Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Mind the gap?

Not unexpectedly the absence of a northern hemisphere team in the RWC 2015 semi finals has led to an orgy of hair-tearing and teeth-gnashing amongst the nation’s media about the apparent skills chasm between the hemispheres.

It really should come as no surprise, however, that New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, consistently the top three teams in the world over the last 12 years, all reached the semi finals. Argentina, meanwhile, are clearly now showing the benefits of playing all 3 of those teams on a regular basis in the Rugby Championship – 9 times each since 2011.
The ritual self-flagellation by northern hemisphere hacks ignores the fact that Ireland played some highly skillful, pacey rugby for most of this tournament, while both Wales and Scotland took their respective quarter-final southern hemisphere opponents right to the wire, matching them for resourceful and inventive rugby in the process, with South Africa and Australia only just squeezing through to the semi finals by the skin of their collective teeth.

And even poor old England, much castigated for their failure to get out of their Pool, were playing with plenty of skill, pace and innovation as little as 7 months ago, before Lancaster and co suffered a catastrophic loss of nerve and inexplicable change of tack.

Time, perhaps, to get a little perspective?

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