the guy ever experienced life?
    Irish professional rugby players are contractually obligated to liaise with the media. The media blow them up when they are going well, and kick them when they are down. That is no different to any other professional sport. It was more than a mere spat. It was disgraceful behaviour by the players, who obviously have proven that while they are prepared to accept the plaudits when things are going well, they certainly don't like to have their shortcomings pointed out in print.

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    Joe, that is your opionion and i think a little simplistic. You cant say that this is the first time that the Irish team have been criticised. Think back to the November internationals where all were well and truly lambasted. I am still backing the players and if you read todays Indo I think you will see bullying by pen at its best (as Geysir has pointed out)

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    The criticisms handed out last November were nowhere nearly as embarrassing to the players because of two main reasons:
    1). It was the start of the season and not much was expected.
    2). No O'Driscoll or O'Connell put paid to any chance we had of winning the game beforehand.

    Please explain to me how you can justify players refusing a journalist entry to a press conference because he called it like he saw it in his match report. Its his right to report on how he saw things, and to be totally honest, he wasn't far wrong. Why do you back the players in preventing a man from doing his job? Why don't these same players protest against George Hook, who, through the same newspaper group, and National television goes way way further in personal criticisms than David Kelly ever did?

    There is no justification for their childish tantrum. None at all.

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    Like I said earlier Joe, that is your opinion of what happenend, mine is different but in my eyes equally as relevant. I have replied and read your previous posts on rugby and I usually agree with your thoughs on selection and team performance etc but here I disagree with you. The 4th estate get (or take) too much power too often. However, I do agree we thankfully have not yet reached the "standards" of the Uk rags

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    Always bad when journalists ARE the news. Again a sadly familiar issue for the Indo recently.

    http://www.forastrust.ie/

    Bring back Rocketman!

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeSoap
    There is no justification for their childish tantrum. None at all.
    Childish tantrum, yes, but that's a long way from the Kellyesque hyperbole, Kelly has used 3 stepladders to climb up on his soapbox.
    "Shameful", "appalling vista", "Pandora's Box", "defiled".
    Why don't these same players protest against George Hook, who, through the same newspaper group, and National television goes way way further in personal criticisms than David Kelly ever did?
    There was a hint somewhere that there are some rugby related issues in the past with Kelly.
    CTID on foot.ie http://foot.ie/showpost.php?p=259153&postcount=5

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    Quote Originally Posted by geysir
    Childish tantrum, yes, but that's a long way from the Kellyesque hyperbole, Kelly has used 3 stepladders to climb up on his soapbox.
    "Shameful", "appalling vista", "Pandora's Box", "defiled".
    I still fail to see your point. David Kelly is a journalist, a pretty poor journalist imo, but still a journalist. These players need journalists to feed their massive egos when they are doing well. Journalists exaggerate, as Kelly did here in his choice of words....as is his right. Do they call these guys up after they've gotten rave reviews from them??...Do they fuch!!


    Quote Originally Posted by geysir
    There was a hint somewhere that there are some rugby related issues in the past with Kelly.
    CTID on foot.ie http://foot.ie/showpost.php?p=259153&postcount=5
    What does that post have to do with anything??

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    Brendan Fanning in last Sundays Indo:
    Before the squad leaves for Perth, however, they have to deal with New Zealand again, and for Paul O'Connell this will be one of the most testing weeks of his international career. In Europe he is a star, a position he has carved out for himself on the back of top class performances for province and country. In New Zealand they wonder what the fuss is about.
    Criticism of one of our Gods??

    O'Connell, on the other hand, will have to be dragged into the video session tomorrow morning. It would be a good time to leave the contact lenses in his room.
    More of the same from Fanning.

    The exercise shouldn't cheer up Peter Stringer either. The one dimensional nature of his game is especially costly on pressured nights like this, and it would have been worth blooding Isaac Boss in the last quarter when Stringer's buck passing was killing his team.
    Ditto...on Stringer.

    Enter George Hook:
    The opening ceremonies did little to inspire confidence in the visiting team's chances. The All Blacks, in their figure-hugging jerseys, looked physically impressive whereas the Irish, still in their tracksuit tops, looked puny. It got worse as Ireland's Call, never the most inspiring of tunes, was played at dirge-like speed, led by a singer who sounded like he had been plucked from a local Celtic saloon.
    George Again:
    O'Gara cannot defend because he is technically a poor tackler
    Rugby is now a 22-man game and substitutions can be turning points in the contest.
    Can anyone tell me why Brendan Fanning, George Hook, Peter O'Reilly, Gerry Thornley et al were all allowed enter the press conference and David Kelly was not??

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    Quote Originally Posted by BohsBohsBohs
    YOu can hardly be surprised, this is the organisation that blocks Trevor Brennan getting into the squad because he is from the wrong side of the tracks and has an opinion.
    Trevor Brennan is not good enough to play for Ireland, end of. Nothing to do with what side of the tracks he is from. Lets nip that one in the bud immeadiatly.

    As for the overall discussion, im with joesoap, it doesnt matter what was written - banning a journalist from a press conference is ridiculous and the title of the thread says it all. I do think that all the negative stuff written was deeply unfair - i thought it was a super performance off the back of a long hard season, but again all that is irrelevant - banning a journalist from a press conference is not really on is it?

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    O'Sullivan on Morning Ireland saying it was the players decision, but he supported it. Said the players decided and then told him after. Said that it wasn't just the one article by Kelly, but on going, and the last article was just the straw that broke the camels back.

    I really don't know the history, as the Indo is a terrible paper imo. I think the Indo will be doing their best to persuade Tony Ward to start going on tours again...
    If you attack me with stupidity, I'll be forced to defend myself with sarcasm.

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