Sport Rugby

Friday 19 January 2018

Rugby: Boys lost shine this year while girls got the silverware

Tries and tribulations: Ryan Crotty of the All Blacks scores the match winning try against Ireland. Photo: Getty Images
Tries and tribulations: Ryan Crotty of the All Blacks scores the match winning try against Ireland. Photo: Getty Images

It was another disappointing year for the fortunes of Ireland's rugby team. An ineffectual Six Nations campaign led to the departure of head coach Declan Kidney.

His replacement, Leinster coach Joe Schmidt, almost masterminded a famous win over his compatriots, New Zealand, in last month's Autumn International series but a last-gasp try and conversion helped the All Blacks complete an unbeaten 2013.

All was not well on the commercial front either with kit manufacturer Puma announcing that they were leaving their sponsorship deal with Ireland early.

It was a far from vintage year for the provinces with the Aviva Stadium hosting an all-French Heineken Cup Final which was won by Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon.

Despite such disappointments, Ireland's top players would get to savour Lions glory in Australia. The country was outraged when head coach Warren Gatland chose to omit Brian O'Driscoll from the squad for the decisive game, but the easy win vindicated his decision. O'Driscoll, meanwhile, announced that this season will be his last in professional rugby.

Those looking for Irish success needed to look to the women's national team who bagged the Six Nations title for the first time.

Irish Independent

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