Another of a series of ramblings about odds and sods that appear to have gone missing from the game of rugby since I started playing back in the middle ages - and this time I reckon I've stumbled upon the most significant change to the game during my 14 year sabbatical...
No, it's not the fact that you can lift in the lineout, or that you have to stay bound in the scrum, or the frankly weird phenomenon of uncontested scrummages or even the introduction of the (mostly) insane ELVs. At the end of the day laws change and players ignore them for the most part - they're irritating in the extreme but have little significant long-lasting effect.
No, it's got nothing to do with the laws of the game - the biggest change is, in fact - and without a shadow of a doubt - the demise of the half-time orange slice.
Back in the good old days, come half-time it just didn't matter how hot it was, how hard you'd worked, how thirsty you were - no, the best you could hope for (and this quite often only applied to 1st XV matches - the other teams being simply not worthy enough) was a fairly unappetising slice of orange.
Forget isotonic sports drinks, forget even the the restorative effects of a sip of H2O - you were expected to revive flagging limbs and sagging spirits simply by sucking on a withered piece of citrus fruit for about 5 seconds. Furthermore, more often than not some bright spark had miscalculated and had divided the said fruit into 14 pieces, meaning that someone (guess who?) had to miss out. Believe me, as unappetising as it sounds, being the one player not to get to suck on a piece of orange was desperately demoralising.
As I often have cause to mutter - players today don't know they're born.