Cup is no con­test for dirty tac­tics

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport/opinion - By STEVEN SA­MUELS

EV­ERY day is a step closer to the ‘‘big event’’. The Rugby World Cup brings 19 other rugby na­tions to our shores, each with their own con­tin­gent of avid sup­port­ers.

Some top con­tenders in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, Eng­land, France and South Africa have a re­al­is­tic chance of lift­ing the tro­phy but it is hard to see any of them sur­pass­ing the skills shown by our mighty All Blacks to date.

His­tory shows that be­ing the favourite does not sit well with New Zealand but this time there ap­pears to be more struc­ture with ex­pe­ri­enced lead­ers in the team.

Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter and Mils Mu­li­aina have twice tasted bit­ter de­feat but this time they are at home and have the whole coun­try be­hind them. This is our time.

Mil­lions of peo­ple world­wide will watch this sport­ing ex­trav­a­ganza, some see­ing rugby for the first time.

First im­pres­sions are im­por­tant so we must en­sure that they see rugby at its best – a free flow­ing ex­cit­ing and skil­ful game with hard-fought con­tests on the field and well-earned com­rade­ship af­ter the game.

Let’s hope that the clean green im­age recog­nised as part of New Zealand cul­ture is not tar­nished.

Un­for­tu­nately there is a ten­dency for some to stack their team with ag­gres­sive thugs who have a ‘win at all costs’ attitude, pro­mot­ing dirty tac­tics to achieve their goal (no co­in­ci­dence that one of these teams wear green jer­seys).

Ah, yes the old foe again. If this re­port gets to you Peter de Vil­liers, heed my ad­vice and get rid of be­he­moths like Bakkies Botha (in­fa­mous for his head butt on Jimmy Cowan).

How many cards and bans does one player need be­fore he loses his place in the na­tional team?

Fun­nily enough, he seems to tar­get the lit­tle guys. Let him try any­thing against the big boys like Brad Thorn and Jerome Kaino and see what hap­pens. How­ever de Vil­liers is not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to com­ments on se­lec­tion pol­icy and game plan – well known for hav­ing his mouth in gear while his brain is in neu­tral.

Here’s a rib-tick­ler for you; in a post match in­ter­view fol­low­ing the Spring­bok-Lions test, where Schalk Burger faced the ju­di­ciary again on a charge of eye gorg­ing, Peter de Villers said: ‘‘This is just a part of the game rugby, and play­ers need to har­den up’’.

What? Is this what we want the world to see? Thug­gery and ridicu­lous ver­bal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Maybe on sec­ond thoughts, Peter de Villers should con­tinue with his present an­tics and maybe the Spring­boks will con­cede the vi­tal three points which may se­cure the Webb El­lis Cup in Aotearoa for the next four years.

On a fi­nal thought, what a great re­sult for the Hin­uera A and B teams in the lo­cal derby against UMS a cou­ple of weeks back. Good on you boys.

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