Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Silly season

There’s a joke that does the rounds in the build up to each and every Rugby World Cup – you know, the one about the various national responses to New Zealand’s Haka…the one where the English chat about the weather before doing a Morris Dance, the one where the Americans don’t turn up until almost full time and in future years amend the records to show that they were in fact the most important team in the tournament, the one where the Irish split into two, with the Southern half performing a Riverdance, while the Northerners march the traditional route from their dressing room to the pitch via their opponents dressing room etc etc etc

According to the joke, two members of the South African team claim to be more important than the other 13 whom they imprison between the posts whilst they claim the rest of the pitch for themselves. However, in reality, Springbok coach Jake White has apparently proposed something equally as silly.

Yes, silly season is upon us. White, it seems, has asked the rugby authorities about reviving a dance that was last used more than 80 years ago in order to psyche up his players.

"The history books show that the 1926 Springboks performed a Zulu war dance in major matches on their tour," White suposedly told The Star newspaper in Auckland.

"New Zealand have come up with a new haka recently and, quite honestly, I would like to use ours as a challenge to them.

"We have done this challenge before in our team room …but it hasn't really taken off as an idea to do it public. Not yet, anyway," said White.

Oh come on, Jake, get a grip! I can only hope and pray that this is a wind up. That a dance was performed over 80 years ago does not, in anyone’s book, make it a tradition. Are you saying that your players aren't psyched up enough before a international match? What does that say about your motivational powers? What’s more, how pathetic will a squad dominated by white guys look while trying to perform a Zulu dance? Exactly how many Zulus are there in the Springbok squad?

If this ever comes to pass the RFU should absolutely insist on the England team performing a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs before each game. Either that or get Matt Dawson back for a ballroom dancing demonstration.

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