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Thursday, February 02, 2006

[Sport] Thanks for all the help Australia

Welcome to the World of Stupid Australian Ideas about Rugby (WSAIR).

It seems that every day Australians are coming up with zany “whacked out” ideas about what would be good for rugby. Bless their little [black, cold, emotionless] hearts.

Jerseys with no numbers

The New South Wales Waratahs (I believe it is once again in vogue to have the place in the team name) are going to try out their new playing strip in a pre-season game against the Canterbury Crusaders this weekend. Most notable about the powder blue uniforms is the absence of numbers on the back.

The numbers have been replaced with the players’ initials. So Loti Tuqiri (pictured) has LT on his back instead 11. The number is now situated on the left leg of the shorts. For those with a hyphenated surname the initials are of their surnames (i.e. Sam Norton-Knight is NK). Luckily for the ‘Tahs there are no double-ups, though they may have to be selective about who they hire in the future.

"We felt there was too much fixation, internally and externally, on the numbers the players had on their backs," Waratahs head coach Ewen McKenzie said. "The players shouldn't be inhibited by their run-on number. The Waratahs aren't about who plays 10 or who plays 13 because those positions are only temporary on the playing field."

It is then a bit ironic that at the bottom of the Waratahs’ own page on the subject they have their players listed by number and not position.

The numbers are there for reason retards! It’s not for you; it’s for people watching the game. This means: fans; commentators and referees.

What about the #8? Does he still have to wear a number?

Young players

The new Western Force franchise wants to have 17 year old David Pocock on their team roster. The Australian Rugby Union and the International Rugby Board do not allow players younger than 18 to compete in senior tournaments (probably why they are called SENIOR tournaments). And so Pocock has to wait another year. What a sad story. The ARU, and hence the IRB, must be monsters!

Zimbabwe-born flanker David Pocock, 17, isn't in Coach John Mitchell's playing squad of 28 for tomorrow's pre-season match against the Blues in Auckland after an Australian Rugby Union (ARU) ruling that no one under 18 can play senior rugby.

Pocock said: "When I was on the field I didn't feel intimidated at all. If you're good enough, you're old enough.”

David has missed the point somewhat. Seventeen year old boys are still developing physically and mentally. If you’re good enough, then you’ll still be good enough in a year.

Why does the Western Force think that taking a high school kid is going to make their team better? Let’s look at Maurice Clarett. He wanted to join the NFL, he was too young. A year later when he finally joined he sucked and was dropped before playing a game. He was later arrested for some stupid criminal thing. The NBA is loaded with high-school players who are loaded with talent and then suck when they get to the senior level.

Just let the boys mature a bit before making them run into the tacklers.

Pacific Tournament

In late 2006 the Australian Rugby Union voted against New Zealand and for Japan to get the hosting rights for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. NZ won that bid.

After we noted the knife in our back from our closest neighbours we asked: “et tu Australia?” Australia replied: “We did it for the good of the game, to make it more international”.

Not long after that decision the ARU made another one: to pull out of a yearly IRB tournament designed to help smaller rugby nations (like Japan). How ironic.

The new tournament is part of a £28m [NZD$72.5m] IRB investment programme for developing countries.

"This competition presents a marvellous opportunity for the 60 best locally-based players in each union to gain experience in a higher level competition and press their claims for national selection", said IRB's Bob Tuckey.

New Zealand is still in it. Our Junior All Black team (which is actually just the B-squad) will play against Japan, Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, all the time gaining good international experience. As will their opponents, but most importantly it will bring in money to the smaller Pacific unions which desperately need it.

Thanks for the help Aussie. Maybe you should just stick to cricket, go ruin that.

1 comment:

mike said...

Letters on the backs of players' jerseys is nothing new - in fact a number of teams in the UK (such as Leicester and Bristol) use A, B, C, etc instead of 1, 2 ,3, etc. Of course, they still have a link to the position played, even though, to further confuse matters, Bristol uses the letters in reverse order to Leicester, or is that the other way around?

The Aussie suggestion is quite annoying. It's a case of bad design - as you mention, rugby spectators and commentators expect to see numbers, and we all know that said spectators and commentators could do without the extra processing their already overloaded brains will be forced to accomodate. But, seriously, players are still required to play in set positions, and while a centre may occasionally swap places with a winger, you're not likely to find too many props covering a fullback's defensive territory.

Next thing you know, the Aussies will want to banish the distinction between forwards and backs (i.e. have no lineouts, scrums, etc - which they're no good at anyway), get rid of all those complicated rucks and mauls, introduce progressively smaller shorts and maybe smooth out all the sharp edges on the rectangular playing field so their players don't cut themselves. Yeah, a game with virtually no rules, short shorts, played on an oval field - that'll do them.