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"You need to bring a massive adaptability" | Eoin Reddan's Rugby World Cup lessons

Eoin Reddan was the guest on Wednesday's Off The Ball. In a wide-ranging chat, once again the sub...

Eoin Reddan was the guest on Wednesday's Off The Ball. In a wide-ranging chat, once again the subject of Ireland's misery at the Rugby World Cup reared its ugly head.

Reddan played at three of the global tournaments, in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

While many players and observers, including Brian O'Driscoll, agree that 2007 was a horror show, Reddan attributes both the 2011 and 2015 renewals as "just one bad game" in each case.

From that experience and with the benefit of hindsight, Reddan feels the next stage for Ireland's rugby team is to develop an ability to adapt, during the tournament.


"There's a mixture, going forward, about how you are going to plan impeccably for a World Cup, which I think we do," says Reddan.

"Then, I think you have got to stay in the present and be very brave when you actually get there.

"If you go from 2007, where you get the four years leading into the World Cup wrong, or the last year was wrong.

"Then Eddie gives good feedback and everybody learns. Then Declan gets the benefit of that and manages the structure where you lead really well into the tournament.

"When you get to the tournament you have to still be adaptable and survive what's happening right in front of you.

"You have to make sure you don't let those plans overtake what's happening.

"While it's important to have a year plan, what you did last January first is irrelevant the Friday before that match.

"So if you turn up and in that first round of games, things are happening a bit differently, maybe teams are kicking more or defending more or it's being refereed a bit differently, whatever.

"I think you need to be brave as a coach when you look at what you've got."


Reddan clarifies he didn't say these things himself at the time: "This is only something I realised with hindsight at the end of it."

"How do you take the lessons from this World Cup and move forward?

"With that level of planning that Joe and Declan have brought to these World Cups. Then you need to bring a massive adaptability.

"From 2015 to 2019 it was about strength in depth. From 2019 to 2023, yeah we have our strength in depth. We know we have a plan long into the future.

"So then the third part of it is let's stay in the present when we are there (at the tournament).

"Let's build a team that's brave enough to change or that's good enough to change, so you've got the kind of people there who can change and adapt.

"I think ultimately that's what the biggest lesson is. Trends in the game do change and staying with them is important."

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2007 Rugby World Cup 2011 Rugby World Cup 2015 Rugby World Cup 2019 Rugby World Cup Declan Kidney Eoin Redan Joe Schmidt Joe Schmidt's Legacy Rugby World Cup