You are here


Sendoff
The perfect send-off would have been a World Cup Final and a victory over Australia this past weekend. It didn’t happen that way, but it was nice to see Shane Williams, surely one of the great short rugby players of all time, get a try as he bowed out of international rugby.

Nice moments for a great player.


Confusion
The confusion for me is this: is the RFU leadership in England upset about the England team’s performance on the field, or off it?

I think it’s the former. England has been known to let boys be boys before and in doing so nurture that old label – arrogance. All the things I personally love about the game seem to get trodden on by England more than anyone else, and I kind of wish the team leadership was called on the carpet for its conduct more than its play.

One follows the other, true, but as we’ve seen lately in sports, doing the right thing is never wrong, and not doing the right thing can sometimes be very, very bad.


History Lesson
You should read Kurt Oeler’s review of USA Rugby’s leadership and national team coaching over the past five years at www.gainline.us . It’s a great review of how we got here from the turmoil of 2005.

It’s easy to forget the guarantees and promises we have received over the years, and conveniently forgotten … the commercial success we would certainly see from putting CIPP dues into national teams; the false hope of the USA just being one coach away from cresting the hill, and the mistaken IRB idea that just funding a competition no one had heard of would jump-start American rugby.

I don’t agree with all of Kurt’s assertions, but that’s not the point. It’s worth reading.

Agreement
One point of agreement is how tired Kurt, myself and others are of writing about big, big things supposedly on the horizon that don't come to fruition. I, perhaps more than others, feel compelled to sound positive about these developments if only to avoid exerting my admittedly paltry influence to undercut such ventures.

But we all knew they wouldn't last, because they weren't created out of the fabric of the game here (unlike all the competitions in all the major rugby nations). We know that instead of millions thrust into new ideas, we could have supported what we were cooking in our own kitchen for far less, and produced far more.

Be proud of what the likes of Nic Johnson, Jon van der Giessen, and Paul Emerick accomplished in the Rugby World Cup; and know that our current High Performance processes make it very difficult for players with their backgrounds to succeed anymore.

 

A Sea Change
The new High School and High School Club national championships are being remade into an invitational. I’ve enjoyed being the panel that decides how this is done, in part because provincialism has taken a welcome back seat to doing what’s right for the game.

Members have avoided making the process about what they want individually, or what their region wants, and instead are looking at what the high school game wants. Things will change, and they’ll change again next year, I expect, but the process of change has been an enjoyable one.

The upshot of it all is this: no qualification is needed to make the nationals – you get invited based on long-term success, and a little scouting. What that means is local regions can hold their state championships whenever they want. They aren’t locked in to wrapping it all up by the end of April just so they can send one team to nationals.

I think it’s going to be very good for the high school game.


Rumors
Rumors abound about some big changes in top college levels, too. We might see that long-awaited sponsor for D1-A, which could lead to fixing issues on travel costs and TV/webcast coverage. Already we’ve seen that the old College Premier Division can produce compelling rugby. Now we just have to get more people to see it.


|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|