Rugby: Ireland to Practice Holding Ball
It has emerged that Ireland rugby players will spend the next two weeks learning how to hold and throw a ball after another defeat in the Six Nations Championship at the weekend.
The Irish Rugby Football Union has demanded that players who earn hundreds of thousands of euro a year each take a specialist courses in “Ball Holding and Throwing” it became clear that they were having serious issues with basic skills. The course will involve them standing still on a field and holding the rugby ball for hours at a time.
|He nearly had it: Sexton tries to teach a young lad not to drop the ball|
A more advanced course will then see players being played random noises through headphones whilst they hold a ball. Players will receive a certificate of competence if they don’t drop the ball.
Players looked dejected at the final whistle in Murrayfield where Ireland lost 12-8 to Scotland. The game ended when one Irish player was unable to complete a complicated “catch task”.
A spokesman said, “we have been stressing to the players from a young age that the objective is to throw the ball TO another player and not at the ground and most of them are still finding this very difficult despite the large amount of money we give them.”
|Mike McCarthy drops the ball|
Rugby relies heavily on human’s primary motor neuron skills and eye-hand co-ordination to catch the large foot-long ball – something Ireland’s professional players have been struggling with of late.
“Catching is a very hard skill to learn”, said one frustrated player after Sunday’s game, “most people wouldn’t realise it until they try it. It’s easily as hard as not dropping your lunch tray in the canteen or holding on to your poo when you're not in a toilet”.
|He-Slip: Captain Droppy drops the ball.|
The IRFU is said to be considering a change of coach as current Cork bainisteoir Declan Kidney has spent over three years trying to teach players to throw, catch and hold a ball with only moderate success.
A source close to the coach said “sometimes the players remember but recently they’ve been forgetting a lot. Dropping the ball just seems like more fun so it’s hard work trying to encourage them not to do it.”
|And again a few minutes later|
Others believe that Ireland rugby players may be spending too much time in front of mirrors practicing cringing “hard faces” for advertisements instead of practicing the three crucial skills of throwing, catching and holding.
|Carlow lad Seán O'Brien tries his luck at holding the ball|
If you're a championship-only hurling fan who's in a panic to sound credible around the square in Thurles before this Sunday's championship opener with Waterford then read our rapid catch-up guide...