CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: Sometimes the here and now is most important
11:10am Thursday 6th September 2012 in Sport
IT seems that patience is a virtue that is becoming increasingly rare in sport.
Tables are produced in the first month of the season and managers, coaches and board members are under scrutiny from the first whistle.
I’m a firm believer in giving a bit of time to allow things to settle, perhaps a trait that is down to the teams that I follow being perennial slow starters.
But in some circumstances you cannot afford to look to far ahead; hitting the ground running is a necessity.
Warren Gatland was confirmed as head coach of the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday and his appointment will have served to focus the minds of around 60 or so players who are dreaming of being on next year’s tour of Australia.
It may be a long season but the jockeying for position starts now – players need to impress in the league and in Europe so that they feature in the autumn internationals, then they need to impress against the southern hemisphere big guns, then they need to impress against their closest rivals in the Six Nations.
There is a lot of impressing to be done and the two Newport Gwent Dragons hopefuls are in the most competitive area.
Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau are at a disadvantage in that they are not in Europe’s premier competition so they cannot afford to work their way slowly into what will be a very long season.
With Warburton, Ryan Jones, Tipuric, Ferris, O’Brien, Heaslip, Rennie, Denton, Strokosch, Robshaw, Morgan, Croft and Waldrom in the mix there are plenty of options.
Gatland and his coaches will be watching their every move so none of the above will want to be playing catch-up.
Nor can Chris Coleman and his Wales team afford a slow start in their World Cup qualifiers. They are not afforded the luxury of working their way into the campaign, of having a bit of a hit out and finding out where they are.
With Belgium tomorrow and Serbia next Tuesday it is entirely possible that dreams of Rio could be quashed just four days after the first whistle sounds.
For Coleman it has to be right here, right now.
His Wales future will have been shaped by 180 minutes of action when he walks back down the tunnel in Novi Sad at around 9.15pm on Tuesday... Brendan Rodgers and Andre Villas-Boas don’t know how lucky they are.