The Ramblings Of An Egg Chaser

Welcome to my blog on all things rugby related, my views are my own except where the voices in my head tell me otherwise.

Monday, 26 November 2012

A Little Bit Of Perspective

I've read the reviews of England's rugby performance so far in the QBE Autumn Internationals in the press and also followed the usual hysteria on Twitter.  It strikes me that anybody not a regular follower of the oval ball could be forgiven for assuming, from the incredibly negative comments about the England side, that "current world champions England with a squad of over 50 experienced world cup winning legends with an average of 114 caps apiece" had lost to a presidents XV from a tier three nation.

In case it has escaped anyone's notice England are currently rebuilding with a very young and largely inexperienced squad following a lacklustre performance during the 2011 RWC in New Zealand.  The average age of the squad is around the 25 and the average number of caps about 20 with only 6 players in the squad with over 30 caps.  Compare that to 13 with 30+ in the Australia squad and South Africa Squads and many others in the high twenties.  The fact is that this team is pushing the second and third ranked teams in the world close after only limited preparation:  we've played Fiji and they've come in off the back of the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship.  The fact that we could have won these matches can only be a positive boost because England will only get better over the next three years as they build towards the RWC  in 2015.  I've also heard the pontificating about seeding and how England will now have a tougher draw.  News Flash.  There are only tough drawers in a RWC, to win it you have to beat the best teams in the world.  The fact that Tonga have beaten Scotland, Samoa beat last year's RWC semi finalist Wales and Australia only beat Italy by three points last weekend clearly shows that the gaps between nations are rapidly shrinking!  To suggest selecting players dropped following the 2011 RWC (remember the media frenzy about dropping them so many people bought into?) or who have chosen to make themselves unavailable for England by playing abroad in hindsight smacks a little of hypocrisy.

Chris Robshaw, one of England's youngest ever captains who has a grand total of 8 caps is being taken to task for two decisions in consecutive games that armchair pundits disagree with in hindsight.  Of course it goes without saying that had England won the restart and won the game with a drop goal he would now be regarded as a tactical genius.  Captain's make mistakes.  Some of the greatest of all time have made absolute howlers.  I take it everyone remembers Richie McCaw questionable decision making in the 2007 RWC when NZ went out in the 1/4 finals to France.   Much better that Robshaw make's them now when he can learn from them rather than in three years time in a knock out competition on home soil.

I hear rugby fans saying that rugby football shouldn't pick up bad habits from association football.  I agree.  So the next time you feel the urge to bay for the blood of a coach, player or captain because of a wave of media frenzy generated by pundits purely for profit stop and think.  It's not just the attitudes of those playing the game that put rugby union head and shoulders above other football codes but the attitudes of the supporters as well.  Do you really want England to change coaches or captains like Chelsea FC do?  The most successful club in  modern English Soccer is Manchester United and probably the main reason for that is the club's faith in Alex Ferguson.  Maybe in this case Rugby can learn from football.  Either way lets put this in perspective and appreciate the steps forward England have made and stop being hoodwinked by a media that will do anything, like say hack the phone of a murdered schoolgirl, to generate sales and boost share prices. 

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