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Powerful report on mental and emotional health in rugby

Interesting comments above. I agree with Scott. The big tackles, and there are plenty of them, need not be glorified. What used to be glorified were the long runs, the tries scored, the kicks made. It was in that song that had that one lyric about forwards doing all the work and backs getting all the glory. I played both American football and rugby, and stopping a player cold is a necessity in American football, but rarely is in rugby, unless right near the goal line. No one is running for a 'first down' in rugby. Not glorifying big hits would not lead to the game being watered down any, but it would, I believe re-emphasize the offensive components of the game instead of the defensive. Multi-phase play leads to more body and head-to-head clashes, which means more concussions. Tackles in the open field are rarely going to lead to injury, head or other body part. Perhaps a number limit needs to be put on phase play inside 22 meters.

3 Weeks, 4 Days ago

Exeter Chiefs edge Wasps at the death in Aviva Premiership Final

Oh, and one more thing: I really liked that there were no incidents in this match. No shoving, no punch ups, no dirty play; nothing of the sort. It was a game played by players who wanted to play the game with no need to try to one-up each other on the pitch. They all did their job, and one team came up with the trophy and got to celebrate some, they shook hands at the end and walked off the pitch. That's what the game is all about.

3 Weeks, 4 Days ago

Exeter Chiefs edge Wasps at the death in Aviva Premiership Final

We in the USA got to see this game live on NBC Sports Saturday morning, of course a bit earlier for me out on the West Coast. Great game to watch, with some open rugby played at times by both squads. I do have to say that the multi-phase, 'down near the goal line' tactics of Exeter, trying to be 'patient' and scoring, almost backfired. Something has to be done about multi-phase play down close in. It just isn't, for me, a way to play rugby, but a way to eat up a lot of clock time and see big players bashing into each other while waiting for the ball to be sent out to the backs, which in many cases doesn't happen, and which in all too many cases end up with 5 meter scrums that have to be reset a few times with an eventual penalty. In rugby league there once was no limit as to how long a team could possess ball, no limits to their 'play the ball' before having to turn it over or kick it to the opposition. I'm just wondering if a limit needs to be put on a team that is inside the opponents 22 as to how many 'rucks' they can recycle, how many phases they can play, before losing possession with a set scrum to the defenders. Something to think about? Of course this is the result because rugby union tactics changed in the last few decades to that of 'all forwards in' to win ball at loose scrums or rucks, to that of not committing too many players in a ruck in a defensive position and fanning out defenders wide. One reaps what they sow. Multiple rucks/phases are just not entertaining to watch. Exteter had nearly twenty phases, I believe, at one point there in the second half before the game ended.

3 Weeks, 4 Days ago

A closer look at how Professionalism has changed Rugby

Unfortunately money could be a reason why so many seem to drop out of rugby at a young age, before they are 25? If one isn't going to make money from it, is that person asking why play at all and risk getting hurt, because other people are playing for money, and getting hurt doesn't have the same personal risk? Participation levels are down in the sport overall. How many clubs are left, amateur clubs, with extra d or c sides? How many are having to scratch to just get 15 on a pitch on Saturday? I really regret that those who ran the sport twenty years ago failed to introduce professionalism on some sort of time table, bringing pay into the game gradually, starting with the best players first, the internationals. By now there could have been the Aviva Premiership anyway, but I'd say the participation level of the sport might not have suffered had there been a real structure set up to develop a professional game in 1995. Just saying, in August of 1995, the game is now "open" was not the way to do it.
All one has to do is look at what happened in Wales a few years later to find proof that it was all done wrongly.

2 Months, 6 Days ago

A closer look at how Professionalism has changed Rugby

I agree, but you know the game is never going to go back to its total "amateur" status. Of course there were always the better players who got 'boot' money or had jobs set up for them. Most players played for not one red penny. What could have been done? If you look back there should have been allowances for the best players to become semi-professional. Pay for playing in international matches for players on the national squads would have been a good start to transition to a professional game, and that should have been done with the very first world cup. In other words, 'broken-time' pay for those leaving jobs temporarily to play the game at the highest level, and that pay could have been from the money made from ticket sales, the rear ends in seats.
Just think that the majority of rugby league players a half century back had day jobs! They got little enough in pay to have to work to make ends meet. Of course the highest administrators of the Rugby Union didn't see it that way, unfortunately, regarding union players, but those league players were at best semi-pros in the American sense of the term, as back then semi-pros in America, as there were then semi-pro basketball and softball leagues, were considered amateurs and eligible for the Olympics. NBA players weren't, because they were fully professional. All that changed of course in 1992, and there are few semi-professional players of any sport left in America today. I would hope that amateur rugby would not die because pro rugby put it out of existence, but when one sees clubs that were once two or three sides deep now only with one side, something is wrong. Participation levels are dropping for adult-level rugby.

2 Months, 6 Days ago

A closer look at how Professionalism has changed Rugby

For those who played the game for the love of it we are more than likely a bit nostalgic about how the game used to be. But just how many in rugby today are fully professional players? And just how many are playing for the fun of it as amateurs? Apparently the participation level in amateur clubs is dropping, and this is a concern. I spent a weekend in early March in the West Midlands at the home of a president of a club that has existed since 1991, so a rather 'young' club, and it had two sides. Now it has one, as some better players have quit and moved up a few divisions to clubs that pay 50 quid per game, and one made it to Gloucester. If it's happening to that club, it has to be happening to other clubs. I spent the next week in Devon, meeting socially with a few referees of that union, and was told of some clubs that are down to one senior side that had two or three in the past, in Cornwall and Devon. So, if young men (and women) see that there's no chance to make any money from the sport, are they just giving it up at age 18 or 22? In other words, why bother because one might get injured playing, and not get one thin dime out of it? Is that the current attitude in the UK and other major rugby playing nations?
I live in California, and can tell you that the game really isn't expanding in this nation, the USA, like some say, and California is and has been where the game is strongest. It has grown the last two or three decades, for those between the ages of 13 and 22, in schools, from junior highs to universities (boys and girls/ men and women). It is not growing at the men's club level. Many clubs that were three sides deep now have just one side. "Pay" still consists of setting up better players with jobs. Last year's "pro" rugby competition lasted just that one year.
It's too late now, but thirty years ago, with the first world cup, pay out of gate receipts should have been arranged for internationals, ONLY, allowing for semi-pros!

2 Months, 6 Days ago

The peculiar Vannes vs Narbonne 'no maul' stand off

The ironic thing is the team without the ball, by not BINDING, maul or ruck, are creating a case to contest and attack the ball carrier directly. Perhaps this practice is going to bring back actual contesting of ball in the loose. Counter rucking rarely occurs, and 'truck and trailer' is just legalized obstruction.

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

The peculiar Vannes vs Narbonne 'no maul' stand off

The changes in laws are going to mean that this sort of play is the result. The ball really isn't contested anymore in the loose as it used to be. And if it was, perhaps the backs might have some space again.

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

The peculiar Vannes vs Narbonne 'no maul' stand off

Look at the definitions of what a maul is, and what a ruck is. There needs to be binding/contact by opposing players. If there is none, then there is no ruck, or maul, and that ball is free for the side not in possession to go in and try to take away. Basically this situation, like that Italy England match, seems to be one of free play because there is no ruck or maul that has formed. By the way, one of the last penalties I gave recently was for hands in the ruck, when a player dropped her bind on an opposing player and bent over to pick up the ball that was on the ground, having been released by the tackled player on the other team. She thought she became the acting scrum half in doing so. I told her she wasn't and needed to heel the ball back.

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago

Australian rugby in 'big trouble' after a number of poor performances

It is ironic too that there were plans afoot in 1995 to sign some 500 of the best rugby union players to make up a rugby circus that would have comprised of clubs in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, by Rupert Murdoch. That threat was the straw that broke the camel's back of amateurism in the game of rugby union. I do see your point: if there are a few pro rugby union clubs in Australia, and they play so many away games in nations as far away as Argentina, South Africa, and now Japan, where is the local rivalry? League has that, and this Super Rugby doesn't. And of course league has always been the more popular of the two sports in Australia anyway, even if the union game had great success with the Wallabies in the 80's and 90's.

2 Months, 2 Weeks ago