I’m sitting down to write this post with no actual content in mind to fill it. It’s more out of a sense of obligation and in recognition of the fact that I’ve had nothing of substance to say for quite some time. Unless of course you count last week’s efforts on the word queue and the North Korea situation. Part of the reason I’m writing this is because I’m sick of the “ronery so ronery” title sitting at the top of my blog page. Those of us still carrying the world cup torch know that the hotly anticipated all European final is on in the early hours of tomorrow morning. For those supporters out there who’ve fallen off the wagon Italy (boo) are playing France (Oh ho ho) in a battle worthy of an Olympic 10 metre platform dive final. The number of dubiously decided close games in this World Cup have done nothing to further the game’s cause in Australia. Speaking of games in Australia, I made the mistake of watching a bit of last night’s Bledisloe Cup. For those of you not interested in the petty fights between League and Union fans I’ll give a quick summary of my problems with Rugby Union.
1. Its fans claim superiority over league based on the flowing nature of the game. Sure the ball is in play longer because there are less penalties given (only because Union refs actually play the advantage rule properly), but so much time is taken up setting up the lineouts and scrums, and the ball is constantly tied up in rucks and mauls. The game flows about as fast as an arctic river. Which is to say not very fast at all. Their tries are invariably scored in an all in “stacks on” on the tryline. Hardly the result of dazzling ball play, creativity or athleticism.
2. Union fans claim the moral highground because their scrums are contested. As far as I can see, contested scrums are not necessarily a good thing. They do not punish dropped ball to the degree that league scrums do, and they take so long to get right. I can understand the ref’s concern with a correctly packed scum, because if they go wrong people will get hurt. I was once told that international rugby players develop hemorrhoids due to the pressure exerted in the scrum. And I believe it.
3. Union aficionados always claim a higher level of sophistication and intelligence than their league counterparts – this claim was historically rooted in the fact that union players traditionally came from good private school, university educated stock. But no longer. These days the Wallabies backline (traditionally the smarter team members) are more likely to have a background in League than a private school education, and they’re much more likely to be getting themselves in trouble off the field (ala Wendell Sailor – those two factors probably go hand in hand). They’re also more likely to get caught out lacking sophistication on the field too, thanks to the wonders of modern television.
Really that link and a genuine dissatisfaction with the quality of last night’s game were the only reason I made this post. I suspect I’ll also get more response from particular female readers (Miriam and Robyn come to mind) than from any passionate male Union supporters. So over to you girls…