Everybody still hates the English
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Everything old is new again. Rugby is alive and well and all the traditions of the great game are still in place.
1. The crowds have turned up ready for great rugby and an even bigger party. Harmless fun for one and all is the long time, rugby tradition.
2. Tradition dictates that everyone hates the English.
While there are too many reasons to list here, misplaced arrogance is at the core. The English ensured that this would continue when, upon arriving at the host’s home to stay for the weekend, they dressed for dinner and purposely chose to copy the hostess’ favourite dress.
The English also showed that they still allow this arrogance to leach onto the field with the number of penalties conceded against the Pumas. Lawes’ late tackles and knees are unacceptable.
3. The Latin brothers are as passionate as ever.
Italy and Argentina have arrived with large names, and larger props who still tear up at the National Anthem.
4. The tournament’s, specially-designed ball, is being called into disrepute by some of the goal-kickers who missed a few.
5. The specialist wingers are still very fast but essentially, skill-free. England winger Ben Foden, made a great break and then managed to trip over the defending fullback and blow a certain try.
6. Money still gets results. The millions invested by the IRB and European billionaires are now producing more and better players from the minnow nations such as Romania.
The gap is narrowing and the minnows are coming! Just ask Scotland, France and even New Zealand in the second half.
7. There are some extraordinarily talented players that can do amazing things with a rugby ball. Cooper and Beale of Australia and Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand fit this category.
8. The physical traditions of the game are there for all to see. Other than half backs not feeding the scrums straight, rugby is still an uncompromisingly physical game.
9. The game continues to evolve and speed up. A modern tradition is that players are running into each other, rather than trying to run around and into the gaps.
Don’t blame the better defences, blame the coaches who seem to have forgotten how to use their back lines.
I don’t include Robbie Deans or Graham Henry in this.
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