Source: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

An Irish Interview

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Some six weeks after Ireland’s exit from the World Cup Anthony Eddy, the Australian head of performance, deigned to give a media interview.

His statement and answers have led to widespread disbelief, outrage and demands for his resignation.

There were many matters of concern, ranging through the failure to qualify for the RWC, the balance in support for 7s and 15s, the provision of contracts, Ireland’s standing and provisioning compared with similar nations (especially Wales). About the RWC he claimed: ‘Knowing what the other programmes did, I think that our squad and our programme was actually a lot more advanced than what the other unions did.’

This sounds like a condemnation of the players themselves. ‘Not guilty, m’lud.’

A disturbing recent scandal concerned the changing facilities provided for the Connaught inter-provincial team. A key issue was whether the Inter-pro games had elite status. Eddy didn’t know the details. ‘Look, it’s just a lesson in rugby really.’

The official response explained that elite status could be granted only to teams able to maintain coronavirus-bound bubbles, that is the national 7s and 15s teams. So it could not be granted to inter-pro games involving large numbers of amateur players.

Open Government

A storm of protest has followed. Critics wonder whether he is living in a world of make-believe. When asked whether the World Cup review would be made public, he replied: ‘Probably some findings would be made public’.

This is horribly reminiscent of what has happened to parallel reviews in Wales (rugby) and in Yorkshire (cricket). The people in charge (all men?) seem frightened of having their failings and faults laid bare. That is not the best way to run a sporting organisation.

The same three people were tasked with the two rugby reviews. They must surely wonder whether their diligence is worth their while if their findings are to remain disclosed only to a favoured few.