Wednesday, 16 February 2011
To swallow or not to swallow...
I know that it has captured the imagination of the public at large and the words "exuberence" and "entertainment" are being liberally sprinkled around but, being a tad old school (which I know will come as a great surprise to many of you), I am afraid I have to admit that I just don't like it, mainly for the following reasons:
1. It smacks of the one thing of which English rugby is often (and mostly unfairly) accused - arrogance. I'm sure it's not intended, but the inference is that this try-scoring lark is so easy we can afford to arse about before we touch down. Not good. Far more effective, methinks, would be to underplay the celebrations - simply dot the ball down and trot back, the sub-text being that this is no big deal, we do it all the time.
2. Seriously, it's only a matter of time until Ashton drops the ball, with the inevitable fallout. So far he's only indulged when clear of defenders but the one-handed wrist-grip on the ball as he leaps into the air is stupidly high risk and I'd hate to be in his shoes if his antics were to cost England victory in a tight game.
3. Ashton's physique is not exactly whippet-like, which means that there's a more than reasonable chance that crashing to the turf from such a height could do some serious damage to his ribcage. To me it looked as if he'd winded himself after his fourth try against Italy - he's lucky not to have done more damage and it looks very much like an accident waiting to happen.
4. It's not even a decent swallow dive. Ashton's technique is severely deficient - way too vertical for a start - and if he's going to persist he needs serious work on what is currently no more than a turkey flop. Must do better.
All that said, Ashton is a superb rugby player and has transformed the way the England team play. Bottom line is that, as long as he keeps scoring, he can pretty much celebrate as he pleases.