Irish Show Welsh The Meaning Of Player Power.
27th February 2006 By Munster Rugby
If as has been reported in the media, senior Welsh players played a part in the removal of Mike Ruddock, then in the wake of the Welsh debacle, those players can reflect on a job badly done
If as has been reported in the media, senior Welsh players played a part in the removal of Mike Ruddock from his position as national coach, then in the wake of the Welsh debacle, those players can today reflect on a job badly done.
Ruddock is too proud a Welshman to have taken pleasure in the defeat of his national side. However, he would be less than human if a he didn’t allow a rueful grin to crease his face at the sheer awfulness of the Welsh performance.
And it was awful.
Save for the opening quarter, it was a Welsh performance that, had it been a horse race, the participants weaing the red silks, would have been had up before the stewards for not trying, ‘Using the racecourse as a training ground’ is another offence punishable by the Turf Club, but the Welsh players could not be accused of that insofar as it is likely that they conjure up more sweat at the plush Vale of Glammorgan training centre than they did in the course of yesterday’s game.
Maybe they need now to add a ‘passion coach’ to their backroom staff although they never lacked for passion when Ruddock was in charge
Ironic too that the man who replaced Ruddock and who senior players eulogised about, Scott Johnson, earned his spurs as ‘skills coach’. There was such a lack of the skills from the end of the opening quarter that the outcome of this game was beyond doubt by half-time even though Ireland only held a slender 11-5 lead. By then the Welsh had drifted into lethargic mode, a state that had descended on them with the departure of Stephen Stephen Jones and arrival of Gavin Henson, 21 minutes into the opening half.
Henson, who is fast becoming the Anna Kournakova of rugby, took the field – with his white boots setting off a deep tan and hair immaculately slicked down hair – looking like a male model, and then proceeded to play like one.
With each passing minute from the time Jones departed the Welsh peformance went steadily downhill. Shooting fish in a barrel springs to mind to describe the difficulty Ireland faced in the second half but they went about their job effeciently and professionally, tacking on 20 second half unanswered points.
There will be a spring in the Ireland step as they gear up for the game with Scotland while the good news for Wales is that the Italians will be licking their lips on the way to Cardiff.