Character: ‘The aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.’
We are accustomed to making and hearing casual judgments about the character of individuals, e.g. ‘he is a pathological jerk’, ‘she is a sweet tempered person’, and, ‘he is Mother Theresa with a moustache’. What about the character of teams? A lot is said about teams in this forum, much of it implicitly related to character.
A current article on Rugby Heaven is titled ‘John O’Neill expecting ruthless Wallabies.’ My immediate reaction to this was unprintable – essentially a reflection that it was not likely because that would be ‘out of character’ for the current lot. However, it did prompt me to ask myself just exactly what is the character of the Wallabies and how does it compare to their peers heading into 2011?
Here is a quick stab at some team ‘character’ assessments for the current top 10:
Argentina – Machiavellian when armed (just ask the French!)
Australia – GPS Old Boys on walkabout (may cooperate if really hungry)
England – Effete public school whiners (but it’s our game!)
Fiji – Very talented, equally slothful (can we stop after 40 minutes?)
France – Manic-depressive genius (art can be ugly)
Ireland – Overly self-conscious battlers (instinct and intellect collide)
New Zealand – Self-intoxicatingly talented (our 4th XV could beat your 1sts, but…)
Scotland – Passive aggressive opportunists (may we have the ball for a minute?)
South Africa – Stampeding cattle (best not to let them loose)
Wales – Dazed and confused (we’ve played this game – did the laws change?)
If character counts, right now 2011 may be a good year for Argentina and South Africa.