Friday, 15 June 2012

Whatever happened to: Rugby Club Names?

The introduction of a new Italian-based team, ‘Zebre’, into the Rabid Pro-12 Celtic League (or whatever it’s known as these days) has got me thinking.

Although I have not travelled widely in Italy, as far as I know the fields outside Parma aren’t exactly overrun with herds of meandering stripey horses.

Which brings me to my latest gripe about stuff that’s gone AWOL from rugby over the years – I am talking, of course, of the demise of traditional (or “proper”) rugby club names.

For instance, and using the English Premiership as an example, how many Sharks have been spotted in the Sale area, how many Chiefs do you see wandering the streets of Exeter and is Worcester really festooned with Warriors?

And, while the nicknames of Leicester (Tigers) and Northamption (Saints) do date back to the 1880s, was it really necessary for such nicknames to be incorporated into their respective names and, in Leicester’s case, their new abomination of a kit?

It’s even worse in the Southern Hemisphere of course where, for the uninitiated, it must be nigh on impossible to work out from where each team hails. Stormers v Force? Crusaders v Rebels? Sharks v Hurricanes? Really?

And as for the England SAXONS – I can’t even begin to describe my contempt.

I realise, of course, that’s it’s all about money, but to me it’s all somewhat misguided and smacks of the insecurity of a still fledgling professional sport attempting to ape a model developed in North America rather than having the confidence to rely on its own rich history.

Sadly it appears that the die is cast and nothing is likely to change. I cling on, however, to the hope that the die hard clubs currently hanging on to their history and identity – the likes of Bath and Gloucester for instance – will continue to do so and not be tempted to add some meaningless sobriquet in an attempt to sell more merchandising tat.

6 comments:

James said...

Couldn't agree more, although certainly in the case of Worcester, it is as much an attempt to distinguish the professional club from the amateur, which the professional side grew out of, but the two still remain as essentially separate entities.

Todd Grissom said...

All well and good, but educate a poor American.

Is a proper name just followed by RFC or are you just decrying the addition of whimsical monikers that bear no natural corolation with the team and it's home?

Todd Grissom said...

All well and good, but educate a poor American.

Is a proper name just "location/locale" followed by RFC or are you just decrying the addition of whimsical monikers that bear no natural corolation with the team and itss home?

Nursedude said...

Happy Father's day from the US.

Still, I think the design is pretty cool, even given the lack of Zebras roaming the streets of Central Italy.

Ciaron said...

I believe the Hurricanes name is quite apt, as the Wellington weather often resembles one.

And I think The Blues is a reference to the emotional state of the coaches, players, staff & supporters. But thats only a rumor.

The Chiefs well, the Maori royalty come from that neck of the woods..

Crusaders... F'd if I know.

John Birch said...

Have to agree. For a neutral watching some sort of geographic marker is pretty important as otherwise you have no idea what you are watching. You can have an emotional link with a place because maybe you've been there, or know someone from there. But a colour or an animal? Nah.

To make it worse the players come from just about anywhere as well. Its getting like soccer where the prizes go to the owner who can hire the best set of mercenaries.

Its also possibly why I get more and more disenchanted and less and less interested in professional sport - it seems so meaningless.