1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2008
Irish Rugby is reviewed as it moves from the amateur era into professionalism. Some knowledge and an interest in Irish rugby would be required for this book. The question is how much? I am involved at grass roots level and I felt that I had heard or knew a lot book already. That said, some incidents such as Pat Whelan challenging a journalist in a toilet and Clohessy not being impressed with his label of the only man in Limerick who doesn't need to lock his car, are always worth a special mention, but the pertinent issues pertain to the structure of the game.
Now, any group of human beings always involves politics and sometimes the best decisions always aren't made. I think is the strongest point of the book. It's a reminder that IRFU may not always have the correct structures to make the best decision. A good example would be the AIL. It should really be reformatted so that a smaller first division is in place. This would then operate at a more competitive level and feed the provinces. But, can committee men see beyond their clubs and see the big picture?
A lot has happened in Irish Rugby in the last 15 years and it's impossible to cover it all in one book. Ulster fans may lament their achievements not getting much page space when the authour gives plenty to the Munster mens' march to a final in 2001. One could also make a similar point about some great Irish victories, which also don't get much page space. For example:
1. Beating World Champions England in their own back yard in 2004
2. Beating an Australian team which won a Lions series, twice
3. Beating France for the first time in almost 30 years in France.
Some other areas, left out, which I would have thought worthy of inclusion:
1 Schools Rugby, would it not make more sense to reformat this to a league format and put more emphasis on skills rather than competition?
2. Would Irish Rugby not be better off putting more resources on youth systems in clubs?
3. Are the provinces paying too much money on imported players who can never play for Ireland?
As for the future of the game, the perception is more people are playing rugby now than ever before. If this is the case, it would have been an interesting subject to explore. How many more are playing? Why are more playing?
Overall, I this book depends on your expectations. Want a magazine type review of Irish Rugby? You might like it. Want something more critical and detailed? I am not so sure.