Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Bigger Picture

RFU’s commercial director, Paul Vaughan says England’s bid to host the 2015 IRB Rugby World Cup “… was based on maximising revenue with the New Zealand World Cup not likely to be particularly brilliant from a financial aspect.” And The Guardian piles in with “… the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand set to bring in the lowest return for 12 years.”

I could not bear to read the Times.

Can this bullshit end please? The 2011 World Cup will NOT run at a loss ... not as far as the IRB are concerned. They will get the same massive £56m fee from the NZRU that France paid for 2007. It is the NZRU that will take the financial hit and loss of about $30m. The Old Farts in Dublin will get their filthy lucre, along with their NZ time late night kick-offs. The IRB will wear not a smidge of loss.

And maybe we are lucky we got it at all, as now the fee they want from the host will nearly double by the 2019 tournament.

Goodbye fans, goodbye true rugby nations. They can hide all they want behind claims of wanting to be a true global code, or getting Sevens into the Olympics (who cares?). Hell, if Paris had won the 2012 Games instead of London, Sevens probably would be in there ... instead of Morris Dancing or Cheese Rolling.

These shits will sell the game out to taxpayer owned banks and debt ridden Japanese sponsors. Japan ... its all about the growing the bank balance, I mean ... game! The Home Unions, having had their way with kicking the ELVs in to touch (without even considering the ‘E’ stood for ‘experimental’) are now going to sew the next 10-15 years of World Cups up for their school chums. Italy must be fuming, as will be SARU at having their bids probably derailed by bidders being ‘recommended’ by the selection process.

Its not just all about the Tri-Nations ...

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Wrong again

This is getting boring.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

We'll win.

Maybe by 22-16 ... seems to be the Tri Nations most popular score.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Tri Nations: looking forward

I sat up late last night when I got home, and I watched the final Lions Test against the Boks. I think talk of the match being a ‘dead rubber’ was unfair. Sure the series was lost for the Lions, but they definitely had their pride to play for (see what I did there?). These tours are hard for the Lions: the odds are always stacked against their squad in terms of real preparation and team bonding, and so it was always possible they would really get it together for the last Test, especially against a Springbok team with 10 changes.

Even Evil Eddie Jones thought so before the game.

Last night the Lions played all the footy. Ricky Flutey showed real class at 12 (making Shane Williams’ second try), as did Rob Kearney the fullback and unstoppable No.8 Jamie Heaslip of Ireland stood out. They deserved the win, after going close last week. Hell, even Phil Vickery produced a great comeback performance against ‘The Beast’ up front. I really enjoyed watching the game,
and it actually relaxed me a little bit about us playing the Boks now.

This Tri Nations is going to be tough, but very hard to call. Before the Lions tour I thought the Boks looked awesome and would whitewash it - after all we had been poor to shit, and the Wobblies were looking to build fast under Dingo Deans, but now I am not so worried.

Aussie had a flattering two Tests against Italy, and did not put France away. South Africa have enough depth and fire in the belly to beat all visitors on their home turf, but they have to travel away too ... and I can't help feel their ill discipline may become a monkey on their back this season. Last night their new cap N0. 6 Heinrich Brussow seemed set on picking fights constantly, and Pierre Spies chased biff as much as he could once subbed on. Add Matfield, Botha and Burger to this motley crew and they will see red. Brad Thorn may be busy.

Sure their superboots like Frans & Morne Steyn can kick to Mars, but I still fancy our back three (whoever they are) to catch, kick or carry it back at them.

I guess the real flavour this year is rebuilding. All three sides seem to have a core of quite experienced players being bolstered by a new flock of bolters or debutantes ... Super rugby certainly throws up freaks every year. And that puts all the teams in the same boat, only halfway through this World Cup cycle of four years.

We certainly go in as underdogs, but that is overdue. Let Peter de Villiers sweat it out as the favourite’s coach, then trip over his words under pressure.

I’m now very much looking forward to the 3N - it should be a classic given the uncertainty and tension over form, mixed the bristling physicality of all three squads. That recently concluded Lions Tour of South Africa produced a great mix of brutial forward power and expansive back play, plus the return of test mauls and excellent lineout & scrum play. ... that mix of skills and body type that do make rugby a great game, especially at the pinnacle of Test level.

So now we can stop bashing our All Backs and get behind them for the next few months. After all, givien our recent history, we are supposed to be peaking now, two years out from the World Cup. Instead, we are rebuilding, soul searching and looking forward. Maybe this is Ted’s master plan?