“I Really Don’t Care About Winning Games At The Moment. I Don’t Think It’s A Priority.”
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Former Ireland and Leinster winger Shane Horgan doesn’t think winning games should be Ireland’s main priority in terms of the Autumn Nations Cup which kicks off this weekend.
Ireland are set to play Wales in their opening game on Friday on the back of a disappointing defeat to France in Paris with Wayne Pivac’s side in freefall following a desperate run of defeats which has seen them lose their last five games in-a-row.
Under Andy Farrell, a revolution in certain respects is what fans are looking for as they look to move on from the Joe Schmidt era and evolve their game which has become increasingly easy for oppositions to analyse over the last 18 months or so.
Horgan reckons a change in philosophy is more important right now than getting wins their belt with a view to bringing in even more new personnel.
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Episode 13 has arrived featuring Seán O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip and Garry Ringrose. 🎧 – Jason & Jamie are joined on the show by the one and only Seán O'Brien following the launch of his new book 'Fuel'. 📚 – The lads look at the current state of Irish Rugby and chat about the differences Seán has found in playing Premiership Rugby. 🤔 – Seánie also names his starting Irish seven going forward and tells us about that 'bit of mad' in Irish people that needs to come out of the Ireland lads in big games. 😠 The two lads answer your fan questions including the best back-row they've ever come up against and their biggest career regrets. 👀 – Garry Ringrose also chats to us about his jaw injury, when he'll be back and his British and Irish Lions ambitions. 🦁 Available now wherever you get your podcasts.
And far as Horgan is concerned, the Autumn Nations Cup is a perfect platform for Ireland to kickstart a new era under Farrell.
“I really don’t care about winning games at the moment. I don’t think it’s a priority,” Horgan told us.
“But what I would like to see is a definitive movement on in philosophy and actually some changes in personnel as well.
“And I think we’re seeing changes and some interesting changes as well and kudos to them for doing that.
“The other element of it is it’s really nice, this tournament, the structure of it. It’s brilliant for Andy Farrell, it’s exactly what you want for Ireland, much more than I would say a traditional Autumn tour of maybe Australia or New Zealand coming down.
“This is actually perfect to regroup, give a few individuals an opportunity and actually try something different with a continutity week by week. And with a goal at the end of it as well.”
Horgan added that he doesn’t want to see “conservative” selections or game plans that might be enough to win most games, without ever evolving. He used France as a perfect example of how a team can turn around their fortunes in a short period with a few tweaks here and there.
“What I wouldn’t want to see Ireland do is what we have seen them do in Six Nations before and put out a conservative team and a conservative game plan that’s good enough maybe to beat Wales, that’s good enough to beat Georgia and that will potentially lose to England,” Horgan added.
“Then maybe win depending on who the team is [that they face], maybe a Scotland or a Fiji or an Italy. But would lose against a rejuvenated France.
“I think we know that Ireland can play at a certain level and a certain way and have a quite consistent level of results but without performing to their peak. And that’s why I think a change in philosophy and performance is something that I’d like to see more than results.
“But I’m convinced if that changes and the philosophy happens – look what happened with France in a very short time in the last 12 months! They’ve gotten really significant results from it.
“So that thing coaches have hidden behind, and international coaches in particular, ‘we’ve no time with the players, we can’t change it’ – Shaun Edwards and France have just blow that out of the window. Now they have got great players but France have had good players for a long time but they never played like this before.”
Autumn Nations Cup Rugby Union is coming to Amazon Prime Video, exclusively broadcasting 13 out of 16 matches from 14 November including the tournament finals.