Saturday, 20 March 2010

Players are important too

It may be that the difference between Wales being a mediocre side and their being a very good one is three or four players. Commentators have been getting their knickers in a twist about coaching, tactics and temperament - and they're all important. But sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the fact that players play rugby. The quality of performance can simply come down to who you have on the field.

Stuttering in defeat last week and comfortable in victory this: the difference being Mike Philips, Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees (and, almost unthinkably, was Warburton's replacement of Williams a net gain?).


Brit said...

And there's another factor too. The France-England game yesterday reminded me that all too often Rugby Union is a game where thousands of paying spectators and hundreds of thousands more armchair viewers sit through a couple of hours of highly trained athletes scrabbling about in the rain; and then the referee decides, according to his whim, who wins.

Gaw said...

True. But I could shoot Brian Moore. In the end he did the ref a favour - he was getting so much wrong himself he ended making the ref's misinterpretations forgivable (e.g. that lineout call in the last quarter - Moore was totally wrong and the ref dead right).

I don't know why he goes on about the rules so much. It's as if he's addressing an audience of enthusiastically pedantic amateur referees.

Brit said...

Moore is also, apparently, a deeply unpleasant man.

Most commentators pretend after a decision that they understand why the ref made it, and thus always agree with them, whereas Moore, unusally, takes them on with his own arcane interpretations and thereby further deepens the great mysteries of the Rules of Rugby, particularly scrum-related ones. I speak as someone who actually played in rugby matches as a schoolboy with only the vaguest grasp of the rules. I knew you had to throw it backwards but that was about it and I'm pretty sure the same went for all of my teammates and the teachers who refereed as well.

Gaw said...

It's astonishing really that a game as complex as rugby is at all popular. It's not just the rules - the tactical permutations and nuances are truly mind-boggling sometimes.

Brit said...

If you say so.