Keith Wood and Rúaidhrí O'Connor joined Joe Molloy for Monday Night Rugby this evening. There they talked about the opening weekend of the URC, the impact the extended rugby calendar is having on teams and much more.
The URC is back, although perhaps with more of a whimper than a bang.
Accompanying that wave of refreshment is the renewed debate about the structure of the season, one delved into right from the outset of MNR when Wood outlined that rugby itself “never really went at all”, that instead it took to “rolling on from one level to the next.”
“Rugby seems to be eating itself alive at the minute” said the former Irish star.
He continued to describe that arrangement as “pretty much never ending for everybody”, while O'Connor supplemented the viewpoint by pointing out that onlookers could “talk in circles about this all season.”
“The season is structured wrong, it’s never been fixed. There are too many games and while everyone knows less is more no one is willing to pull the plug and start again and rewrite it” he continued.
“When we get a good game it’s great, but really the season is set up to fail in many ways” he added.
Wood too believes it is “becoming increasingly very tough”, providing some observation as to why funding may play a bigger part if things continue to stay the same in the years to come.
“The squads that have the biggest strength and depth tend to be the ones that finish the games better and there’s no equity in that” he said.
“I keep saying that we’re still a very young professional sport but we do need to find some solutions to it and we seem to be a bit away from that at the present time.”
Strain on players, resources and second string teams all to contend with, MNR assured rugby fans that it doesn’t mean the games will be without some merits.
“This is the most realistic avenue for Irish teams to win silverware…Europe has been condensed and it’s no longer there for us so we need this tournament to be a far more compelling thing.
“It’s free to air so a lot more people are watching it and if they’re closer games it’s only going to be better for the provinces in the long run because they are going to be better battle tested” said O'Connor.
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