The removal of Declan Kidney as Ireland’s coach should have prompted a stampede of men who were willing and proud to serve their country. So why are the streets of Dublin quite so empty?
You know that if the All Blacks coach had just resigned, almost every man in New Zealand would be lining up for the job. The same is true of South Africa. And it is not as if Ireland are short of talent.
This weekend Saracens, coached by Mark McCall, will play Ulster, coached by David Humphreys, in the quarter-final of the Heineken Cup. In another quarter-final Harlequins, overseen by Conor O’Shea, will take on Munster, coached by Kiwi import Rob Penney.
And yet according to Paddy Power the odds-on favourite for the Ireland job is an Aussie. He is followed in the market by another Aussie, two Kiwis, a South African and a Welshman.
Now if I were part of the IRFU hierarchy, a role for which I doubtless lack the constitution, I would be rounding up O’Shea, McCall and Humphreys and asking if there were any circumstances, money and time no object, under which two of the three might consider working together in order to lead Ireland at the next World Cup.
The three are already mates and talk several times a week. Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen proved that it is possible for leading national coaches to work together for the common good. So why should Ireland not look forward with such ambition.
If O’Shea and McCall could not come on board until the end of the 2014 season, why not wait. It would also allow for the appointment of the new Professional Board and Performance Director in the mean time.
Yet Philip Browne, the CEO of the IRFU, says Ireland are looking to appoint sooner rather than later. They have also appointed an outside consultant to help them with the decision. At least they can blame someone else if they stuff up then.
O’Shea has stated that he is contracted with Quins until the end of the 2014 season. The Board should be saying: “Fine, we can wait Conor. You are our man for the World Cup and would you like to work aside McCall or Humphreys. We will move heaven and earth to bring them on board.”
This should be a perfect storm for Irish rugby. It is a wonderful opportunity to build a coaching team and a playing team that can challenge for the nexdt World Cup. So why is it that I have a terrible feeling they are about nto get it all wrong.
Who do you think is the right man / men for the job? Comments below…