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Thread: Try this - Al Jazeera on Scottish Rugby

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    Veteran Contributor The EnForcer's Avatar
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    Try this - Al Jazeera on Scottish Rugby

    I suspect Steve is struggling to get published anywwhere or maybe he just likes the pies we serve.



    Scotland the bemused
    By Steve Kaless in London


    No question about the challenge facing Scotland, but was it over before it began? [AFP]


    Scotland's Murrayfield ground once had the aura of being a tough venue for opposing teams to travel, but Sunday's decision by Scotland to field a weakened team against the All Blacks consigned that to history.

    In fact, it now seems that if you are good enough, the Scots will be happy to wave the white flag and roll out the reserves.




    Seriously, if you consider the repercussions of Scotland's decision it is hard not to shake your head.

    The damage wasn't limited to the Scottish jersey, it exposed the Rugby World Cup for the lopsided competition it always has been and from the look at this year's competition always will be.







    The Rugby fraternity like to think their game is a global one.

    That claim looks pretty thin at the moment. A truly global game would mean competitive games at its showpiece tournament rather than the procession of predictable results we have in France.

    Once again it looks like being a tournament whereby the three southern hemisphere powerhouses have a number of training runs before the semi finals, while England and France try to see who will take last place in the final four.

    If you look back across previous tournaments, the similarity of results up to the semi finals is truly frightening.

    The lesser teams should be aiming to bridge the gap, as has been happening in football over the last ten years, but in Scotland's case, it doesn't look like they are particularly interested in that at present.

    Anyone, and I mean anyone, who has played sport at any level even vaguely close to competitive knows you get better playing people better than yourself.

    Furthermore, the attraction of playing sport at a high level is that you have the chance to test yourself against the best in the world in that field, and maybe even beat them.

    Northern crisis

    With northern hemisphere rugby already suffering from a crisis of confidence at this tournament, Scotland had a chance on their home soil (seeing the World Cup is actually being held in France this was a nice bonus) to play the best in the world, their players could have learned a lot, and maybe they could have written a new chapter in Scottish rugby history.

    By they chose before kick-off to ignore all of this to concentrate on their match against that European powerhouse……. Italy (you know, the guys beaten 76-14 by New Zealand).

    Honestly, is this how far Scottish rugby has fallen? That they choose not to focus on beating the number one ranked team in the world but another side which is applauded for being competitive in the Six Nations.

    It may have been pragmatic by the Scots, but it seemed to having nothing to do with the spirit of rugby I've heard a lot about but never seen a trace of.

    For a nation which enjoys living off the stereotype of Braveheart it was a dark day.

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    Veteran Contributor JediKnight's Avatar
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    The phasing of fixtures was also a contributing factor to team selection. Scotland played on Sunday afternoon (in Edinburgh) and then will be playing Italy on Saturday (in France).

    Consider this.....Italy played Portugal on Wednesday 19th (in France) and then don't play again until they take on Scotland on Saturday (in France). Italy got their capitulation to the AB's over in their first game of the tournament.

    I know they're trying to space out the fixtures for TV purposes but why not have teams in the same group playing all of their matches on the same day. Then there's no advantage for one team over another.

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    It's ok JK, I think we all agree he is a twit

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    Senior Player Contributor hopep's Avatar
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    I think Scotlands strategy is refered to as "playing the long game".
    But I did expect they would make some score. Disapointing, YES - Unexcpected, not really.

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    I think the 'lesser' teams have made good strides since the last World Cup. Georgia have done exceptionally well in almost every game, Argentina are looking stronger than ever Japan have improved the quality of their play, Canada nearly knocked off the Welsh before running out of legs.

    I think this guy is getting his info from the SMH, what he should be saying is 'The 6 Nations teams have been universally disappointing this year' and suggested some possible reasons for that. One might be the fact that, at club level, they seem to be devoting more effort to signing players from PI nations and ex Wallabies, All Blacks, Springboks than they care to devote to developing local talent.

    These provinces then all take their stars out of the teams and get together to have an international tournament where they all perform really well against one another. When given a chance to test their capabilities against the SH sides, they universally send 'development squads' and 'trial combinations' Is it any wonder that they don't have any idea how good they are or aren't going to perform in the World Cup.

    Most of this is perception and attitude, the team management honestly believe there's not a snowball's chance in hell of ever beating a Tri-Nations team, is there any wonder the players don't bring their 'A' game!

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    What really grinds my gears is when Australia and New Zealand are accused of not doing enough to help with the development of Pacific Island rugby (which is somewhat true) by England and France who claim to be doing all of the work 'for them'. If the best talent from the Islands accepted the fact that if they ever want to make a marketable and profitable brand of rugby out of the Islands they need to cop a pay cut and stay there rather than going off to NZ, OZ or France and England. I think in the current situation with the PNC is the best we can do by way of international fixtures.

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