Wednesday, 31 August 2016

In the Navy

No sooner had we recovered from the excitement of (yet) another new England kit, along comes an alternate change kit and this time it’s navy.

Apparently the front of the shirt features a “unique” graphic of the St George’s cross printed into the fabric, the dots on the shirt being inspired by “the tradition of wearing bow ties during games throughout the 1900s” or some such bollocks.

Even Dylan Hartley is getting in on the bullshit:
"To have the Rose and St George's Cross on while we play highlights the commitment to our country, to our history and to rugby." 
 Ye Gods.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara

Loving the news that Fiji’s triumphant Sevens coach, Ben Ryan, has been bestowed with a traditional chief’s name by the people of Serua.

Ryan, or Ratu Peni Raiyani Latianara (as he is now known) also gets three acres of land on Serua to accompany the title, this in addition to the Companion of the Order of Fiji already presented to him by Fiji's President Jioji Konrote.

Friday, 12 August 2016

All Hail the Gods of Sevens

Ok, ok, I take it all back, Sevens isn't that bad after all :)

Fiji were quite brilliant and simply on a different planet to any other team - huge congrats to them and to their ENGLISH coach Ben Ryan.

Well done also to Team GB for their Silver Medal and to Japan on their 4th place finish - both performing well in excess of expectations. And let's not forget the Women's competition where Australia in particular were quite excellent.

All in all a triumph, I'd say...

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Name calling

I read recently that Exeter Chiefs have been urged to drop the club's Native American imagery because it is insulting and evokes Britain's forgotten imperial American past.

Saracens meanwhile are being encouraged to ditch their brand as it is apparently offensive to medieval opponents of Christianity, while Sale Sharks has been censured by environmentalists for damaging the reputation of large bitey fish...

Monday, 8 August 2016

Blah blah England kit blah blah

So, it’s that time of year again when the RFU launches yet another England shirt in an attempt shamelessly to part fools with their money.

And this year there is of course the usual bollocks about identifying with the heritage of the game (some nonsense to do with the neckline and a sew-on rose) plus the same old rubbish about innovation.

This kind of thing used to really wind me up but after many years the RFU have finally succeeded in boring the crap out of me...

Buy it if you want to, I really don't care.

Mr Cotter, you have a visitor...

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Greatest Show on Earth

Four years has, somewhat unbelievably, passed since London 2012 and here we are again as the Greatest Show on Earth – the Olympic Games – arrives in Rio.

And this time there really is something to get excited about as Rugby returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1924.

Ok, so it’s Rugby Sevens and not “real” Rugby (see previous rants on that particular subject), but nevertheless it’s difficult not to get excited about the fact that, probably for the first time, Rugby will be exposed to a truly global audience.

There is no doubt the inclusion of Sevens in the Olympics has the potential to change the landscape of the game. For many countries, it’s an opportunity to break into the upper echelons of the sport without the huge infrastructure investment required to succeed in the XVs version of the game. Six different countries winning events in last season’s World 7s Series bears testament to this, with the likes of Kenya (and even Scotland :) ) picking up victories. Who will win the Olympic title is therefore anyone’s guess.

Olympic inclusion also means that countries hitherto uninterested in Rugby may decide that investing in the sport is now worthwhile. Olympic host Brazil, for example, has seen a rugby development programme already reach 175,000 players, coaches and young match officials since its launch last year, while earlier this year China announced a plan to develop mass participation with the aim of having 1 million rugby players in China by 2026.

The Olympics will undoubtedly help grow Rugby worldwide. The direction in which it grows, however, is (at least for me) a cause for concern. As more countries embrace Sevens, is there a danger that the XVs game will remain the preserve of the powerful few and will cease to grow, effectively stagnating as its popular little brother goes from strength to strength?

Still, all things considered that’s probably a concern for another day. For now I intend to sit back, crack open a beer and enjoy the Greatest Show on Earth.