The Mole isn’t sure when this article was published; he’s only catching up on it now.
Brigadier General Toland makes the point that there are a number of good players contracted to Leinster who aren’t going to be in their match-day squad for their first Heineken Cup match against Montpellier. And apparently they should be playing for Connacht.
Confessing to some confusion over this argument comes easily to the Mole in this instance. He’s pretty sure he’s in good company.
Toland’s article is similar to so many of those that are written with Connacht’s best interests in mind. It doesn’t really stand up to critical analysis.
“Yes these players [Hagan, Carr, Cronin] were important for Leinster’s negotiation of early Pro 12 matches during the RWC but now Carr could be back in Connacht as too Hagan and possibly Cronin, along with Annett and many more.”
That’s essentially an irrational viewpoint, or at least one that disregards a hell of a lot of assumptions that fuel capitalism. Hagan, Carr and Cronin used to be contracted to play for Connacht. They fulfilled those contracts, and then were signed to play rugby for Leinster. Why should they play for Connacht now? This part is a bit muddy.
Leinster are competing [albeit indirectly at this stage] against Connacht for the Heineken Cup, and competing against them directly for the Pro 12? Why should they ‘loan’ them players? That’s a fairly relevant question, before we get any further.
Secondly, part of the article concerns itself with Leinster starlet Andrew Conway, who apparently has been badly served because he doesn’t have 36 caps for Australia.
“Why then is Conway playing in Stradbrook miles away from an international cap?”
Good question. Maybe it’s because he has been injured for the last two months.
Conway was getting starts as an 18-year old under Cheika and scoring tries as a 19-year old last season under Schmidt. His season ended in February last year with an ankle injury that required surgery in order for him to make it back in time for the Junior World Cup, and it’s another ankle injury that has precluded any involvement in Leinster’s 2011-12 season to date.
The idea that Leinster should let one of their most highly rated young players go to play for Connacht – when he’s injured, no less! – is pretty f*cking bonkers, it has to be said.
“The solution is an immediate change in the culture which exists between the provinces that can, not just allow or facilitate temporary loans/transfers of players, but more importantly encourage the players themselves to want to play at the highest level while remaining in Ireland.”
That’s an entirely unrealistic idea. Let’s run through some examples. Let’s take, for example, Leinster. At the beginning of this season, Leinster had no fewer than four outhalves – Sexton, Madigan, Berquist and McKinley. Under Oberstleutnant Toland, Madigan is shipped off to Connacht to be the best he can be. Unfortunately, Berquist then suffers a catastrophic leg injury that will keep him out for a long period, and the incredibly unlucky Ian McKinley is forced to retire from the game.
Do Leinster get Madigan back from Connacht? Are they then accused of ‘cherry-picking’ the best Connacht players, as they were when Carr, Cronin and Hagan [two of whom are born-and-bred Leinstermen and graduates of the Leinster Academy, the other from Limerick] moved from Connacht to Leinster when their contracts were up?