Rugby Archive

Rugby Union 24 October 2017

“A good night for the Gold”

Big Jim takes a look at Australia’s upset win over the All Blacks…read more

I know I make a habit of taking pot shots at Rugby. Its just easy to do as the game is in trouble worldwide and is in a tailspin here in Australia.

It was encouraging for the Wallabies to beat the All Blacks (who says I am always negative!). To be truthful we were more competitive this year against the best in the business than most of us thought they would be. This is a powerhouse All Blacks team and beating them is a triumph even in a game that struggled for significance.

It was good to see Stephen Moore go out a winner. He has been a very good footballer, not a champion, but should always be remembered as a great Wallaby. He stood up and led from the front at a time when the Wallabies and the game in this country was hitting rock bottom. It is also good for the younger Wallabies to taste success against the All Blacks. They just need to do it now when it matters.

I think having this Test match at the end of October is stupid. It will be interesting to see what sort of hype they can create about this game in a year when the Bledisloe Cup is still up for grabs.

The rugby calendar is so disjointed that its hard for the game to get any natural momentum. The whole game needs to be broken down and a world governing body (with teeth) needs to fix up the rules and work on a four year model like soccer does. Its sad as the base product is pretty good as it is a truly international sport. The problem is that it is run so badly on every level.

Rugby Union 17 October 2017

“Give us a spell Drew”

Big Jim knows why rugby union is in a world of trouble in Australia….read more

Fox Sports coverage of sport in Australia is reasonable. Not great but it could be a hell of a lot worse. Their rugby union coverage is one of their weaknesses. I nearly fell off my chair this morning when I watched snippets of an interview with Australian Rugby serial pest Drew Mithcell.

Drew Mitchell was an amazing rugby talent that played the Australian Rugby Union as fools for many years. He wasn’t the only one, but he is a long way away from being a poster boy for Australian rugby. So why is Fox Sports getting his opinion on what rugby needs to do to fix their many problems in this country?

Drew suggests that the Australian Rugby Union has spent too much time and money on the top end of Rugby in Australia. He says that we need to concentrate on “grass-roots” rugby over International and Super Rugby. Well, Drew have a look at your bank account and consider that the Australian Rugby Union system has done you pretty well. If, as Drew suggests, this is the problem then every person at the ARU should be shown the door as the International and Super Rugby stocks in this country are shedding their value faster than shares in a stock market crash.

I have said it a million times Rugby Union is an international game. That is its selling point. Make the Wallabies relevant to start with. After that try and fix Super Rugby If you can. That might have been stuffed up to a level that makes it unrepairable already in this country but at least give it a go. All the rest is just window dressing. Make a phone call to Fox Sport and beg them not to ask people like Drew Mitchell for his insights on how to fix the game here in Australia. Drew would struggle to change a flat tire. Maybe Cricket Australia could give Drew a job.

Rugby Union 31 July 2017

Rugby continues down the Stupid Road.”

Big Jim wonders if the Australian Rugby Union will ever do something right….read more

Rugby Union and Cricket Australia are having a Bonecrusher v Our Waverly Star like head bobber down the straight. Unlike the two great race horses the prize in this contest is the mantle of the most parenthetic run sporting organisation in Australia. I will be aiming up at Cricket this week but lets have a look at rugby’s recent stupidity.

Its Super Rugby Grand Final week and less than three weeks away from the first Bledisloe Cup test match. The All Blacks were made to look mortal against the Lions so you would think that there would be a brief moment in the sun where Australian rugby union could be getting some positive press. Ha Ha Ha Ha……sorry guys, that would be too easy. Here are the three rugby related stories I had to endure in resent days.

  • Bill Pulver (Australian Rugby Union CEO) says that there is no problem regarding the 2 Super Rugby franchises that are facing the axe. We are 8 months away from the new season and according to Pulver one of the franchise is apparently going to walk out the door gracefully and do the right thing for Rugby Australia. These are big words when both organisations appear to be standing firm with their barristers salivating over the prospect of doing further damage to the game. This is another shit storm about to blow up no matter what lies Bill meekly serves up to the media.
  • ACT Brumbies coach Steve Larkham has taken a pot shot at the Canberra Public for not coming out to watch the Brumbies get beaten by the Hurricanes in Canberra. I wonder if the 9,000 that actually turned up will have a smile on their dial after the coaches kind words. The Brumbies are going to slash ticket prices next year. I suppose they cant promise to play exciting winning rugby even though that is at the heart of the problem. People are getting sick of watching game after game decided by penalty kicks.
  • Lastly the Australian Rugby Union announced their new women’s 7’s competition. This should have been a positive story with womens sport a hot media topic at the moment. AFL, Soccer and even cricket (yes cricket) are making headway in the fight for television and sponsorship dollars and you would think that the Gold Medal winning Australian Rugby Union Women’s 7 team would leave the Australian Rugby Union in a perfect position to throw their hat in the ring. The new women’s competition is a University competition. Its not the big universities (so forget any alumni support) it’s a conglomeration of second rate Universities many from Universities well away from the geographical heartland of the game. Of course a University competition helps to dispel the Rah Rah silver tail tag image that rugby struggles with. I suppose the only positive is that no one will give a stuff so the damage will be minimal.

Rugby Union  10  July  2017

“The Best game I have seen in Years!”

Big Jim takes a look at the drawn series between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions…read more

Any sport played at its best is worth watching. Rugby Union is one sport that tends to be pretty average most of the time but when its played at its best there isn’t many things better. The problem is that its the man with the whistle (not the players) that control what type of game will be played.

Roman Poite was the best man on the park in Auckland. He actually let the two teams on the field play rugby. Most of the time the ref will blow the pea out of the whistle for the first 60 minutes of a rugby game and then let them play rugby for the last 20. On Saturday night we got 80 minutes of high octane football. The Frenchman controlled the game masterfully and proved that you can keep the game clean and well structured without having to use the whistle at every breakdown. Rugby shouldn’t be in trouble because the game can be great but the ruling bodies have to realise that it all starts with the rules and the man with the whistle in his lips.

The All Blacks deserved to win the game but the British and Irish Lions stood tough. Both teams played an exciting brand of football. The NZ commentary team are both boring and stupid and saying that the Lions were trying to slow the game down was laughable. The All Blacks played a “ball control” type of game where as the Lions tried to play for field position. Both sides competed fiercely at every breakdown and spread the ball when they got the opportunity. In the end the Lions got away with a draw as they kicked better but the game never appeared to be a penalty shoot out. Again this was down to the little Frenchman in control.

A drawn series is a fair result and its a good result for rugby in general. The big question is the one of having a “drawn series”. If it was a World Cup final then extra time would have been played. The players and the fans at Eden Park would have liked to have seen extra time played. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they got this wrong. I hate sitting on the fence (as I have made a name for myself by normally refusing to do so) but in this instance I don’t have a problem either way. There are pros and cons for both arguments and a drawn series is memorable and makes an interesting addition to the history of the game.

Rugby Union  3  July  2012

Finally some justice for the All Blacks!!!”

Big Jim takes a look at the historical loss by the All Blacks against the Lions….read more

I woke up on Sunday morning and had to listen to Jeremy Paul, former Wallaby, speaking about how hardly done by the All Blacks were on the weekend. And we wonder what is wrong with Australian rugby! For the rest of us it was great to see the All Blacks out played at their own game and for the team that played smarter rugby come out on top.

Sonny Bill Williams deserved to red carded. It was a cheap shot and to suggest he didn’t know what he was doing is ludicrous. Hats off to the French Ref for showing the fortitude to bring out the red card. I just wish he could have controlled the rest of the game a little better so he didn’t have to blow the pea out of the whistle.

I have no love for the Lions but I do love the concept of the Lions. Anyone who beats the All Blacks deserves respect and admiration and they are the only team (with possibly the Springboks) that are going to give the Kiwis any competition in the foreseeable future. The Lions were horribly ill disciplined and consistently infringed by constantly playing offside around the breakdowns which is normally the bread and butter of the All Blacks. The only difference is that the All Blacks tend to get away with it. Even though the Frenchie kept blowing the whistle and giving the All Blacks possession and field position they refused to make the visitors pay. When the Lions eventually got some ball in attacking position they actually attacked and thankfully for the game of rugby in general, the team that scored the two tries eventually triumphed. It wasn’t a great test match but it was a great spectacle and pulsating viewing.

The Third Test will be another cracker. The money will come thick and fast for the All Blacks but I will be lining up to take the Lions at the line again. There will be another huge portion of the crowd wearing red chanting Lions, Lions and the passion metre will be at 100%. Lets hope the ref puts the whistle away for the last game. As I said no problem with the send off’s and yellow cards but a few less penalties would really help to make this the first “must watch” rugby game since the last World Cup Final.

Cheer up All Black lovers; You will get to have your way with the “who cares about the” Wallabies soon. Sanity will then return to the Shaky Island under the deluded belief that the world cares about Rugby as much as they all do.

Rugby 22 June 2017

And you thought Aussie Rugby had already hit Rock Bottom!!!”

Big Jim looks at the shameful state of Australian Rugby…read more

Rugby Union for the most part is a dead set joke. It is a perfect game for New Zealanders to own. It is slow, predictable and for the most part totally irrelevant in Australia. All I can say is Quade Cooper is the perfect poster boy for the game here in the Mainland. If that utter joke of a human being doesn’t sum up the idiocy the code finds itself in then nothing does.

The Wallabies loss to Scotland confirms that the sport in this country has slipped so far down in the “who cares list” that I struggle even to comment on it let alone watch it. Its not that I have a shortage of material (as it would take a 500 page Royal Commission to even scratch the surface) but I get sick of saying the same old thing over and over again. It bores me to write it just as I am sure it bores you to read it.

So lets try and say SOMETHING positive. I am looking forward to the All Blacks v Lions series. Even rugby played at the highest level will be worth watching as long as the Ref doesn’t ruin the whole thing by blowing the pea out of the whistle. I will be cheering on the Lions. This has more to do with my utter disdain for the All Blacks than my love of the Public Schoolboy brigade from the United Kingdom (and Ireland). So “Tally Ho” boys. Fix the bayonets, get out of the trenches and give it to the unruly mob from the colony.

I will be backing the Lions at the Line in every test at Ladbrokes. They will tackle till their eyes fall out and will be happy to play a pretty dour style of rugby. They will be better in attack, however, than their lead up games suggest. Remember this is a HUGE squad and they play a lot of game. The B side is a long way away from the eventual team that will face the All Blacks. Ladbrokes also has the Lions at an amazing $5.50 to win the SERIES!!! That is a huge price. The Kiwis should be favorites but I would have them around $1.50 at best. So $5.50 in what really amounts to a two horse race (drawn series at $34.00) is getting me excited. To be truthful far more excited about the actual event.

Rugby  8 May  2017

“Fitzy calls for Jones! Has he finally lost his mind?”

Big Jim has a look at the rugby union debacle in Australia…read more

As the Australian Super franchises were all humbled again this weekend, Peter Fitzsimons called for Allan Jones to come back into the coaching ranks at a high level. This is akin to Fitzsimons suggesting that Hitler should have been offered the top job at Amnesty International after his stint ruling Nazi Germany. I can’t credit this “mere puff” as a serious suggestion but the very fact that Fitzy penned this underpins the “pit of despair” Australian Rugby has dug for itself.

The Wallabies had better be ready to show something this winter or even more of the rugby faithful will be tuning out for 15 man a side game for good. The whole Super rugby concept is dead to me already and I wont be back. I haven’t watched 5 minutes of the competition this year and there was a time that I wouldn’t miss a game. If it wasn’t for X pat Kiwis and Saffers living in Australia they wouldn’t be getting 5 people suffering through live “super” rugby games in Australia. Rugby Australia should be expecting a massively reduced cable television deal next time around as I don’t expect that many Aussies are forking out their hard earned to watch a product that is about as appealing as a warm bucket of cat puke.

Rugby doesn’t even come close to cutting it with the AFL or the NRL on a week to week basis. The ONLY thing rugby has going for it is its international status. So the ONLY road to redemption in this country has to be through a passionate and competitive Wallabies outfit. With the likes of the All Blacks and Springboks waiting to feast on the carcass that might be problematic to say the least.

6 March 2017

Rugby Union  Super Rugby! Yeh, I think they call that Rugby League

Big Jim tries to find relevance in the Super Rugby competition in Australia.

Super rugby continues to die a slow painful death here in Australia. Their major competitors in rugby league, AFL and soccer continue to grow as rugby crowd numbers and interest dwindle. Years of mismanagement both here and overseas and a reluctance to change an archaic set of rules that promotes goal kicking penalties over tries are strangling the game.

Rugby was always an “International” game that struggled on a domestic level. It made some early headway with the Super Rugby model but that goodwill now has faded into the abyss. People use to say rugby league was a stop start game but rugby league is a game of big hits and tries whereas rugby is the game of penalty kicks and breakdowns. Its a no-brainer as to which is better to watch.

The people who care the most about rugby in Australia are New Zealanders who have crossed the Tasman. They hold onto the All Blacks legend harder than a baby clinging onto its special blankey or favourite teddy bear. Then you have the South African X-pats and the rich from NSW and QLD. That’s it! No one else cares. There were thousands of sports lovers like myself that used to watch every Super Rugby game but now watch none. If they have lost the likes of me, a sports mad former convert to rugby, then the game is in real trouble.

Australia should abandon Super Rugby (or at the least scale it back to a maximum of three teams) and concentrate on a good local competition and the Wallabies. I still care about the Wallabies but my interest is only just clinging on. Last year I think I watched one test match but usually found the TV on the AFL or the rugby league. Every close game of rugby is decided by the whistle of the referee and the boot of one player. That’s just average entertainment at best.

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