Sunday 4 December 2016

Thrilled to see O'Shea make mark on Italy with stunning turnaround

Published 22/11/2016 | 02:30

Italy coach Conor O’Shea. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Italy coach Conor O’Shea. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

In all the excitement surrounding the All Blacks' visit to Dublin, Florence didn't really register, yet when the result came through that Italy had defeated South Africa, my heart skipped a beat.

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I was delighted for Italy coach Conor O'Shea and his assistant Steve Aboud. To go from losing 68-10 to the All Blacks to beating the powerhouse that was South African rugby is some turnaround in a week.

I was bitterly disappointed that former Ireland full-back O'Shea chose Italy ahead of a role in the Irish game as the next port of call on his coaching journey.

WATCH - Conor O'Shea's Italy stun South Africa with first ever win over the Springboks in Florence

Of course, all is not right with Italian rugby (far from it) on the back of one win, but what a win.

South African rugby is in a bad place, a year on from their World Cup defeat to Japan.

They are almost practising rugby apartheid in reverse and they are paying the price.

Either way, it was a good rugby day for a good rugby guy.

Irish Independent

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