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Just Not Good Enough

13th October 2007 By Munster Rugby

While rugby folk in Ireland scratch their disappointed heads and wonder where it all went wrong, their Welsh cousins provide the answer.

While rugby folk in Ireland scratch their disappointed heads and wonder where it all went wrong, their Welsh cousins provide the answer.

Or maybe that should be Welsh cousin.

The reason why Welsh interest – and Irish – ended when it did is explained by Welsh international lock Ian Evans who lays the blame at the door of the Magners League. "We need consistent high performance games. It is no use us going back to the Celtic League and playing against mediocre sides," he said, obviously not aware that when his Club won it last season it was in fact the Magners League trophy they so joyously accepted.

Evans is not all impressed with the opposition provided citing the southern hemisphere template to validate his point, "If you look at the southern hemisphere countries, the way they structure their game means they are playing big and tough matches week in and week out."

OK so why then are New Zealand and Australia out of the RWC or could it be that news of their demise hasn’t drifted into his particular valley ?

And it’s the Irish really who are preventing the Welsh ‘getting better as a nation’ according to Evans. "If people don’t put their best sides out every week we are not going to get better as a nation. The Irish often field weakened teams particularly if national coach Eddie O’Sullivan requests specific players to attend."

And how unfair is that – to Wales.

Bad ‘n all as that is, then there is an apparent conspiracy against the Ospreys and not just by the Irish it seems. "It has been evident in our early games (they lost to Cardiff Blues and Llanelli Scarlets in their opening two games) that teams are trying to strangle our ambition to play positive rugby." So says Lyn Jones – Evans’ boss at Ospreys – a man who chooses his words with great care!

A coach who was captured on television last season parading up and down the touchline carrying a yellow tackle bag above his head in an apparent effort to get a player yellow carded.

However, short of Evans and Ospreys being invited to bring their positive rugby to the English Premiership or French championship or an expanded EDF Energy Cup, they’re just going to have soldier on playing against mediocre sides.

Now how sad is that.

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