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Winning Rugby

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Matabele, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    OH NO. All my life spent living next door to the whingeing Poms, and now resident in serenely beautiful Sydney, all I get is the entire Australian rugby fraternity giving the English a run for their money in the complaints department.

    Don't get me wrong - I have the utmost respect for Australian rugby. I've always done so since I played against Kenny Wright as a schoolboy in Cardiff, Paul McLean when I was a fresh-faced 18-year-old and later Mark Ella and Michael Lynagh at the more ethereal level of top international competition. If not "made in Wales", then a Wallaby's fine by me.

    However, there is too great a tendency for idle contemplation of the Australian rugby navel, and it has been going on for too long, ever since the Wallabies scaled the heights - first in 1984, brushing aside all that the British rugby empire could offer, and then capping that with two Rugby World Cups in the '90s - great days indeed for the green and gold.

    Progress since seems to be on hold. Unfortunately, I detect a disregard, or even contempt, for northern hemisphere rugby, which this weekend kicks off the greatest, most intense, most viewed annual rugby tournament in the world - or in modern sporting parlance - on the planet.

    There will be more people at sold-out venues in Twickenham, Dublin and Edinburgh, or watching on television this weekend, than will follow the whole of the Tri Nations competition - so, come on guys, stop kidding yourselves about the relative strengths and appeal of northern and southern hemisphere rugby.

    The Super 14 and Tri Nations are backwaters in the order of world rugby, evidenced by the dumping of the Wallabies and the "unbeatable" All Blacks in the early stages of the 2007 Rugby World Cup - ironically, to England and France respectively, two of those Six Nations teams that play stodgy rugby, according to some. Let's be clear, though: it is winning rugby.

    Australia and the All Blacks lacked the intensity offered by their opponents, and they were physically mangled into submission by the Europeans, who fully understand and acknowledge that tight forward play is a huge part of the game - otherwise, you have rugby league. That is a message not understood here.

    In adversity, the disappointing response from the southern hemisphere is a clamour to change the laws of the game - not to get to grips with the real problem. This is almost as hilarious as the television cricket adverts featuring Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden, with their backyard battles and squabbling to change the rules.

    The powers that be within the game here bleat about the apparent competition from other sports which are said to be more entertaining, so the decree is "Change the laws of the game". Bunkum! Sorry, but is this only a game for the Aussies, or can the other 114 rugby-playing nations have a kick - or, dare I ask, a scrum?

    If the game is losing appeal, it is because the Wallabies are losing matches, and they will continue to lose matches until they move on from the style of rugby produced in the wrongly-named "Super" 14 competition. These matches may have some "entertainment" value, but they do not enthral. They may be fast and loose, but lack cutting-edge intensity. The ball may be in play longer, but it's what happens when the ball is in play that counts.

    Just ask the fans who have walked away in anguish. Aussies don't follow losers.

    Rugby union here was at its zenith when Australia won two World Cups in the glorious '90s. Neither success was born of free-flowing, so-called entertaining, running rugby, but by ensuring that the basics were done properly: sound defence and the right personnel in the important positions.

    Winning rugby is what created the buzz, the financial success, the interest - not the romantic myth of sparkling rugby.

    Who gives tuppence for the AFL or league or any other sport, for that matter? Can you imagine the competitive forces facing British sides with premiership football, where even ordinary players rake in more than $100,000 a week?

    Come on, wake up to the real world of professional rugby. It is clear for all and sundry to see - Australia need to focus on a solid foundation from which their creative and talented backs can launch themselves, not a needless obsession with a tinkering of the laws.

    Perhaps a good starting point would be to tune into Setanta at the weekend and cast an eye over Wales playing England or the Scots entertaining the French at Murrayfield.

    Perhaps one of the television networks, for starters, could launch a new reality program - "Prop Idol". Surely there must be a couple out there amid 20 million people?

    Gareth Davies is a former captain of Wales, a British Lion and is now a businessman based in Sydney.
     
  2. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Hmmmph. What do you expect a Welshman to write.
     
  3. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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  4. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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      I don't know.  But at least Wales can boast a win over the Poms at their last meeting.  LOL
     
  5. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    So is your country in Rugby Aus or Zim Matas??

    Either way they dont have much to spruik about these days
     
  6. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    I've always supported the team that are current World Champions Fro. 
     
  7. Garts

    Garts Well-Known Member

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    So you change alliances every 4 years when there is a new champion, good to see you are loyal  ;)
     
  8. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    no Garts if the same team wins he can squeeze 8 yrs in :)
     
  9. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    Okay spelling police - let's change that to "I have always supported the team that are THE current world champions".

    The Boks were actually the first team I chose to support in any sport (Arsenal were second).  I started supporting them at age 4 when I was playing in Joubert Park, on Twist Street, under the lights of Johannesburg's famous Hillbrow district. 

    Another boy was there playing catch and pass with a rugby ball with his Dad, and Dad and I joined in.  The ball had a Springbok on it, I asked what it was, got told and decided I'd support them.

    Photographic memory - chewy on ya boot. 
     
  10. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Photographic maybe, selective definately.

    So you are a rugby turncoat to 2 countries :)
     
  11. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    When I started supporting the Boks it was 1976.  Rhodesia were barred from any international sport but our best players were fed into the Springboks - do a search on Ray Mordt and Dave Smith for proof.  Both were Rhodesians that played for the Boks in the 1980 series against the Lions, won 3-1 by the Boks off the boot of Naas Botha. 
     
  12. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I can't believe it but after Fro being a spelling policeman for all these years I have finally caught him out!!!!

    definitely!!!!!!! (100 times)
     
  13. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    not the first time Ive been cought CW :)

    but maybe the frist bye yuo

    and just after Dan put a spell checker in too :)
     
  14. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    If it's Dan's spell checker it probably makes correct spelling incorrect. 
     

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