The Rugby World Cup will be won by the team that scores the most points in the Final on November 2nd. That is sport at its simplest but along the way there are many more bases that need to be covered in order to get there.
The training, strength and conditioning are obvious, the sports psychology to instil belief less visible but no less important.
It’s also critical to make sure that everything is covered in terms of what might go wrong and over the weekend we caught a glimpse of how one of those areas was also being covered off by the IRFU.
A number of advertisements in the Sunday Times and Sunday Business Post saw William Fry wishing the team the very best of luck while highlighting that they are the official legal advisers to the Irish team in Japan.
World Cup rules mean that any player shown a red card during a match or subsequently accused by match officials of having committed an act of foul play during the match that merited a red card, must appear at a hearing of a judicial committee in Tokyo.
The committee will comprise of an experienced independent senior lawyer as chair and two panel members selected by tournament officials from a panel of former international coaches, players and referees.
At judicial committee hearings the panel will consider evidence presented on behalf of the player and decide whether the player should be suspended from the tournament.
Suspensions can rule a player out for one game, a number of games or the entire remainder of the tournament, depending on a range of factors including the nature of the offence and the player’s disciplinary record. As a result, they can have a profound impact of a team’s chances of success.
Australia are already facing this prospect following the citing of their number 14, Reece Hodge, for an alleged dangerous tackle against Fiji in their opening game. Hodge will appear before a hearing of a judicial committee in Tokyo at 15:00 today.
William Fry’s role with the Irish team means that if any Irish player is called to appear before a judicial committee, a senior partner from the firm’s Sports Group will provide advice and present evidence to the panel on the Irish player’s behalf.
It has to be hoped that he will not be needed but the fact that he is ready to go is a measure of the attention that goes into every small detail.
William Fry are long time advisers to Irish Rugby and were part of the advisory team behind the bid to host the Rugby World Cup here in 2023. They are also the legal advisors to several other national and international spoorting bodies.