Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Shame, Shame, Shame

Rugby (the only real sport).

Wales played arch-enemy England on Saturday. England won the match by far too many points to not enough (30 - 17).

The score did not adequately reflect the less than mediocre spectacle provided by both sides. After the match, the players, coaches and managers should have been made to stand with heads bowed in front of the posts, begging the Great God Rugger for forgiveness for such a pathetic display.

Welsh lock Alun-Wyn Jones should have been red carded for his unsportsmanlike, ruthless, callous, and quite deliberate trip. Such behaviour has no place on the rugby pitch, no matter how much it is condoned by namby-pamby soccer players. But apart from Jones's unforgivable tactics, the two teams provided nothing more than a pathetic display of handling errors, unnecessary kicking, poor ball skills, and lack of insight. The players could just as well have stayed in the changing-rooms during the first half, leaving the ref to jog up and down the pitch, perhaps co-ordinating his movements with those of the linesmen—the spectacle would have been just as exciting and enthralling as that put on by the players: a pathetic display of hopelessness.

These are supposed to be professional rugby players? The best of their countries? I went to a rugby-playing school (Woolverstone Hall) in the 1960s. Our sports master was, thankfully, a Welshman called Mr Evans (well, I never), who stood for no nonsense and knew his rugby inside out. If Mr Evans were alive today, he'd explode, seeing such a collection of basic handling errors, lack of vision, and quite unnecessary kicking. The two teams would be down on Orwell Field, practising passing, dummying, side-stepping and all manner of other things rugby, up and down the field for hours on end until they can do it blindly. And no dinner, either.

And as for Alun-Wyn Jones, he'd never play again.

It seems that those who guide the sport have got their knickers in a twist, thinking that rugby is all a question of power. Sumo wrestling it's not, for heaven's sake! Okay, the forwards need to be big (well, big-ish), but the halves and three-quarters do not need to be the large and often muscle-bound entities so often seen nowadays. They must be agile, fast, able to run with he ball, to side-step, to dart in and out, to sell a dummy… Oh, and for this to occur, the ball has to be passed out from the scrum, via the scrum half (who really must know how to pass) to the fly-half and on via the centres to the wing. And line up! And back up! And do all the basic things that rugby requires. And forget the idea that brute force alone will win a match.

Come back, Mr Evans. All is forgiven.

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