Should we just give up now? Not quite yet.

Not since that day in Lens in 1999 has an Irish rugby team come in for so much stick for such an awful performance. They’re all at it. Gerry Thornley, Tony Ward, some RTÉ bloke, all clinically depressed. I listened to Ray D’Arcy on Today FM this morning and got even more depressed. I’m after taking a look at Eddie O’Sullivan’s press conference today. He doesn’t look depressed. He looks shattered. We were told that Eddie is an insomniac. Still, I’d be losing sleep if I was him anyway.

Ireland v Namibia (09/09/07)But woooaaahh there, shouldn’t we all just hold on a second? This Irish team have been hitting hot and cold for years on end. In the last World Cup, I remember people tearing their hair out as Ireland would find how out how to play rugby…. after giving opponents a 40+ headstart. After the England game earlier this year it seemed likely that the team would trounce Scotland and alas it was a story of a scarily close win and a man out cold on the ground. So ‘vintage Ireland’ is used on the odd occasion and very often misplaced. For all the talk of cricket scores prior to the Namibia game, I was reminded by one George Hook that Ireland have never got beyond the 60 point barrier in a RWC match. (In fact the closest we came was against Namibia four years ago)

Lets take nothing away from the dismal second half from Ireland though. On more than one occasion my hand was actually over my eyes. I didn’t even do that on Saturday night!! But one has to believe that this is not the Ireland team we pinned our hopes to earlier in the year. Georgia rank above Namibia in the IRB world rankings but surely, if Ireland are going to rank as serious contenders in France, a commanding performance against the Eastern Europeans is a must. Judging by England, Wales and France, although all would have loved the first game to set down a marker for the opposition, it’s now the second game which provides a real chance to put things right. (Pity England face South Africa on Friday, so.)

So relax, all ye doubters. For the time being at least. Waffler was impressed with Eddie O’Sullivan’s ‘call-a-spade-a-spade’ attitude on Sunday night when he proclaimed what he witnessed as like ‘watching a horror movie’. Less watching-through-hands occasions please.

Things can only get better.

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~ by waffler on September 10, 2007.

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