The42 Rugby Weekly

Is Ireland's rugby media too extreme, too harsh, or too soft?

Bernard Jackman gave his view on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

FOLLOWING ON FROM last week’s discussion about whether the media impact on players and coaches, the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly saw attention turn towards whether the Irish rugby media is too harsh or too soft.

Some critics of the Irish rugby media complain that the criticism of the national team’s performances isn’t strong enough, that there is too much acceptance of failure, a lack of journalists and pundits holding coaches and players to account.

But many Irish rugby supporters feel that the media in this country can often be too extreme and harsh in their criticism of the team, particularly in the wake of last year’s World Cup and the defeat away to England in the Six Nations last weekend.

jonathan-sexton Johnny Sexton during Ireland's defeat to England. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Gavan Casey was joined on today’s episode of the podcast by Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella, and posed an interesting question from Eric in The42 members‘ WhatsApp group:

“Are we the only country where the media reaction to results swings from zero to 100 or is it common in England, Wales, France, etc.?” asked Eric.

“Before we played England we were being talked up as potential Grand Slam winners whereas now it seems like we’re the worst team in the world.”

The lads discussed how social media criticism and reaction is sometimes perceived as being the mainstream media’s view of events, while acknowledging that one or two extreme articles or pieces of punditry can also be perceived as reflecting what the entire Irish rugby media believes.

Formerly head coach of the Dragons in Wales, Bernard gave his view that extreme opinion is more likely to grab widespread attention than balanced and reasoned analysis.

“I would say Wales is worse than Ireland, it’s a real goldfish bowl and the level of understanding of what reasonable success is would be quite poor,” said Bernard.

“Even someone like Warren Gatland, who brought unbelievable success to Wales, at times was ridiculed in certain elements of the Welsh press, attacked and stuff.

“I think the problem at the moment, the people who are reasonable and understand sport and understand that you have no divine right to win and that things take time and there will be ups and downs – those people don’t really engage that much.

“It’s the people who are extreme, the village idiots who shout the loudest, and we let them warp our opinion of it.

“I would have chats on a daily basis with people about all kinds of sports and they give their opinion and they’re reasonable people with no hatred or bitterness or feeling that one sport is better than the other. They also don’t go out and look for reasons to start arguments with other sports.

“Unfortunately, there’s a percentage of people at the moment who want to knock rugby. We went to Twickenham and played against a good side and lost, and we are critical of the elements that didn’t work but hopefully give an understanding of why and what has to come next, without being sensationalist and wanting heads on a plate.

“I don’t understand why people want to shout and attack and preach. Do they hold themselves to the same standards as they expect of everyone else?

“It’s a pity we have to talk about it because it’s becoming more and more common. I see people attacking players directly online and it’s a sad indictment of them. I hope no player or coach really listens to them. I would never listen to the opinion of someone who I wouldn’t ask for advice.

“In the old days, if you went to the pub and saw the village idiot in the bar, you’d sit in the lounge because you didn’t want to hear his opinions and you didn’t have to. Whereas now, there’s a way for them to actually give you their opinion.

“The answer isn’t to shut off social media because there are lots of positives to it.”

As well as debating whether the Irish rugby media is too extreme, this week’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly saw the lads discuss the fallout from Ireland’s Six Nations clash against Italy being postponed, while they also dug into that defeat in Twickenham last weekend.

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to figure out where we go from here — not only post-Twickenham, but potentially into September as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the rugby calendar.

The lads also discuss the media’s treatment of the Irish team which some fans and players believe is too harsh, but some non-rugby journalists believe to be too soft.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel