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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday February 04 2011

This was the word invented by rugby commentator Jonathan Davies of the BBC to describe the performance of a clumsy or cumbersome member of the Welsh rugby team, after they had lost at home to England earlier this evening.  For me, that neologism was the most amusing thing that happened all night.  It summed up the entire game, which consisted of two hideously well drilled teams bashing away at each other with the imaginative flair of two sacks of potatoes, waiting for the other sack of potatoes to make mistakes.  Wales, who played like a bad England side, made rather more mistakes than England, so they lost.

These guys really didn’t miss much.

Look at the player ratings here.  England won, yet, out of 10, they scored: 7, 8, 6, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7.  How drearily adequate is that?  Short of every one of them getting 7 out of 10, they could not have been more tediously good enough, considering.

The commentators said it was a great game, with a “great atmosphere”.  Maybe if you were actually there, the atmosphere was indeed quite good, but on telly the atmosphere was not nearly enough to compensate for the game.

The worst thing of all was that at the end, nobody got properly tired.  I blame the fact that they are now allowed to bring on half of another whole team, and take off anyone who is getting tired.  In the old days before mass substitutions, people got truly knackered and unpredictable things happening, like great tries and horribly missed tries.  All that happened at the end of this game was that England were four points up.  Then Wales made a mistake and England (aka Jonny Wilkinson) kicked a penalty.  Then Wales tried to level it by scoring a converted try, but England stopped them.

Ashton of England scored two tries.  But his more interesting one was spoilt by his childish celebration, which he did before he scored it.  When Ashton scores a try which he knows he will score, i.e. which is his to throw away, he does his very best to do exactly that.  He sticks an arm up vertically, to tell the crowd that he is about to score a try, like they need to be told about it before it happens.  And he hooks his other hand around the ball like he’s a leg spin bowler, down near his bottom.  Then he thrusts the ball into the sky, still holding it with just the one hand, and then slams the ball down over the try line with wildly excessive force.  At any stage during this horrible performance, he looks like he’s going to lose control of the ball.  It’s a cock-up waiting to happen.  I hope Ashton does perpetrate just such a cock-up very soon (in fact during the split second he was doing all this this evening I hoped that now might be the moment, so annoying was it to watch), so that he can be given a good bollocking and so that from now on he cuts this out.  A good time to do this with would be in the next England match against Italy when it won’t matter.  But, Sod’s Law being the force in the world that it is, Ashton will probably save up this disaster for when England have ground their way to the next World Cup Final, which is not long now.  Then, he will cock up a try under the posts, and England will lose by six points.

That will be truly clumbersome.

I also enjoyed the clumbersome moment, but oh the rugby. Scrums need to be abolished.
A few months ago I was able to watch a live Springboks V All Blacks game. It was in a different class of rugby.
Did you know that Rugby is a Danish word?

Posted by Tony Hewson on 05 February 2011

There was the famous Herschelle Gibbs incident in the 1999 cricket World Cup, in which Gibbs celebrated catching Steve Waugh out before actually he completed the catch, and so failed to do so. Australia would almost certainly have been eliminated had he taken it, but of course went on to win the tournament after South Africa choked again extraordinarily in the semi final.

It would be hilarious if Ashton fluffed a crucial try in the World Cup like this, as long as they are not performing the sacred task (eliminating New Zealand) at the time.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 05 February 2011

Another thing that may make it easier not to get tired is the now total absence of mud.  I had set the video recorder, but only started watching live about ten minutes in.  Everyone’s shorts were still pristine white.

How soon before they just say to hell with it, and play it indoors all the time, on a carpet, like they do some games in America?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 05 February 2011

Re the scrummages, I’m now watching the Italy Ireland game and am reminded that the really annoying thing is how everything freezes while the attacking scrum half waits for ever before deciding what he will do with the ball, one his team’s scrummaging has been successful.

Imagine football if everyone just stood still for five seconds every time a midfielder of the Beckham variety was pondering exactly where to send one of his long passes.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 05 February 2011

I like scrummages. So too, it seems do Domingo, Servat and Mas. ;-)

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 08 February 2011

I can’t remember who it was, but one of France’s wingers decided to show off after crossing the try line before grounding the ball. For some reason I think it was Vincent Clerc.

I think it was against Italy and nearly cost France the game. I remember thinking, I’m glad he did that then and not a world cup final.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 08 February 2011
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