RTÉ Rugby analyst Bernard Jackman called Emerging Ireland’s upcoming tour of South Africa a “terrible idea,” noting both the project’s timing and the poor quality of the opponent in question.
The The squad of 35 players was named this afternoon By coach Simon Easterby, with only four players assigned to the first level, Robert Balacon of Ulster, Kaolin Blade of Connacht, Max Degan of Leinster and Shane Daly of Monster.
The tour group will play three matches against the Griquas (September 30), Pumas (October 5) and the Cheetahs (October 9). Easterby heads up the coaching staff for emerging Ireland with the help of Paul O’Connell, Mike Catt and John Fogarty.
Ireland coach Andy Farrell explained the rationale behind the endeavor, saying it “provides another window for players to develop and demonstrate their ability to thrive in a national environment”.
IRFU High Performance Director David Nocifora acknowledged that the project “will put some pressure on our player resources” but said it would “provide an opportunity for emerging talent to impress national coaches early in the World Cup season”.
However, former Ireland prostitute (Jackman) sees it as a pointless project, saying the timing is unfair to the county coaches and there is not much to learn from the opponent in question.
“I think it’s a bad idea,” Jackman told the RTÉ Rugby podcast.
“I think this sends the wrong message to the county coaches about where they stand in the clicking rankings. There were 40 singles players left this summer. They will be drip-fed again during the season.
“The URC is getting stronger. Points will count a lot, early doors. Losing some of your key players, especially when some international players aren’t back in full swing, could lose regional coaches points. It can cost them jobs in the long run.”
“I think if the quality of the opponent was higher, I wouldn’t be against it to be honest. I know as a player, and the Tour is special. And the chance to go far with a group of players representing Ireland is a big draw along with the chance to work with Simon Easterby and Paul O’Connell.”
“But given how weak the opponents are, and the timing of that, I think it would be better for them to play for their district in a URC match against Sharks or Bulls or Glasgow or Edinburgh. Because they will be able to play in a team where they understand the game plan and against a better opposition. I think it is more of a test .
“Realistically, what can we find out? If Ciaran Frawley has a storm against Grekas, what is it worth?”
“Also, the fact that we have this Ireland A game against New Zealand in November, Monster playing Springboks As, there are enough quality games over the next period. Plus the URC is now a really good competition.
“It’s not good timing, but it’s also not appropriate to really judge people.”
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Jackman insists there is more to learn from the emerging crop of performances at the Nations Cup and Champions Cup than from the South Africa tour.
“There are 40 singles players that have gone to New Zealand, and there are still those matches in November to try out the players. And in fairness to Farrell, a lot of players have been capped. There were those two games against the Maori All Blacks which were obviously the highest level they are going to play here.
“Thirty-two are going to the World Cup. I can’t see any real publications that won’t get county match time. Take Joe McCarthy, to keep him so focused on Leinster. Can he get into this Champions Cup team for Leinster? If he can, He will be there or close to that in the rankings of the World Cup strikers as a back-up lock. I don’t see that this round is leading him forward anymore.
“They understand that it’s all about the Ireland team. They run this relationship very well and give very well because they understand their place in the standings. But I just think that sends a bad message in terms of the relationship between the federation and the regional coaches.”
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