As I seem to spend most of this weekend commuting from Central London to Eton on trains running through Twickenham, I have not been able to avoid the rugby world cup. I now know that West London is populated entirely by Kiwis, Boks and Aussies and Waterloo station is a commonwealth sanctuary for over-exuberant travellers bedecked in cheap nylon flags and silly hats.
This does not make grumpy, it makes me happy as I have not been supping at the tables laid on by the banks and insurance companies nor paying Twickenham’s grossly inflated prices myself but have gloated at the demise of all six European teams who’s massive hubris has been pricked by rugby teams who seem to be (dare I say it) playing for pleasure.
Best of all are the Argentinians and Kiwis who are playing a style of rugby best described as fifteen man sevens.
As the BBC headline told it “HAPPY RUGBY WINS”
Stuart Lancaster take note – that was culture. Ambition, elan, ruthlessness and joy combined. Not borne of headmasterly principles, but unlocked from the heart. Lancaster had four years, Argentina created a new culture in three – and, as they demonstrated against Ireland in Cardiff, their one works.
Australia follow them and trailing in behind are the dour thugs from South Africa who employ trench warfare to win attrition-ally.
Boo to the Boks, up the Argies and power to your Kiwi elbow, this world cup is all about the various home nations RFUs eating humble pie and accepting they are operating in a league 2 six nations that will for some time to come live in the shadow of the Rugby Championship down under.
When I went on StubHub last night , I could find well over 2000 tickets for resale for both semi-finals – at face value. Even the final has plenty of spares and e-bay is reported to have been awash with tickets up for sale from speculative Brits convinced by the hype.
Face it guys, it hasn’t happened, we have not one team in the best four in the world and only Scotland have played to a standard expected of them. What has been missing has of course been a sense of humour. The po-faced utterances of Woodward and co in ITV commentary box, the ridiculous hyperbole of the media coverage (especially prior to the tournament) and the sullen realisation that for all our money – Europe aren’t very good- is the funniest thing about the European game.
Martin Landajo, the Puma scrum half has it so right!
“Football in Argentina is like that. But four years ago, Argentina didn’t play rugby like that. So we changed it. Us Argentinians, we’re Latins, we like to be happy all the time, it’s in our roots, and hopefully that shows in our rugby now.”
On the pitch, we have had to witness our teams paralysed by set plays and instructions on clear outs, escape routes and goodness knows what technical routines while the big four run rings round us! England have been exceptionally awful in our attitude. We simply cannot move on from the past and fire the management consultants who have contaminated our game for the past ten years.
This is Ben Dirs on the BBC website (again)
Had Argentina not been flatly rejected by the Six Nations in 2007, things might have been very different. Like France, Argentina might have been lumbering and conservative; like Wales, they might have been too one-dimensional; like England, they might have still been trying to discover who and what they are.
Instead, Argentina learned from the best teams in the world that success in international rugby stems from having an all-round game, from executing skills at pace and seeking space rather than confrontation.
I am supporting NewZealand and Argentina, down with the grim Springbocks and yah-sucks to the cocky Aussies! I love this game of rugby as they are playing it.
The link takes you to the post match analysis of Joubert’s refereeing culminating in a call for him to be extradited to South Africa and his passport confiscated – (sorry there’s no embed)
Hats off to Gavin Hastings – may he explode with Calvinsitic rage at the injustice of last night, Scotland were mightily unlucky not to win, but frankly – who cares.
For all the money – it is only a game!