Sunday Papers: It's beginning to look a lot like "a bleak chasm" for the Irish provinces

Joe Molloy is joined by Trevor Hogan and Gordon D'Arcy to look through the stories this Sunday

With the Irish provinces all in action this weekend, Hogan and D'Arcy turned their attention to Leinster's performance against Toulon, and Cullen's comments after the match. 

Gordon D'Arcy highlighted the names that stuck out on the team sheets that Toulon could bring off the bench in the closing minutes, echoing the Leinster head coach's comments that stated that the French side were "playing by different rules".

He highlighted that "this is slowly moving away from a club game now to an international thing. The beauty of a club game was that you had players playing who were not internationals, but that was a full team of internationals". 

Meanwhile, Hogan added that the last twelve months have seen a huge shift in the way that we look at the game here at home, and that "it's looking like really bleak chasm as we face in to 2016 for the provinces anyway, and by extension for the Irish team".

Turning away from rugby, the panel looked at a piece written by Joe Brolly (possible presidential candidate) in which he claims that the self-help gurus who value mindfulness above everything else drive him up the wall. Brolly points almost exclusively to Enda McNulty in this regard, something which both Hogan and D'Arcy take exception to.

D'Arcy said "this is a man who has obviously never had a conversation with anyone who has worked with Enda McNulty or has never had a conversation with Enda McNulty [...] Enda is about team development and working for each other".

Hogan added that "it's very hard to go through someone's tweets and isolate them, they can read a little bit like there's no meaning to them, and he's judging him on that [...] it's not a wishy-washy, empty thing to say that you need to develop as a person". 

With Jose Mourinho having been sent packing by Chelsea, the panel also talked about what happened to the Portuguese during his recent spell at the club. They picked up on a piece by Richie Sadlier where he talks about how the dressing room can be lost, and what role players take in that process. 

Hogan stated players do express discontent with management, and for himself, "there would be times early on when we weren't getting picked under Alan Gaffney in Munster [...] and there were a few of us that would be giving off in the canteen area and stuff that we weren't getting picked. There was maybe a little bit of disrespect, but never to the levels that Sadlier talks about". 

D'Arcy also highlighted that keeping a big squad happy is very difficult, and it comes down to man management: "some coaches have it, we've both played under coaches that had great man management aspects, and then we had coaches who are terrible at it. We probably won't name them!". 

However, both players agreed that some of it comes down to the players, and setting a certain standard. At Leinster, that role was played by Brad Thorn almost as soon as he joined the club: "he was one of the standard bearers in the team, and he was horrified with the amount of personal grooming that was going, as he pointed out to Trev".

However, the two aren't always mutually exclusive as Hogan pointed out: "You can have a good culture with good personal grooming though as well in fairness". 

You can listen to the full paper review below: