Thursday, September 27, 2007

Georgia on my mind

I managed to catch the second half of the Georgia against Namibia match in the Rugby World Cup.

I have been pretty disappointed so far with the coverage of the RWC. Partly this is a function of the very patchy coverage by ITV, but mostly it is due to the very poor performance of the Home nations. However there has been an incredible timidity too. I was shocked and very angry to see Scotland turning out what was essentially a B team to face the All Blacks at Murrayfield. Unsurprisingly Scotland were totally blanked- even on home ground. This is hardly the kind of display that will encourage the required increase in support for the game in Scotland. While the players may still feel proud to be playing in the (mostly) blue jersey, the cynics of the SRU refused to give the paying public the kind of contest that demonstrates the power and the passion of the game.

By contrast several up and coming teams have played with a commitment and pride that puts the Home nations to shame. The first match, where Argentinian Pumas shocked France with an energy and creativity which gave Les Bleus no quarter, has been a taste of a renewed enthusiasm amongst the emerging nations. Georgia too, having taken Ireland to the brink have played Rugby with incredible power, a fact that lead directly to their well deserved first win of the RWC last night.

The coverage by TV has been poor, simply because the quality games have come from unexpected quarters: this has been a tournament demonstrating Northern hemisphere weakness, Southern hemisphere clinical rugby, but with the many of the best games coming from the emerging nations. As Georgia face France over the weekend, whatever the result, they can certainly be proud of their achievements. As for Scotland, although even a scrappy win over Italy would be a win and qualify Scotland fro the next round, the SRU have already betrayed their fans. Running away from a contest at this, the highest level, is pitiful. No wonder Murrayfield is usually half empty these days. It is a long way from the last golden days of the amateur era, when players like David Sole, John Jeffrey, Craig Chalmers, Gavin Hastings, Finlay Calder and Tony Stanger amongst many others played with belief , commitment and pride and no little integrity.


Anonymous said...


I think it's more to do with the clowns running the SRU, and their petty feuds with its knock on effect. I think you are unfair to blame the Scots coach. He has maybe 15 top class players. So he plays them all, the All Blacks win anyway and half a dozen get badly knocked about and miss the Italy game. There are no replacements at least ones good enough, they get beat and the Coach gets shown the door. So can you really blame him?

Regarding Georgia heartwarming to see their efforts. I wasn't previously aware of Georgian Rugby very much. Also good to hear the IRB will be throwing more cash their way. Let's hope the Georgians continue to warm to it.

Two other topics. One I'm aware TV can be unfair, but Michael Palin doesn't strike me as a hatchet journalist but the image of Albania seemed a little at odds with your rosy projection. It looked totally chaotic, and the Mayor of Tirana came across as well a little bonkers really. Any arguments for the defence at all.

Second on your previous point. Well I can dig up many quotes from fossilised Lib Dem/Liberal/SDP hacks having a pop at Ming and praising Brown/DC as well you like. But would you take a few elderly and decidedly bruised egos seriously? Thought not. So think you'll have to let this one go Consul.

BTW How has Aberdeen been


Cicero said...

Yes- it is absolutely the SRU- and I am not attacking the coaching set up at all. What I resent is that we get to play the All Blacks at home and we don't even try to give them a game, and that is just crap. Georgia by contrast is a heart warming story, though I would also love to see the tradition of Romania resurrected too.

The timetable for Aberdeen is dependent on Mr. Brown, but otherwise we can expect the selection to be announced in late October.

As for Palin- he is not really doing more than a "hey look at the funny foreigners" with this particular series, and most of the places he has been to he is not really doing more than scratch the surface. As far Albania is concerned, as bad as it may seem, you should have seen it before!

Anonymous said...


Yes where did the Georgians pick the game up from. Is true Saakashvili is a fan? On Albania maybe so, but goodness only knowswhat Tiranians thought of the Mayor's painting. One guess they have bigger needs.

Meantime it seems sadly the shooting has started in Burma. It seem the Junta has brought in troops who hail from non Bhuddist ethnic minorities to do the dirty work as they doubted the willingness of other troops. Beijing did the same in 1989