| 9.1°C Dublin

Ireland's fall

• Does the aggregate scoreline of an almost 100-point defeat in three test matches against New Zealand tell the true position of Irish rugby, or is the winning of five Heineken Cups by Leinster and Munster in the past seven years a more accurate barometer?

Our 2009 Grand Slam success has been our only one in the past 64 years. Wales have won three grand slams in the past eight years, yet Welsh clubs have only ever appeared in one Heineken Cup final, and that was back in the first tournament in 1996 with Cardiff losing to Toulouse.

In seven rugby world cups, we have never reached the last four. How then do Irish provinces dominate the Heineken Cup? This year, two Irish teams contested the final.

Has the addition of non-Irish players to the provinces given them the extra edge that is missing from our national teams?

Has the management of our provincial sides been far superior to that of our national team?

While some of the French clubs have vast resources, has their lack of success over the past few years meant that the Heineken Cup is no longer their main priority? Apart from Toulouse, only one other French team has won the Heineken Cup, and that was back in 1997 when Brive were victorious.

More importantly, how can our national team -- from the 'golden era' of Irish rugby -- be beaten 60-0 and concede nine tries?

David Kavanagh
Annaghdown, Co Galway

Irish Independent