Former Ireland Head Coach Calls For Radical Six Nations Change

No more chances.

Former Ireland head coach Eddie O’Sullivan reckons it’s time Italy were thrown out of the Six Nations and replaced with South Africa or Argentina.

The 62-year-old reckons Italy have become nothing more than the “whipping boys” of the tournament and enough is enough.

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The Azzurri will face Wales a week on Saturday have lost their last 30 Six Nations games in-a-row. The last time the Italians won was against Scotland way back in 2015.

O’Sullivan says Italy are your “banker” in the tournament and reckons if any team loses to them in the Six Nations, their head coach will probably end up losing their job.

“They are the whipping boys of the tournament and the fact remains that every team sees Italy as an opportunity to rack up points,” O’Sullivan said on RTÉ’s Against The Head.

“Italy are your banker if you need points on the last day. That’s not good for the tournament. When the tournament started everyone was saying we should give them time, but it’s 21 years and it’s probably getting worse now, not better.

“I see Franco Smith (Italy coach) coming out and saying his team will beat anyone in the world in five years. I don’t know where that came from, there is no evidence, it’s just the same year in, year out. It’s not a good look for a tournament to have an annual whipping boy; it’s not a good idea in terms of developing the tournament.

“If you don’t put in a big performance against Italy, you are going to face huge criticism and if you lose to Italy as a coach you will probably lose your job.”

There have been plenty of talks in recent years about a potential relegation and promotion system with the likes of Georgia and Romania waiting in the wings. But O’Sullivan reckons that’s a waste of time and officials should look to bring in heavy hitters like Argentina or South Africa.

“Let’s call a spade a spade,” O’Sullivan told RTÉ’s Against The Head.

“You are looking for a South Africa or an Argentina to make it a different tournament, to push it on.

“We’re not going anywhere with Italy, Romania or Georgia.

“Italy have been developing for 20 years and it just hasn’t happened.”

“The tournament is very important for the finances in this part of the world. You can’t afford to have a development team there and see where they go. You could make the argument that we are better off with five nations, but you’d lose some games, but the games you are losing are really just run-outs. A win every four or five years does not fix it. 

“They’ll be pushing for bigger guns, for South Africa or Argentina to come into the Six Nations. Forget all the poppycock about history; it’s about money.”