Irish Rugby watch out - George Hook is on the rampage. After some suggestions that the media treats the Irish rugby team more favourably than any other sports team - George Hook has stepped up to the plate. Ewan McKenna will be delighted.
Hook has previously decided that the Ireland team shouldn't incorporate New Zealand raised Jared Payne into the squad. His current bone of contention is that due to the upbringing that Kiwis have - they are far superior to anything that Irish rugby can produce, and singles out Mike Ross as the player who bears most of the criticism.
Hook himself even says that that may sound harsh:
Mike Ross wouldn't get within an ass's roar of a New Zealand jersey. That may sound harsh, but the All Black tradition demands that every player is able to perform the basic functions of the game to a certain standard.
Is Hook right? Or is his point based on the differences of approach to the game in New Zealand to Ireland. Is Mike Ross a better traditional scrummager than New Zealand's Owen Franks? Yes, no question. And for nearly every rugby team in the world - that would be enough for Ross to be selected ahead of Franks.
But New Zealand are a special case. Their scrum isn't especially strong. It doesn't strike fear into opposition like a South African, Argentinian, or
an English a Japanese scrum would. That's not what New Zealand rugby is based on. New Zealand want all of their players to have the amazing ability to pass well and quickly off both hands. They focus on speed and mobility - not brute scrummaging strength.
Would Ireland be better of picking a tighthead ahead of Ross who can pass and play in the loose and risk another fiasco like Twickenham in 2012? Or should we focus on improving the skills of the other 14 players on the pitch, and rely on keeping the scrum as a weapon.