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TV backlash on Best
At the end of Virgin Media’s rugby coverage on Saturday anchor Joe Molloy brought the conversation around to Rory Best’s criticism of Joe Schmidt’s micro management methods, and how they contributed to Ireland’s disastrous 2019.
“Treachery is a strong word,” said Molloy having read out some of Best’s comments. “Captain of the team to turn around and do that to the coach – should that be done internally?”
Shane Horgan responded: “It’s how [Best] is framing it: ‘When everything is going great in 2018, and we were so successful, it was all about the players but in 2019 when things went bad it was all about the coach.’”
Inaccurate. Best’s words were published in full online by The Irish Times. The retired captain was heavily critical of himself as much as he was of Schmidt. The leadership group’s inability to control their own fate sounded awfully like what happened during the failed 2007 and 2011 World Cup campaigns.
We know this because several members of those squads monetised pointed criticism of head coaches Eddie O’Sullivan (mainly Geordan Murphy’s book) and Declan Kidney (mainly Brian O’Driscoll’s book), yet Horgan added: “I think there is a real feeling that Rory is trying to distance himself massively from something he was intrinsically linked with and part of.”
Inaccurate. Best made an impressive attempt to reveal what players still under IRFU contract do not have the freedom to say.
Matt Williams now sees Schmidt as “the soft target” and seemed to have only read a selection of Best quotes when noting: “If you are the captain and you have those feelings you go and tell your coach and your coach listens.”
Williams was not done: “It’s heart breaking stuff for Joe. [Best]should take an example from these boys in 2007 [nodding at Horgan]. When your World Cup didn’t g
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