Professional rugby becoming unsafe to play…

Once again the All Blacks have moved the bar upwards, with apparently few people in Northern Hemisphere rugby noticing. Certainly not Sir Clive Woodward. But one of the dismaying aspects of this trip has been the Kiwi silence on the two man tackle (car crash) on Brian O’Driscoll in the opening match. Tom McGurk believes that professional Rugby is moving well beyond the bounds of safe play.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    I think that at the end of this tour, the IRFU should have a long hard think about participation in future Lions series. We have a small pool of players. Can we afford to risk them in a competition that is becoming more meaningless each time it’s played?

    A contracted, international Irish player will play a lot of rugby in a season. Celtic League, Heineken Cup, Six Nations, Autumn Internationals, and the World Cup once every four years. Surely that’s enough to expect a player to do in a season. A nice, gentle summer development tour to Japan, Canada or the USA is one thing, but to have to be at your peak in the cauldron that is New Zealand, Australia or South Africa at the end of a long season is asking a bit much. I’m surprised there haven’t been more injuries. We just can’t afford to risk our best players like this any more.

    The game has evolved a lot in the decade since it became professional, and is now very fast and very physical. Sure the professional players of today are fitter than the amateurs of 10 years ago, but there is only so much the human body can take. Look at some of these guys. They weigh over 100 kilos and can do 100 metres in about 12 seconds. And someone’s gotta stop him! It’s no wonder that these players are presenting with serious injuries.

    The other area that should be a cause for concern is the scrum, particularly the front rows. The amount of pressure props and hookers have to put upon their frames is enormous. I know of players who were scrummaging twenty or thirty years ago, and are now having problems as a result of their time in the scrum. Pack weights are getting heavier. What will today’s front row forwards be like when they’re in their 50s?

    The O’Driscoll incident is very worrying. For starters, BOD himself may never again be the player he was before he was tackled. Who loses out? BOD himself, of course, along with Leinster and Ireland. There may be another world-class centre doing the business for any of the other three nations by the time the next Lions tour comes around, and BOD mightn’t even make the test side, so even though he’s a loss to the Lions now, he may not be in the long run.

    The other worrying aspect is Umaga himself. This guy isn’t known as a dirty player, so it’s baffling that (a) he’d do this to his opposite number and (b) look like he doesn’t give a toss about it. A reckless tackle like that could end someone’s career, or worse, paralyse them, yet Umaga just shrugs it off. “That’s rugby”, he says.

    To my mind, the Lions’ day is over. Representing your country should be the greatest honour for any aspiring rugby player. Why should it be any different for Irish or British players?

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    I think that at the end of this tour, the IRFU should have a long hard think about participation in future Lions series. We have a small pool of players. Can we afford to risk them in a competition that is becoming more meaningless each time it’s played?

    A contracted, international Irish player will play a lot of rugby in a season. Celtic League, Heineken Cup, Six Nations, Autumn Internationals, and the World Cup once every four years. Surely that’s enough to expect a player to do in a season. A nice, gentle summer development tour to Japan, Canada or the USA is one thing, but to have to be at your peak in the cauldron that is New Zealand, Australia or South Africa at the end of a long season is asking a bit much. I’m surprised there haven’t been more injuries. We just can’t afford to risk our best players like this any more.

    The game has evolved a lot in the decade since it became professional, and is now very fast and very physical. Sure the professional players of today are fitter than the amateurs of 10 years ago, but there is only so much the human body can take. Look at some of these guys. They weigh over 100 kilos and can do 100 metres in about 12 seconds. And someone’s gotta stop him! It’s no wonder that these players are presenting with serious injuries.

    The other area that should be a cause for concern is the scrum, particularly the front rows. The amount of pressure props and hookers have to put upon their frames is enormous. I know of players who were scrummaging twenty or thirty years ago, and are now having problems as a result of their time in the scrum. Pack weights are getting heavier. What will today’s front row forwards be like when they’re in their 50s?

    The O’Driscoll incident is very worrying. For starters, BOD himself may never again be the player he was before he was tackled. Who loses out? BOD himself, of course, along with Leinster and Ireland. There may be another world-class centre doing the business for any of the other three nations by the time the next Lions tour comes around, and BOD mightn’t even make the test side, so even though he’s a loss to the Lions now, he may not be in the long run.

    The other worrying aspect is Umaga himself. This guy isn’t known as a dirty player, so it’s baffling that (a) he’d do this to his opposite number and (b) look like he doesn’t give a toss about it. A reckless tackle like that could end someone’s career, or worse, paralyse them, yet Umaga just shrugs it off. “That’s rugby”, he says.

    To my mind, the Lions’ day is over. Representing your country should be the greatest honour for any aspiring rugby player. Why should it be any different for Irish or British players?

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    I tried to post this twice last night, but to no avail. Apologies in advance if it ends up as a multiple posting. G O’S

    I think that at the end of this tour, the IRFU should have a long hard think about participation in future Lions series. We have a small pool of players. Can we afford to risk them in a competition that is becoming more meaningless each time it’s played?

    A contracted, international Irish player will play a lot of rugby in a season. Celtic League, Heineken Cup, Six Nations, Autumn Internationals, and the World Cup once every four years. Surely that’s enough to expect a player to do in a season. A nice, gentle summer development tour to Japan, Canada or the USA is one thing, but to have to be at your peak in the cauldron that is New Zealand, Australia or South Africa at the end of a long season is asking a bit much. I’m surprised there haven’t been more injuries. We just can’t afford to risk our best players like this any more.

    The game has evolved a lot in the decade since it became professional, and is now very fast and very physical. Sure the professional players of today are fitter than the amateurs of 10 years ago, but there is only so much the human body can take. Look at some of these guys. They weigh over 100 kilos and can do 100 metres in about 12 seconds. And someone’s gotta stop him! It’s no wonder that these players are presenting with serious injuries.

    The other area that should be a cause for concern is the scrum, particularly the front rows. The amount of pressure props and hookers have to put upon their frames is enormous. I know of players who were scrummaging twenty or thirty years ago, and are now having problems as a result of their time in the scrum. Pack weights are getting heavier. What will today’s front row forwards be like when they’re in their 50s?

    The O’Driscoll incident is very worrying. For starters, BOD himself may never again be the player he was before he was tackled. Who loses out? BOD himself, of course, along with Leinster and Ireland. There may be another world-class centre doing the business for any of the other three nations by the time the next Lions tour comes around, and BOD mightn’t even make the test side, so even though he’s a loss to the Lions now, he may not be in the long run.

    The other worrying aspect is Umaga himself. This guy isn’t known as a dirty player, so it’s baffling that (a) he’d do this to his opposite number and (b) look like he doesn’t give a toss about it. A reckless tackle like that could end someone’s career, or worse, paralyse them, yet Umaga just shrugs it off. “That’s rugby”, he says.

    To my mind, the Lions’ day is over. Representing your country should be the greatest honour for any aspiring rugby player. Why should it be any different for Irish or British players?