Viewing comments for larry« back to profile

Sacramento Express go coast to coast for length of the field try

The referee and touch judges aren't even wearing proper socks, for crissakes. Looks really "bush league" if I can use that American idiom. This competition is about equal to class A minor league baseball, and that ain't saying much.
Trust me, pro rugby in America isn't going to take off. Many of the players in California had already played a full season, starting in November, through to April, with club sides or college sides, and then if they got picked to play in this professional league, they had no breaks between the end of the amateur competition and the beginning of this competition. And of course that is a great problem in America: rugby is played at different times of the year because of weather, and there's different climates to consider.

1 Week, 4 Days ago

Sacramento Express go coast to coast for length of the field try

Check the attendance figures for the games back to April when the "season" started. Very low attendance. San Francisco averaged about 1,000 per match, in a 3,500 seat venue. Not good. Sacramento did a bit better with their attendance. I mean, if I'm going to go up to SF from where I live, in the Santa Cruz area some 80 miles south, I'm going to see the San Francisco Giants play, not the San Francisco Rush!

1 Week, 4 Days ago

Georgia: Are rugby's Tier 1.5 nation ready for another step up?

What you say is true about all the second tier European nations to be honest. There are always one or two "upstart" nations that emerge now and then, talk of moving into the 5N and now 6N, and then that nation goes on a losing streak and gets spanked by a few 6N teams, and that's that. It was Rumania, Portugal, Spain, and now it's Georgia. Italy, instead of Rumania, which had been the number one outside the 5N candidate in the 70's and 80's, got good enough in the 90's to move up to the 6N, and they've done poorly in that competition ever since being "promoted."
Maybe Georgia is an outlier, and will be a consistently good rugby nation, with teams that constantly win in the European Cup. Give it a half decade more. If they can beat Italy consistently, then perhaps Italy could be relegated from the 6N. The distance from Western Europe is a concern for those wanting to travel to see matches. Otherwise, if Italy remains in the 6N, they must get better, or there will be calls for them to be relegated and replaced by a 2 tier nation: Rumania or Georgia could fill that void.

1 Week, 5 Days ago

Georgia: Are rugby's Tier 1.5 nation ready for another step up?

I remember back in the 80's there was talk of Rumania moving into the 5N. Then the sport went downhill there because of economic and political troubles in the 90's. Spain and Portugal were on their way up in the 90's and 00's, but they've levelled off in the quality of their play. Georgia is the new upstart nation in rugby. Maybe they will show some consistency. They can always play some of the 6N teams during the Northern Hemisphere season if they aren't directly I the competition themselves. Will Irish or Welsh fans travel to Georgia to see a match? That's a great question.
Otherwise a stronger European Cup, with better play by the nations involved in that, would be a great way to promote the sport and compete with soccer in those nations. The winner can always arrange matches with the Home Nations and France and Italy. And regarding Italy, maybe they should take a step down and compete in that European Cup. France for decades played in both the 5N and what was the equivalent of the European Cup.

1 Week, 5 Days ago

Georgia: Are rugby's Tier 1.5 nation ready for another step up?

I totally agree. If anything the Six Nations can relegate the wooden spoon winner and bring up a second tier nation. Italy could be relegated and Georgia or another nation move up. But that does mess with tradition? I take what you say seriously, and that competition of the original 5N is very old and has created great games more often than not over the time, now more than a century, that it has existed.
Italy has not done well in all the seasons they've been in the 6N. So, perhaps they just move down and involve themselves in the European Cup. Actually, France did play in that competition decades ago, as well as the 5N. One problem with those second tier nations is that soccer is always going to be more popular, and therefore there seems to be a lack of consistency in the quality of play, based on athletes who are attracted to the sport of rugby in those nations. They are up and down, and one nation in particular, even with people with size, never seems to get better at rugby: Germany. At one time, a decade or two ago, it was Portugal and Spain that seemed to have the same status that Georgia has now. Who knows if Georgia remains as consistently good in the future. Perhaps they will.

1 Week, 5 Days ago

The Evolution of Rugby Jerseys over the years

I guess that's one of my questions about polyester. Is it eco-friendly? It's coming from the ground, getting drilled or fracked. Yet cotton takes a lot of water to grow, and I'll tell you one US state where cotton should not be allowed to grow: California, and it is grown, in the southern half of the state in the Central Valley. Like Australia, we are in a long drought, having only a few winters with normal rain in the last decade.
I imagine more and more synthetic fabrics are in the works. I'd just like rugby to keep its traditional look. Baseball did it in America, as it went back to a traditional look, with new fabrics.

2 Weeks, 2 Days ago

The Evolution of Rugby Jerseys over the years

Well, like I said, there's no going back. Baseball went though an "ugly" stage of kit, back in the 70's and 80's, when uniforms went polyester from light-weight wool flannel. That's right, if you see any old photos of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, they're wearing light-weight wool flannel tops and pants. The thing is in the late 80's baseball teams started going back to the traditional look of baseball uniforms, with the poly. So, there's no reason that rugby can't have polyester shirts that look like the old style shirts. One thing that bugs me is the long sleeve under shirts worn. Why not make some long sleeve poly shirts? I think some players did have them back a decade or so ago. And I'd agree with the cotton shorts v poly shorts.
I'll tell you one thing about long sleeves: they were nice on a cold day, as it was also nice to stick one's hands in the pockets on that cold day as well, and these new shorts don't have pockets, another issue, but playing as I did in California, we have hard fields for the most part. Sleeves were great to wipe the sweat off one's brow, but they also saved my elbows from carpet burns, as we called them, from hard grounds with dirt patches or dry grass. Only the knees could get scratched up.

2 Weeks, 2 Days ago

The Evolution of Rugby Jerseys over the years

I never had a shirt rip, though I had buttons get ripped off the Canterbury jerseys my old club had, even though I hadn't buttoned the placket. An acrylic shirt I wore was on a tour as a guest of another club, and those shirts really itched. Halbro brand. Those shirts did not fade over the years, but a veterans side I played for much later had Halbro shirts that were cotton, and the colors didn't fade much at all, but there were only a handful of games played each season. If there was one brand in America that lasted years and years, and seemingly never ripped at all, it was the Barbarian brand shirt, but they were very heavyweight, so if it was a warm day, they were hot to wear. A cold dry day, and they were great to wear. I have a few that I wear to referee, and do so on colder days, like when it's under 60F. No logos, not even the referee society logo. They cost $65 plus shipping. Uneek brand is a jersey I've gotten from the UK, Amazon, L14. It's rather light weight, probably not a shirt to wear in a game, but I use it to ref in when it's warmer. I did let a gal borrow it to wear in a varsity-alumni match at the local university at the end of the season a few months back, when the alumni didn't have enough shirts to wear, and since they were wearing white, I let this gal wear it (I always bring at least two jerseys to referee). She was the hooker, and the shirt didn't get ripped.

2 Weeks, 2 Days ago

The Evolution of Rugby Jerseys over the years

I had to do that myself a few times. I joined my college club side a few weeks after the season started, as a freshman, and therefore I didn't get a jersey, as they were all sold out, and had to borrow one for the rest of the season, usually from a second team player. There weren't team sets, so players paid up front for a jersey to keep when the season started in November. The second ever game I played in it was rainy and muddy, and I had to put on this soggy and mud-caked shirt.
I couldn't agree with you more about the ads, and visually the old shirts just looked better. Somehow I can't imagine Gareth Edwards scoring that try wearing what they wear nowadays.

2 Weeks, 3 Days ago

The Evolution of Rugby Jerseys over the years

Does it help, with global warming an issue, to use an oil-based product, polyester, to make rugby kit? I don't like it. Sure, the jerseys are lighter and all that, but I played in cotton, and half cotton/poly shirts for years and year, the old long sleeve type, and had no problems. And it's true that those shirts were something to keep and treasure afterwards, and I have three in shadow boxes on display in my office at home. The shorts were cotton too, and even shorts are artificial now. I use the old-fashioned kit when refereeing, even going so far as to ordering some from UK Amazon, as American-made old-style rugby shirts are very expensive. If it's warm, there are lighter-weight cotton shirts, and cold, the heavier weight. But once there's a change there's no turning back. So, at least some of these new shirts have proper collars, or at least a facsimile thereof. Some even are solid color or have proper hoops. If that's a new Ireland shirt displayed above, good on them! The worst are the ones that have leopard spots, lightning bolts, paisley prints, you name it, anything that says stupid, and just some round or v neck collar, looking much more like a soccer shirt. Here's another thing: these shirts, despite claim that they do, DO NOT BREATHE! I've tried wearing one to ref in, and after a few minutes I was hot, sweaty, and also itchy. I did play for a club way back when that had acrylic jerseys, and that's exactly what this polyester shirt felt like. I never used it again, and in fact changed back to a cotton jersey after that short spell of warming up before a match.
Lastly all those ads are just ridiculous. Even third division club sides have huge sponsor's ads on their shirts here in America. For all the bashing American professional sports get for the money those players receive, at least in the big three sports of baseball, American football, and basketball, there are NO ADVERTISEMENTS on the jerseys, and hopefully there never will be.

2 Weeks, 3 Days ago