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"We've become drunk on success" | How much patience should Irish rugby fans have?

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21:35 4 Mar 2020


After a tumultuous 2019, with a dip in form, a disappointing World Cup and a change of coaching, it is only natural that there would be a period of transition in Irish rugby.

On Wednesday Night Rugby, journalists Tom English and Cian Tracey discussed the state of Andy Farrell's coaching, Johnny Sexton's nascent captaincy and the patience needed by Irish fans.

Attention has been particularly acute on Johnny Sexton since his comments in response to Ronan O'Gara, where he said "when you are leading an orchestra you've got to turn your back on the audience."

While no-one is doubting his credentials as a player, English believes that options for the armband are few and far between.

"If Sexton wants the captaincy, then Sexton gets the captaincy.

"Sometimes, as a player, Sexton almost needed protection from himself because he was so flat to the line that he was almost putting himself in danger.

"He was taking big shots because he was such a brave and selfless player - taking everything on himself.

"Sometimes, the coach needs to say: 'Johnny, you are not going to do everything, we are not going to allow you to do everything.'

"Maybe we are at that point now. But if it is not Johnny, who is it?

"We seem to have gone from the place in 2018 where there were big characters and leaders all over the place, but we are now down to a shortlist of one as captain."

Patience needed

English also identified a lack of patience among Ireland fans, who became so used to success during the middle part of Joe Schmidt's reign that players and systems are not allowed time to bed in.

"I think this team is in transition and as a nation, I think we have become so drunk on success that we are not allowed a transition period any more.

"I think that is what we are in; we have seen these phenomenal Leinster players coming through.

"Maybe they are not quite ready. But they are coming through and they will be ready soon.

"Maybe it is just time for us to let them come."

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