Showing posts with label Rugby World Cup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rugby World Cup. Show all posts

Monday, October 16, 2023

Ireland's Road to Rugby World Cup 2023: Embracing New Leadership Post-Sexton Era

 Ireland truly captured the imagination at this World Cup, from their amazing fans to the warriors on the pitch who played the best rugby of their lives. But now, the weight on Ireland's shoulders has become a little heavier after failing to advance to the semi-finals.

Unfortunately, as good as Ireland have been in recent years, they haven't been at their best when it matters most. We know from past World Cup experience that it can only mean one thing: go home early.

Despite being elated for his country, the former All Black half-half Andrew Mertens, who was a commentator on BBC Radio 5 Live, was actually suffering for Ireland.

This shows that Ireland has earned a great deal of admiration and respect for their efforts in France. But in the end, we lost again in the quarter-finals, and for the eighth time in our history, we were eliminated after an off-base performance.

They did not play with the precision and ruthlessness that has become synonymous with this team under manager Andy Farrell. Those traits were there in the group stage, but they were missing against the All Blacks and it cost us.

New Zealand, on the other hand, was clinical. They did their homework about Ireland. They knew how to stop the ball and were physically dominant. Ireland lost aerial duels, both kicks and throw-ins.

They were second best in important areas such as scrums and breaks, but could have done more damage to New Zealand in the second innings with 14 players on the field.

Despite this, they somehow found a way to beat the All Blacks to the end. This shows how good Ireland are and they managed to stay in Ireland, but that won't be much consolation to them right now.

It's a big win for New Zealand, who suffered a humiliating loss to Ireland in last year's Test series and will relish the chance to face Argentina in the semi-finals.

Ireland will be returning home and everyone involved in Irish rugby is extremely proud of them. They are extraordinary ambassadors of this country and have taken us on memorable journeys over the past few years.

They are rightly ranked number one in the world and have played the type of rugby that is admired across the sport. They can be proud because they have brought pride to their country.

"A cruel way to retire for Sexton"

It felt like everyone in the stadium was overwhelmed by full-time Johnny Sexton. He was a great leader of this group and a first-class ambassador for Irish rugby, but he was someone even the greatest players sometimes don't reach the heights they dream of.

Sexton will always cherish the special memories he made while wearing the green jersey. He has earned the respect of his opponents because he embodies his fighting spirit, which is part of the Irish identity.

He has always been the ultimate competitor and has led himself and this team to great heights over the past few years. It would be devastating for him to retire with pain etched on his face. Because, as he himself said, during the final 37-phase effort, Ireland looked like they were going for it in the second half.

It appeared that Ireland was preparing to complete the script for the film, but that was not the case. For Johnny, hanging his boots is a very cruel method. You won't fully understand until you get on the flight home, empty your bags, and put away your boots one last time.

It will take time, but the players will have to prepare for the World Cup again with a new captain. Personally, I don't think the Irish team has ever come into a tournament as well prepared as this one. My confidence was really high.

It's hard to imagine an Irish team generating such exciting momentum again, but there are plenty of good young players there. It's over for players like Jonny and Keith Earls, but Irish rugby is still alive and well and there's still a Six Nations title to defend next year.

But whoever plays for Ireland at the next World Cup will carry the heaviest burden an Irish rugby player can shoulder. It was strongly emphasized throughout this tournament that Ireland had never been able to win in the quarter-finals. It's going to be even stronger in Australia and that means even more pressure on the players.

What was really good about this World Cup was the Irish support. Irish fans showed why we are loved around the world with our good character and ability to have fun and move our country forward. The atmosphere in his three games at the Stade de France was electric and it was special to be there to witness it. On Saturday after the game, I went back to the hotel to have some beers and meet up with some Americans who had come to watch the last few games. Ireland game.

It's something we can be proud of, even if sadness is the dominant emotion right now.