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KH struck final blow for co-eds
Alan Ruddock is incorrect in his comment in his article of Sunday, February 14 when he writes that 'victory would make Gerard's the first co-educational school to reach the final'. In 1982, Blackrock College beat The King's Hospital 22-3 in the final of the Senior Cup. King's Hospital is a co-educational school.
Club-school links strong in Leinster
Alan Ruddock (Feb 14) betrays somewhat a lack of knowledge of the interaction between club youth (U19, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13 ) rugby in Leinster clubs and schools rugby (presumably at these same age levels ) in Leinster-affiliated Section B & A schools (the B Section comprises the stronger schools, ie Clongowes, Belvedere, Blackrock etc).
There are no restrictions at U12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 (ie Mini) age levels between players at those age levels playing mini rugby in Leinster clubs and playing on primary school teams in affiliated Leinster primary schools. (Mini rugby was developed by clubs from their involvement in Community Games.)
For the purpose of development, Leinster Youths rugby allows players attending Leinster-affiliated Section A schools to play on Leinster clubs' Youths teams -- but not players who are attending Section B schools .
The Leinster Youths Committees operate schools/youths competitions at U13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19; these competitions allow schoolboy players attending Section B schools to play in these club competitions.
Media made up Capello's mind
Dion Fanning's piece regarding Capello's sacking of John Terry (Feb 7) was an interesting take -- although Terry is a role model on the pitch he is not so off the pitch, and this does have an impact on leading a team. A more dignified and composed person with a touch of statesman about him would possibly take a team further.
Capello being an upstanding and religious man and figure of authority made this moral decision. It seemed like you had started typing just when you received the news that Terry was sacked, and that nobody had told you who Capello picked as Terry's replacement. If you trawled through the English Premier league, never mind the England panel, you wouldn't find a character further from your dignified statesman than Rio Ferdinand. Banned for eight months for deliberately missing a drug test, banned after one game back from injury for violent conduct. He doesn't have any 'captain' qualities that I can see.
I think the facts are clear here -- public opinion and media factors helped Capello make his decision. And while it may have been the right one, this was the driving force behind it. It was probably why Steven Gerrard was not made captain in his place given his recent history. So, unfortunately, I would say morality and integrity were very far away from this decision process. Good weekly column by the way.
Gulf in class has not been bridged
The simple game of rugby played by France on Saturday was great to watch. There is no greater beauty in sport as in watching a team execute silken footballing skills with panache and flair.
No team can surpass the French ability to make space when in full flight as they cut through tight defences with unusual angles, running on to fast ruck ball with pace. The skill patterns that generally can't be matched by the other nations in this competition have been learned and passed down by a tradition of play which is full of Gallic imagination.
French teams playing to their full potential will always beat Ireland. There is no shame in been beaten by a superior team. The sad thing is that the occasion got to Ireland and from the beginning of the game they gave France all the encouragement they needed to beat them, with a plethora of unforced errors and reckless indiscipline. The French bullied us all day, like a plaything in a lion's den. Outfought, outthought, outplayed, this was a lesson. A thorough hammering coming up against a team who as yet are not firing on all cylinders. They can afford to play well below their potential and should be able to see off the poor opposition in the Six Nations.
Ireland have punched away above their weight in the recent past with such small playing numbers. Let's take a more realistic approach and assign our World Cup hopes of coming out of our group as perhaps a possibility. Let's not lose the run of ourselves with ideas away above our station of actually winning the World Cup.