Alan Quinlan was on Monday’s OTB AM to speak about the importance of discipline in rugby.
Following the Ireland U20s’ 45-17 loss to Australia on Saturday in which Ireland went down to 14 men after a red card for Ryan Baird, Quinlan had plenty of sympathy for the lock.
“It’s making it tricky for the players because in the heat of the battle some of these decisions are split-moment decisions, they’re not actually dirty they’re just kind of reckless and guys are getting punished for it,” Quinlan commented.
While the former Munster man agreed that Baird’s high tackle was worthy of a red card, he didn’t think there was any malicious intent behind it.
“If you see someone doing something intentional we all go, ‘yeah that’s a red card and he should be sent off and it’s wrong.’ Now you see people going off and you say ‘ah, it’s ruined the game.’ When you’re talking about it ruining the game it means you have a bit of empathy or sympathy for them.
“I just think discipline is a really key ingredient and people laugh at me talking about discipline, but I wasn’t that bad, I’d more of a bad name,” Quinlan joked.
While poor discipline can often lose games, Quinlan did admit that a bit of cynical play can also go a long way in winning games.
“Sometimes to win you have to be a bit ruthless and cynical in sport and just push the boundaries a little bit. Some people will jump on that and say it’s negative and it’s wrong, you are cheating as such but sometimes you need to push it a little bit,” Quinlan said.
While the U20s did eventually succumb to a heavy defeat against the Junior Wallabies there was plenty of positives to take from the performance, as the boys in green were leading by seven points after 60 minutes.
“They [Australia] are a brilliant side and Ireland go 10-0 down and Baird’s sent off as well and you think ‘god, I fear the worst for them’ because it was always going to be difficult.
“Incredibly on 59 minutes I was about to send a tweet saying ‘Andy Farrell is rubbing his hands with what he’s seeing here.’ The effort level and the composure and just the quality of the side was phenomenal,” Quinlan maintained.
While Ireland’s chances of making the semi-finals of the U20 World Championship are slim, they could sneak through provided they get a bonus point win over Italy on Wednesday.
The sides meet in Santa Fe at 2.30pm Irish time in what will be their third match in nine days.