Eddie O’Sullivan rolls the dice….

… and comes up with the same XV for Ireland’s final Rugby World Cup group game against Argentina. Well almost. Trimble is this week’s scapegoat and drops to the bench while Geordan Murphy returns to the first team for the injured Dempsey.

Meanwhile, the hacks scent blood in the water and futher pieces like this by Ciaran Cronin, must surely be inevitable:

One of the key skills of good man-management is the ability to put oneself in the shoes of others and come within an ass’s roar of how they might be feeling. If O’Sullivan believes that his back-up players are simply happy to get on with things in this Irish set-up, he has drastically misread the situation. They’re all ambitious players and they all want to play for their country. For many of them, though, what’s almost as important as actually playing is knowing that they have some chance of taking the field if things don’t go well in any given game, but O’Sullivan has been completely negligent in this particular area.

During the past week, one player revealed that not only were the starting 15 untouchable come match day, they were hardly, if ever, rotated in training either. Not only, then, do these fringe players not get an opportunity to state their case during a game, they can’t even catch the coach’s eye in training. The whole psychology of the setup is plain wrong. It started from the moment that O’Sullivan demarked 15 players for special treatment by allowing them to rest during Ireland’s summer tour to Argentina.

Thus, when the players on duty in Santa Fe and Buenos Aires had their holiday and came back for pre-World Cup training, the first 15 were already weeks ahead of them in the gym. Not only that.

When 45 players headed to Spala in July, the size of the facilities in Poland dictated that the group had to be split in three for training purposes. Guess how they were split? The first 15, the next 15 most likely to be in the squad and 15 who just might slip into the squad if somebody got injured. Talk about showing players their place in the food chain. It was abysmal man management but then again, that’s not all that much of a surprise considering the man in charge.