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JottingsOnRugby.com

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Sean Fagan - writer/author http://JottingsOnRugby.com

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I think those 1915 club teams were mostly late teens & older players. The following year there were very few games held.

Larkin was the NSWRL’s secretary c1910-14, he didn’t ever play league in Sydney. Ironically Swannell was Larkin’s equivalent, being the NSWRU secretary in 1914 when he enlisted.

I’m sure I read when they were landed on the beach at Gallipoli on April 25, Swannell took a bottle of whisky out from his kit bag and handed it to another man, saying it would shortly be of no use to him. Swannell had served & fought in the Boer War in Sth Africa. Just a few hours later both Swannell and Larkin were dead.

To be a footballer and a soldier is the summit of all ambitions

@ Moaman – I agree with that – the Book of Fame is one of the best rugby books you will ever read. http://gorey.com.au/book-of-fame

To be a footballer and a soldier is the summit of all ambitions

@ Rabbitz. As you say, just two lines, but puts it in perspective. Bit like imagining seeing a current star player kitted out in military uniform & pack and rifle. To some extent that is why I used McManamey as an example – the man was 53 when he volunteered to serve.

Think I may re-post those two lines on Anzac Day.

To be a footballer and a soldier is the summit of all ambitions

Rugby is all about keeping traditions Brett! In any event, it’s not too far down the grades that you find each team still having to bring a touch judge (aka umpire) to the game….rugby’s equivalent to “Ladies, please bring a plate!”.

Cheers for mention on twitter too! https://twitter.com/#!/BMcSport/status/193224262365093888

Rugby's tactical penalty: cheating or genius?

@ Gatesy – posted comment about referees under your comment above.

Rugby's tactical penalty: cheating or genius?

@ Gatesy. Re the origin of “referee” in rugby. It is sort of right!

Captains were replaced by each team bringing their own umpire. If your team’s umpire saw the other team breach the laws, he raised his flag – if the opposing umpire agreed it was a breach, he too raised his flag and the game stopped to resolve the issue. If both flags didn’t go up, the game didn’t stop. Over time it soon came to pass that biased umpire simply “didn’t see” the breach of his team, so he didn’t raise his flag.

It then changed to one flag up being enough to stop the game, and the matter being “referred” to an appointed “referee” who would be standing outside of the game watching on. What the referee decided was enforced.

This system though didn’t last long as having your umpire put his flag up was a good way to stop your opposition’s momentum by bringing the game to a dead stop! Losing the referee’s decision didn’t matter!

The latter soon came to be absurd, so they made referee part of the on-field officials (two umpires + referee).

Then it became obvious that three men arguing over rugby laws was a nightmare, so the RFU put the game solely into the hands of a single on-field referee, and consigned the flag-carrying umpires to a touch line each.

So, when you see the two touchies behind the posts raising their flags (or not waving), you are looking at a last vestige of rugby’s past.

–sf–
http://JottingsOnRugby.com

Rugby's tactical penalty: cheating or genius?

@ sheek. I’ve read that story re laws vs rules, and i’ve asked various lawyers to explain the significant differences to me, but ultimately, I’m still not convinced by anything other than the 1871 architects just picked “laws” as it gave it more weight than rules!

There is some notion of the conduct of fighter pilots in WW1 – I wrote about that here in “Rugby vs The Red Baron” > http://jottingsonrugby.com/2012/02/23/red-baron/

Rugby's tactical penalty: cheating or genius?

Penalties were not always part of rugby – they were an invention of the late 1880s when the increasingly pseudo professional clubs of northern England were beginning to take the “win at all costs” attitude.

Elsewhere there was no need for penalties – it was just a game, a sport, between friends and gentlemen. The fact many rugby laws are difficult to enforce is because reliance has traditionally been placed upon each player to police his own conduct.

In Britain til after, lets say WW2, the “spirit” and rules were very much coupled together – tradition & honour kept players from ‘working’ the cheap advantages and tricks – whether in the open or unseen – this chivalric ideal is so far removed from our day to day lives today that most us have little concept of what it truly was. Ask your grandfather if you can. Ask him about the attitude of his father and grandfather and how they behaved (in public at least).

Conversely, in NZ/Aust & to an extent Sth Africa, though part of the Empire but yet new national indentities emerging, rugby was evolving with an attitude that all that mattered was the rule book. Being part of the Empire meant there was some semblance of what the “spirit” of the game was, but nothing like in the UK. Then, as now, rugby in the UK was different from rugby in the Southern nations.

The extreme example was rugby in the USA in the mid 1870s, where devoid of any tradition in the game, they interpreted and contorted and pushed every law to the limit of its wording, and ultimately produced a new game entirely.

In my view the answer to today’s issues is to take the video of each game and ruthlessly audit it for rule breakers, put them up on the web, shame them, fine them, suspend them if you have to, and keep doing it.

Rugby's tactical penalty: cheating or genius?

@ crip – wow!, that’s so obscure – nearly disappeared entirely from history – the Uni of Cal rugby team visited here in 1965 & 1971. Sydney Uni bt them 17-8 on the 1971 visit. Wallabies’ Max Howell enrolled at Cal in 1950, & he played for the ‘Golden Bears’. Of course ‘Golden Bears’ is not reserved solely for Cal’s rugby team, but all athletic sports.

Aussie Rugby California Dreamin'

@ The Cattery – of course it’s not serious. Just pointing out the absurdity – paying to watch sport at a Melbourne ground on Good Friday is bad, paying to watch sport from your Melbourne sofa is ok – if paying to watch sport on Good Friday is the transgression we’re concerned about, both are the same dire heathen act.

AFL makes good decision on Good Friday football

Sport has been played on Good Friday for a long time in other Australian cities, and in Britain all football codes have played every Good Friday (except war years) since the 1890s – that’s over 100 years of playing & attending football on Good Fridays in these Christian nations. The most celebrated part of the Barbarian FC’s history has been its famous Easter tours of Wales, with the opening game on Good Friday. This AFL stance is about Melbourne. There is no national debate going on or aversion about Good Friday and taking gate-money or ruining the day’s solemnity. if Victorians were serious about the religious significance of Good Friday as why sport should not be played, they would have pay-tv’s sports channels cut off on Good Fridays.

AFL makes good decision on Good Friday football

@ Atawhai Drive -see Harry’s informative post. Jersey became distinctly red at start of 2008 Super season – there is a pic > http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/rugby-union/larkham-predicts-reds-win/story-e6frepm6-1111115555333

Reds beat Brumbies but lose face in a dull kickathon

@ Cattledog – QRU adopted “maroon” in 1895 – newspaper reports for QLD teams from then until the 1930s (at least) refer to the state team as “Maroons” – however, despite the maroon jersey, it was not uncommon to also see “deep red” or just “red” or “reds” also used in match reports I’ve seen. Perhaps earlier generations had a broader understanding of what “red” meant in the colour chart, as in Sydney for example the Glebe RU club of early 1900s (and RL club later) wore maroon, and yet were known as the “Dirty Reds” (long before that history moved to the Drummoyne club).

Similar to how Britain has RL ‘Lions’ & RU ‘Lions’, and early NZ RL teams were “professional All Blacks” not Kiwis, there doesn’t seem to have been any great desire to make any distinction between the codes in Qld until the 1960s/1970s, and the latter decade the famous cry of “Reds! Reds! Reds” came synonymous with Ballymore crowds.

The jersey has always though been maroon, until as Sheek points out, it was changed to make it actually red. The QLD state colour is maroon, and as best I can tell, the Qld RU team of 1895 is where it began (aside from maroon/purple being the colour in heraldry that signifies royalty/crown).

We don’t see “Reds” and “Waratahs” fall into commom use in newspapers/media til the early 1990s, which coincides with the rsie of sports branding etc. Worth noting is that NSW “Blues” & Qld “Maroons” originated in RU in mid 1890s, were used by both codes til after WW2, but today are presumed to be a RL marketing creation.

Reds beat Brumbies but lose face in a dull kickathon

No time for rugby? But rugby is FOOTball isn’t it?

Maybe the balance is out of whack in a particular game or period, maybe the game has sped up to the point the pure number of kicks has gone up, maybe the kick choices are poor, but while rugby isn’t a kicking game, it also isn’t a wrestling game, and also isn’t a handball/carrying game – it is all these things, mixed and varied over 80 minutes.

Aside from the script that starts every rugby game (kick-off, catch the ball, boot to touch, have a line-out), the kicking of the ball in rugby is not regimented as in RL’s last tackle at the end of each of the game’s 50 sets of six. The latter produces a game of certainty where RL is two armies facing each on WW1’s trenched Western Front.

The kicking in rugby creates a game played out in a space (or three-dimensional box if you like) with depth and height…brought about by the ball (kicked) moving up, down & across the field, back & forth, high into the sky, at any given moment in the game. It is this kicking, or the prospect/threat of it, that breaks up in rugby the defensive line that now is practically a Western Front wall from touchline to touchline, thanks to much of the pack no longer throwing themselves into every loose scrum.

If there is no, or little, kicking in rugby we’re relying on a missed tackle to break open the field. In other words, we can run the ball if you make an error in defence…which isn’t particularly creative.

Re Webb Ellis, there was no soccer until 1863, and catching of the ball was allowed in his time. He didn’t pick the ball up from the ground, he caught the ball – the innovation was that instead of kicking the ball or carrying it backwards, he (apparently) ran forward with the ball. Even 40 years after Ellis the rugby laws still forbade picking the ball up from the ground. http://jottingsonrugby.com/2011/06/01/with-a-fine-disregard/

Reds beat Brumbies but lose face in a dull kickathon

@ Micky. Yes, I have seen Tony Collins mentioned that to be the case. It was as I understand it a decision was taken by the CRFU to write to the RFL seeking assistance/affiliation, but it was virtually days before WW2 was declared in Europe. Some clubs & schools in Canada around ‘The Maritimes’ did switch from RU to RL in c.1945, but both soon after were overtaken by CFL.

Aussie Rugby California Dreamin'

I agree. My only point was, as the 1920s example, you only need to put together one competitive team, not find hundreds of thousands of players – though I accept the former is often a result of the depth of the latter, increasingly the Pacific Island, Argentina & some European nations are showing that what matters is getting players into the pro/semi-pro comps in the major rugby nations, and forming your national team primarily from those experienced players. It is of course for USA rugby to decide the best path for its objectives and goals.

Aussie Rugby California Dreamin'

Can still buy The Rugby Rebellion http://jottingsonrugby.com/books/

Aussie Rugby California Dreamin'

Thanks Mille. It’s interesting re the scale of NFL + College football & whether that impacts on other codes development/success.

Admittedly it was long ago, and not a competitive tournament of teams, but the USA wins at the Olympic rugby in 1920s were achieved on a very small player base (arguably in fact without any at all!).

In Australia it is not as if rugby has first dibs on ‘footballers’, and despite the combined scale of AFL + NRL, the Wallabies have won 2 World Cups.

Is trite to say, and no doubt depth ultimately produces the best long term results, but in the end the USA need to merely (is that the right word! ha!) produce a team of 15 players for success, not a pool of tens or hundreds of thousands.

I think we will see (or are seeing) a rise in the competitiveness of Pacific island nations, simply as they form their team from their nationals playing in pro or semi-pro comps across the globe.

7s will be even more of this case.

Aussie Rugby California Dreamin'

Yes – Greg’s book is solely on Richards’ life, rugby & war. Try your favourite 2nd hand book dealer – or just looked on ebay > http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/GREG-GROWDEN-GOLD-MUD-N-GUTS-INCREDIBLE-TOM-RICHARDS-/230719968288?pt=AU_Non_Fiction_Books_2&hash=item35b7fb5420

Aussie Rugby California Dreamin'

This howling dog extends his thanks Garth. Cheers! –sf–

On expressing a love of sport

@p.Tah – yes, seems to have! Bit hard to fathom that one.

Rugby Sevens' obscure past and bright future

Thought-provoking piece in Herald Scotland today on future impact of 7s on full team rugby (and the cricket T20 comparison) http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/opinion/rugby-sevens-may-be-embraced-by-the-olympics-but-at-what-cost.17154983

Rugby Sevens' obscure past and bright future

The story above is more about what the opportunity the rise of 7s presents as a social sport to help grow rugby. I played 7s rugby many many eons ago, so am a long way from being in a position to offer any view on the current Aust team. Maybe the lack of debate about performance, good or bad, re the national team is a barometer of the overall interest level and awareness. People need to have watched Aust’s 7s games and come to recognise our 7s players before they can even begin to articuate criticism (praise less so!) about tactics, form etc.

Rugby Sevens' obscure past and bright future

What are arising are 7s invitational one-team clubs (using players from XV clubs) such as this in USA http://druidsrugby.com/ , but what I was speculating is whether the future will see 7s progress to stage where clubs are founded & players/members join them to play/support the 7s game.

Rugby Sevens' obscure past and bright future

There’s a story here http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8441906 from last few days where ARU’s Michael O’Connor says “There’s a real recognition in Australia for sevens. It’s a real phenomenon,” But I dunno. It seems to be just about getting to a 2016 Olympic team, when that objective could lead/drive so much more.

Rugby Sevens' obscure past and bright future

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