With the nightmare of the World Cup in Japan finally consigned to history as the Andy Farrell era of Irish rugby got underway, it is somewhat ironic that the new boss’s very first tournament will have a direct influence on Ireland’s next World Cup campaign in France in three years’ time.
For all the elements that make up this brave new world for Andy Farrell and the Ireland team as they head into the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, it is one of the fundamental lessons from the disappointments of 2019 that will register the strongest on matchday one.
New Zealand hooker Dane Coles defended England’s ‘V-formation’ response to the All Blacks haka before the World Cup semi-final, joking that the RFU “earn a shitload of money so they’ll be able to pay the fine.”
And that includes World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, which has been stunned by the huge numbers being racked up in terms of television viewers and social media engagements as well as the good old-fashioned barometer of jersey sales.
World Rugby has cleared Ireland of accusations levelled by a Sunday newspaper that the IRFU applied pressure on the World Cup organisers to stop the Japan v Scotland match being rearranged in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis.