EDI­TOR’S LET­TER

NZ Rugby World - First XV - - CONTENTS -

This is the fifth ded­i­cated First XV NZ Rugby World has pro­duced and we hope the best. Our in­ten­tion, as al­ways, with this pub­li­ca­tion, is to try to cap­ture the spirit of ad­ven­ture, ex­cite­ment and op­ti­mism that de­fines First XV. It re­mains, in our view, one of the most pure – maybe the only pure – form of the game where there is a cul­ture of hon­esty among the play­ers and no cyn­i­cism. That’s im­por­tant be­cause there are times watch­ing Su­per Rugby that it feels the re­spec­tive teams are more in­ter­ested in cheat­ing than they are play­ing. Too harsh? No chance. Watch closely and you will see things that are alarm­ingly crass and cheap. Su­per Rugby is rife with jersey pullers – hap­pens all the time that play­ers are try­ing to get free from a ruck and their op­po­nent is tug­ging at their jersey – sub­tly enough that the o cials can’t see. It’s re­lent­less and it’s quite sad, too. There is a cul­ture in the pro­fes­sional game that says its okay to keep push­ing bound­aries un­til some­one does some­thing about it. No one wor­ries about cheat­ing, they just worry about be­ing caught. So First XV rugby is the prover­bial breath of fresh air. It is not rid­dled with cheap acts. The play­ers mostly want to play within the laws and the spirit of the game and coaches want to teach boys to win fairly. Let’s hope it stays that way. Be­cause it is get­ting harder. The big­gest worry is the grow­ing con­cern that an ever greater num­ber of young men are us­ing sup­ple­ments. It’s easy to un­der­stand why these prod­ucts are tempt­ing. Rugby is a power game and big­ger, faster, stronger is what it is all about. But some of us are late de­vel­op­ers phys­i­cally and a look around the train­ing ground may leave some smaller play­ers feel­ing dis­tressed and anx­ious. They will see boys much big­ger than them­selves and fear that they won’t get a look in. They will be in­ter­ested in prod­ucts that say they can help them de­velop lean mus­cle mass quickly. They will be lured by big state­ments and prom­ises and feel they have found their an­swer. Sup­ple­ments are not the an­swer. Bot­tom line is they could dam­age your health. Just don’t go there. Eat well, rest well and train well. That’s the only for­mula that works. Be pa­tient and re­wards will come. Ev­ery­one is out to win. Ev­ery­one wants to play hard, but there has to be a line and ev­ery­one needs to know where it is. First XV is fun. These are the good years and not the time to be all fired up if a de­ci­sion doesn’t go your team’s way. If the ref­eree makes a mis­take – or if you think he has – shrug and let it go. There will be times when the mis­take is in your favour – that’s how it is...you win some, you lose some and you ac­cept them both with equal grace. All that mat­ters is that you give of your best and are there for your team­mates. That’s it...that’s the for­mula on which First XV has be­come so suc­cess­ful – it is about be­lief, friend­ships, sports­man­ship and shared goals. So love be­ing out there. Love the good and the bad and re­mem­ber First XV rugby is the best time of your life. Gre­gor Paul, Edi­tor

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