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Nicholas Bishop

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Joined January 2016

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Nick Bishop has worked as a rugby analyst and advisor to Graham Henry (1999-2003), Mike Ruddock (2004-2005) and most recently Stuart Lancaster (2011-2015). He also worked on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and produced his first rugby book with Graham Henry at the end of the tour. Three more rugby books have followed, all of which of have either been nominated for or won national sports book awards. Nick’s latest is a biography of Phil Larder, the first top Rugby League coach to successfully transfer over to Union, entitled “The Iron Curtain”. He is currently writing articles for The Roar and The Rugby Site, and working as a strategy consultant to Stuart Lancaster and the Leinster coaching staff for their European and Pro 14 playoff matches. Leinster achieved the double of European Champions Cup and Pro 14 league winners in 2018.

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Absolutely no idea whatever Cliff 😀

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Do you really feel both TPN and Toomua had a decent chance to transfer their UK form Cliff – with the constant to-and-froing?? I doubt it allowed for a clear view of their worth.

In terms of other Australians in Europe, I have little doubt that guys like Joe Tomane, Luke Morahan, Nic White (just off the top of my head) would be in the top 23-man matchday squad.

I will be reporting on them soon!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

He did Muzz, and that was remarkable in itself. I think the doctor told him it was a pinched nerve, so he even played the rest of the match in which it was broken…

I don’t know much about Keith Murdoch, but he seems to have been one of the great unfulfilled talents in NZ rugby (and there are not too many of those). Could play both sides of the scrum too.

Yes it is also remarkable to think that the Boks had a slight plus record over the All Blacks in the amateur days – except for a couple of years around 2007, that ascendancy (and on occasion even the rivalry) has not been maintained.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

It will be interesting to see what impact Nonu has when returning to SR in 2019 CJ… At the very least the comparisons between his play and that of the other candidates at 12 will be fascinating.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Also feel that some of the big guys back then weren’t so huge in frame – Willie-John, Meads and du Preez were all around 6’2, no more – but they all had big leadership and character. That in a way is why Martin Johnson was a throwback in 1997. He was really a very high-level ‘grunt’ lock, but people would follow him…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Steve Finnane once broke Graham Price’s jaw after punching him from behind. Pity he didn’t play against Wales again, he would have got a warm welcome 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Thanks Chook – you and yours have a great one too!

Prob at home this year, early hols next year to offset the winter bite.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Looking forward to seeing RG and the Tank develop further Hazzaaa. Which side of the scrum do you think TdT will end up on?

Kolbe has all the makings of a star since bulking up in Toulouse – quickest feet since Shane!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Exactly right Neil – and one of the main reasons JS came back to Ireland from Paris, where he was being worn out by the demands.

All comes back to an acceptance of the precedence of international rugby and players being managed towards that end – which means central or dual contracts. The clubs in England are being set up by their owners to be the pinnacle of the game, and that means there will always be a contradiction of aims.

As soon as WR builds in a window for rest, EPR fills it with games/activity. The sooner England has a really effective Players Association, one with teeth, the better.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

The Australian system is based around the success of the Wallabies James, but there don’t seem to be firm connections to the levels below. National coaches have little control of the system they are required to operate – so cannot for example influence what playing systems are used, the positions players play, their conditioning regimes etc…

If you accept that (as in Ireland) the game is minority, it needs optimise every single aspect of its performance, from youth systems and clubs up to SR and Test level.

Australia no longer appears to be producing the coaches which kept it ahead on the intellectual cutting edge of the game, either.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

The Borg – yes, you too will be assimilated Rob! Classic 😀

Ireland are at the beginning of the process of building depth in all honesty Rob. But against the ABs they did manage without Conor Murray, Sean O’Brien, Dan Leavy – and they wouldn’t have been able to do that even 2-3 years ago. It’s a process for a small rugby country with competition for the available athletes from the likes of GAA…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Good to hear from you Fin.

Wow! Brian Smith would be a turn up for the books! Would he be allowed to pick new assistants?

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

He wasn’t a big man – only about 6’1 or 6’2 – Tiny Naude was for example 6’5….

But Frik had the kind of athleticism that would be perfect for the modern game. He had great jumping ability (apparently his feet could pass a man’s waist, unassisted) for the lineout and he was a dynamic runner…

No doubt both he and Colin Meads could played managed he game as it is now…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

They might accept four wins and a loss Ralph – as long as the loss isn’t to England in Dublin 😀

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

You seem to have ‘elided’ Gerald and Conrad into one (admittedly great) player MZ!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

True – which highlights the gap between what is happening – or rather not happeneing – in the gap between youth levels and senior rugby. A noticeable number of good Australian players are now going to NZ to fill that gap.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

At the start he was just a big lighthouse in the lineout MZ – but under Stuart and Leo at Leinster he has developed an all-round game, and especially his hands and passing ability, which is fundamental to the way Leinster play…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

I don’t know if it’s still there, but the the Argentine prop Maurizio Horacio Reggiardo used to run a bar called La Cocina in Castres. That was a great place for a rugby-watcher…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

You need coaches (and enough of them) with the will to invest their time in developing young players RW – the support system around them (for example with Skelton’s dietary needs…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

This is a question of how promising young players are developed in the senior system Markus. Second rows like Skelton and Staniforth have been allowed to drift – Skelton overweight for far too long (see his new bodyshape at Sarries

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/it-was-a-light-bulb-moment-will-skelton-reveals-exactly-how-he-went-from-148kg-to-135kg/

Staniforth also was abetter player at Brumbies than he has been at the Tahs – so what is happening in the coaching/development process that ought to occur?

Look at the improvement Angus Taavao has made since returning to NZ from the Tahs.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

I am going to keep an eye on guys like Skelton and Nic White over the next coupla months MZ – they may yet have a WC 2019 chance that was unforeseen a few short months ago…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

“Seventeen and a half stones of pure Springbok beef on the hoof!” 😀

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

…and there we have the answer 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Watching him perform one of those ‘basketball’ style offloads always reminds me of the taller kid who could hold the ball up above his head, out of the reach of everyone else in the playground!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Yes I was talking to Graham Henry recently and he too was lamenting the way in which WA rugby had been cut off during the five-into-four process..

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin