It is with a huge sense of relief that I notice that rugby matters are slowly but surely pushing cricket articles for space in the daily newspapers.
The final straw that broke my optimistic camel’s back was when the under nineteen side lost their first two matches at the World Cup.
As far as the Proteas are concerned, I’m afraid they also fail to inspire. When you lose stalwarts, your star bowler is injured, and experienced batsmen fail to maintain their consistency, it is impossible to remain positive.
Perhaps it is time switch the focus to rugby.
While reports about Super Rugby concerns players, (possible team selections and injuries a month before the start of the event) another event took place which drew little attention.
SANZAAR (the extra “A” is to show the inclusion of Argentina) reports about a training camp for the 22 officials who will handle the whistle:
“SANZAAR CEO, Andy Marinos (pictured above), confirmed that the Super Rugby referees, under the guidance of Game Manager, Lyndon Bray, gathered in Sydney for their annual training camp as the countdown continues to kick-off on February 27. The five-day camp included rigorous physical training, refinement of mental skills and a comprehensive briefing around a number of variations that are set to be introduced for the 2016 season.”
Getting back to the new name – why is “J” for Japan not included? As my friend on the Flats says: “Djy wiet mos!”
Perhaps they are of the opinion that the Japanese influence will be so small that it does not justify inclusion. What they need to consider is the impact of Japanese viewers on broadcast revenue. After the shock at RWC, there is bound to be a fair measure of interest in the land of the Rising Sun.
Law variations and game innovations for 2016 will include:
- The four-try bonus point is to be replaced by a bonus point for finishing three or more tries ahead of your opponent (bonus point for losing by 7 or fewer points remains unchanged) and;
- Penalty options after time has expired now include playing a lineout.
“By implementing this change, we expect to see more attacking and competitive rugby as teams will be asked to keep their foot down for the full 80 in order to claim the try-scoring bonus point, which we have seen used to great effect in France over the past few years.”
“In addition to this, permitting teams to opt for a lineout after time has expired, serves to disincentive opponents from infringing and aims to reward sides that are particularly strong set-piece exponents which, when coupled with the previously mentioned changes, encourages more attacking and competitive rugby.”
At least one of these changes stems from how the game is being played in France. After their showing at RWC 2015, I would have thought that this would the least likely example to follow.
To be very honest with you, I have little interest in Super Rugby 2016. Watching the Six Nations will be far more entertaining.
Granted, the opening match between France and Italy does not get my heart racing, but the next one does.
England, with Eddie Jones at the helm, and a new captain, kicks off the season against a rejuvenated Scotland, at Murrayfield. This is followed by Ireland and Wales facing off at the Aviva stadium.
Normally, when these two play, I have a box of tissues next to my beer for when they finished singing their national anthems.