Oldschool wrote: Laighin Break wrote:
You've identified a different problem there.
Only 4 games before the Heino suggests that they might be undercooked rather than battle hardened.
I don't know what the stats are but it's likely that the PRL teams struggle most in post Lions/RWC seasons due to the fact that they usually contribute the bulk of the players to Lions squads and England typically do better in the RWC than the Pro14 teams so there is less time to integrate players and/or exhaustion is an issue.
A solution to those issues for the PRL is not obvious.
Perhaps the club's should be getting paid (or paid more) for supplying players to Lions/RWC squads
That might offset the likely loss in revenue due to the likelihood of earlier than usual exit from the HCC.
Considering they're spread across 12 teams rather than 2 or 4, they'd have to have >3 times the amount of Irish players in the Lions for that argument to have any validity.
They often do.
Nick Popplewell was the only Irish rep on one particular Lions tour. It's well known that the Welsh and English make up the bulk of Lions players, that's historically, not just during Garlands reign.
Ireland had 4 reps on the 1997 tour to SA. All four of them were capped - Anyone care to name them without looking it up.
Which probably explains why it's not just the PRL clubs that are struggling but also the Welsh Pro14 teams, following Lions tours and RWCs.
It's worth remembering that Wales has been the most successful Pro14 nation at the RWC too.
Ah but the plot (excuses) thicken.
There's hardly any point going back to Popplewell's era or the 90's if you're using it as an excuse to why the English underperform in Europe. The Irish teams started being contenders in Europe from the mid-2000s onwards so:
2005: 20 English (+3), 11 Irish (+1), 10 Welsh (+2), 3 Scots (+1)
2009: 10 English, 16 Irish, 15 Welsh, 4 Scots [Not as easy to split original squad and call ups on Wiki]
2013: 10 English (+4), 9 Irish (+3), 15 Welsh (+1), 3 Scots (+1)
2017: 16 (+1) English, 11 Irish, 12 Welsh (+4), 2 Scots (+3)
Total: England 56, Ireland 47, Wales 52, Scotland 12
Probably a bigger Irish influence than most would have imagined.