Saturday, 7 May 2011

A different Danny

Just thought I’d add my tuppence ha’penny’s worth to the chorus of tributes being expressed re Danny Grewcock, who is retiring from rugby at the end of the season (which is more than likely to be after this weekend’s game against Newcastle).

Big Danny has of course had his issues with referees on the field from time to time after the red mist has descended, but he has always been a hugely aggressive, committed and mightily effective forward (even [sigh] this season at the ripe old age of 38) whether playing for Saracens, Bath, England or the Lions and has always struck me (not literally, thankfully) as the type of player much valued by his fellow players, if not necessarily as much by the so-called experts of the rugby press.

Bath’s David Flatman writes a glowing tribute to Grewcock in The Independent, the main point for me being that Grewcock is very much “old-school” – and I say that very much as a compliment. By “old school” I mean that Grewcock has always appeared to me to embody the principle of “teamship” (horrible word) as promoted by Clive Woodward during his England tenure – where the team always comes first and where the whole point of playing the game is to make a contribution for the good of the team.

Grewcock’s career having straddled both the amateur and professional eras perhaps this should come as no great surprise. What is also true, however, is the level of professionalism he has shown over the years – when, for instance have you heard of Grewcock having fallen out with fellow players, or been arrested for drunken behaviour?

Compare and contrast with some of the self-styled “stars” of the professional game. And, yes, unsurprisingly I’m talking about the likes of Messrs Henson, Cipriani and Powell. It seems to me that their reasons for playing rugby are very different to Grewcock's - being simply to do with their own personal advancement which the team needs somehow to accommodate. Given that they have all reached adulthood (supposedly) during the professional era, it also strikes me as ironic that they appear to be wholly incapable of behaving professionally. And they are not alone – Ben Foden’s regular appearances in the celebrity pages and recent off-field antics should start to ring alarm bells while Delon Armitage’s ego appears to be barely under control. I’m also sure that I was not the only one to find Chris Ashton’s headline-grabbing antics during the Six Nations as being more than a little distracting.

They could, I'm sure, all learn a thing or two from Mr Grewcock.


RedYeti said...

Chris Ashton can hardly be put in the same category as Cipriani and Henson, surely? He celebrates tries on the field, without wasting anybody's time; it's not his fault the press were having a slow day and decided to blow it massively out of proportion. He's got a reputation now, despite half the Super 15 pulling out ridiculous pre-rehearsed celebrations after they score tries every week.... being enthusiastic and happy about scoring tries for your club (or country) can only be a good thing for the game. It shows a completely different mentality to, say, Cipriani, who seem not to care either way, except that losing his England place means he can't advance his career any further

Total Flanker said...

@ RedYeti - you're mostly right re Ashton. I just got the feeling during the 6N that he was beginning to believe in his own hype...