Given the amount of Leinster players who are part of the Ireland squad( there were 13 in the 23 against France), you quite often find talk and claims of bias towards the province in terms of selection. ‘If player X played for Leinster they would be in the squad’ is an argument quite often heard in the terraces or pubs around the country.
Speaking at the launch for Guinness Giveaway, Brian O’Driscoll was asked for this thoughts on this ‘bias’, rubbishing claims that there was any favouritism given to players because of the colour of their Provincial jersey.
O’Driscoll went on to make the prudent point that the public do not see the ability of a player in training, a point which is often ignored on social media.
I don’t understand the whole bias thing. Bias from who? From Andy Farrell who is English, Paul O’Connell who is Munster, Simon Easterby who was born in the UK? I just don’t understand. Gone are the political days of the 70s and 80s, and you might argue maybe parts of the 90s, that’s no more...
There’s a confidence and bias in Leinster because a lot of those players understand the lines of running and what Ireland are trying to do.
They play a very similar game plan and in fact were the instigators of that type of game plan in Ireland, and have been at it for four or five years of different evolutions of it.
Confidence comes from what players do on Saturday but it also comes from doing it every single day at training and we don’t see that, but I know that and having played with players and seen other guys cracking at training where they aren’t able to take messages on board or they can’t deliver very quickly after receiving information.
So you learn an awful lot about players the more time you spend with them. Bias isn’t around what jersey they wear it’s about what they’re capable of doing, and if they’re a better option that’s better for the team.
It’s not like Andy’s come from a provincial set up or where he’s worked with players before. I just don’t buy that.
Brian O'Driscoll On Mid-00s Ireland
Back in the mid-00s, Munster were a dominant European force with the rest of the provinces lagging behind. This was reflected in Ireland’s starting XV when there would often be eight or nine Munster players from 1-10.
O’Driscoll, who was an integral part of this team, obviously never felt an unfair bias towards Munster’s players, given their European dominance which was similar to Leinster’s current success.
Were people saying there was a bias in the 00’s when Munster were getting to finals and semi-finals of the European Cup and having six or seven out of eight in the pack because they were beating European teams up? No, because they were the dominant team. It's just the same now at the moment with Leinster.
I think it’s a bit easy for people to jump on that, but if Leinster continue to deliver performances and individuals continue to stand out it’s very hard not to pick them.
It’s hard to argue with the points Brian O’Driscoll makes, and fans in general would be well advised to take his words on board.
When Ireland play, we should treat all of the players as one and not look at them from four different provincial angles.