Whatever happened to: Rugby Club Names?
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.