In 2003, Gary Ella was appointed head coach of Leinster Rugby. It was a daft appointment and the Australian was bundled out at the end of the season after winning 46 per cent of his fixtures.
hilst he presided over this mediocrity he made the suggestion that the Leinster Senior Schools Cup competition should be changed around and turned into a league format. Quite a number of the usual lemmings thought this was a great idea and pushed for it.
The Leinster Schools Senior Cup was inaugurated in 1887 and had nearly a 120 years of history in its fabled existence and some blow-in has the temerity to try and fundamentally change the principle of the competition. The schools stoutly resisted and nine months later Ella is shown the gate. The Cup format - apart from the open draw - is still fundamentally the same.
The Leinster Academy has become the envy and the model of every club in Europe and produces quality that other teams can only dream about. The talent is so good that Leinster have just recruited internally for their roster for the last season or two.
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The point about Ella was that when you eventually engage in a little bit of embarrassed introspection the conclusion that you draw is that we are a compliant, unquestioning bunch. Someone with a foreign accent tells us that it would be a good idea to do this or that and suddenly we all jump at the idea.
The Roman Salanoa episode has had a bit of airtime in the last few weeks. The whole affair was bad business. Some of the stories I have heard about the way the transfer was conducted would make you blanch.
The bottom line here is that the player did not want to move from Leinster. The top line is that Salanoa is a player of good potential allied with freakish physical prowess. Let's also be clear here that he was a sixth-choice tighthead as the season ended… prematurely.
Leinster in the 2018/2019 season had three Lions props in Jack McGrath, Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong. Andrew Porter could be classed as a good standard international grade player. Behind them as tightheads you would have had a 34-year-old Michael Bent, who, incredibly, is still retained by Leinster; Jack Aungier, a success story from St Fintan's out in Sutton; Vakh Abdaladze, who is recovering from spinal surgery, and then Salanoa.
At first glance, the depth chart is not bad at all. The problem here is not with the tightheads - it is with the looseheads. Cian Healy at 32 will have to be used sparingly from now on and if I was Andrew Porter I would be eyeing up the loosehead slot on the Leinster and Ireland XVs. Porter remember is a converted loosehead and may just establish himself as first-choice this season in that position - whenever that is!
Reserve strength on the loosehead side here is with Ed Byrne and Peter Dooley. Decent players but would be found wanting at Heineken Cup knock-out stage. With Aungier and Salanoa gone, you have to pray that Abdaladze recovers fully from his back problems. That leaves them short. Yet they are being forced to offload!
Apart from the resources and expertise invested in the players, there is also the issue that both Aungier and Salanoa depart with the Leinster playbook in their back pockets, nor are Leinster compensated for their investment. They rarely ever come back.
You can see some of the rationale behind the player transfers but you can also see that if this continues then there will be a proper row.
Who is calling the shots here? David Nucifora - the IRFU high performance director! Heretofore, Nucifora has had a pretty easy ride on the coat tails of Joe Schmidt. When you have a winning coach, your job becomes remarkably easy. Now that Schmidt is gone you get to see just how good or bad Nucifora is.
It is noteworthy that Nucifora has left behind some pretty intractable messes in the past. Nucifora parted company with the Brumbies in 2004 with players reportedly unhappy with his methods.
The following year, Brumbies chief executive Rob Clarke said: "The previous coach of our organisation wanted to move on three or four of our Wallabies because he thought they had had it.
"And he was wrong, absolutely wrong. If you see some of those Wallabies today, how they played in the spring tour and how they are going to play this year, without them our team would be a shadow of its past."
When the Munster assistant coaching positions came up for grabs, Rob Howley, among others, was heavily linked with the job. I wager that Nucifora wasn't too happy when Stephen Larkham - who was part of that Brumbies team back in 2004 - got it.
Last year, Nucifora's World Cup report was a masterclass in blame deflection. Joe Schmidt got a good kicking from his erstwhile buddy and even poor old Enda McNulty got a bit of cold steel for his perceived inadequacies. I am not quite sure what performance anxiety means but I must remember that term the next time I f**k up. I am all for autocratic leadership in how an organisation can be run.
Compromise management, consensus leadership and groupthink is a pretty inefficient way of running the show. Sometimes a strong, hardnosed unemotional and driven individual is the way forward. The problem here is that on his way to becoming the IRFU's Svengali Nucifora has managed to upset quite a few people.
Maybe the IRFU are happy to have a man who has no problem doing the unpleasant side of the job in the high performance role - somebody who is not bogged down in the tribalism of Irish rugby and someone who is able to cut through vested interests and political affiliation and change the roadmap of the game of Union in Ireland. That is worthwhile and that is maybe the reason the IRFU gave Nucifora a brand new four-year contract in 2019.
The thing is though it might be a good thing to have a big-picture idea and a long-term vision of where Irish rugby is going but how many people are you going to seriously p**s off while you go about achieving that? There are ways in how you go about doing your job. If you behave like Napoleon you eventually get exiled to St Helena.
Nucifora has cut the club game adrift. There are certain ways of doing things and if you disenfranchise the people who are the backbone of the game in this country with the sort of disdain that has been shown - well then there will be repercussions.
From the professional side of the game there wouldn't be too many people on friendly terms with Nucifora. No one doubts that it is the game at international level that sustains the code in this country but if you compromise the autonomy of the provinces and show them no respect when they try and work their way thought their schedule, then there has to be consequences.