WORLD RUGBY – Now ‘micro-management’ – Who is driving this bus? – What’s next? – A round ball? Gosh, in a 15-minute session anyone may have multiple concussions Who is the rules-maker-magician?

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/sep/23/world-rugby-to-introduce-new-guidelines-to-reduce-contact-training?utm_term=3f3b3cd69a6dd70c8ca7140e795412c8&utm_campaign=GuardianAustraliaSports&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=ausport_email

When you have not developed good foundations and work ethics, no matter how strong the walls are, or if your roof is made of solid steel, still the whole structure will cave in.

From my observations, since July 2019, just a couple of months before the Japan RWC, international rugby started a process of ‘decomposition’, at all levels. From administrators politicking, coaches fighting, opinionated players and more so ex-players forming opinions, social media “influencers” (brouhaha), we have had to endure many more incongruences than the previous one hundred years. Somewhat, rugby union lost its compass, did they ever have one?

Last year during the pandemic times before The Southern Hemisphere Championship the relationships between NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia, soured to an unprecedented level of a slanging match between Directors and National Coaches (kids’ stuff). Furthermore, the South African Rugby Board decided to ‘preserve’ the World Champion Bokka, and Argentina was well displaced once their WR delegate, (former Vice-Chairman) was dumped unceremoniously. Lack of political, diplomatic and protocolar skills, plus some out of place ‘commentary’ got Agustin Pichot (the leader for the Southern Hemisphere block), became out of favour and out the door. With this scenario (April-May 2020) I have just painted, you can quickly see the murky lines of Northern Hemisphere (the British-French-Japan Alliance) quickly increasing power and control over the world of rugby. That is ‘democracy’ at its best…

I believe, the non-presence of Springboks in 2020, plus the two recent loses to Wallabies has them slightly off the pace!! – The coming tests vs NZ will see a desperate team ‘overcooking’ their broth, and another ‘cool’ as Kiwi fruit, going about their regular business.

Where has the scientific and practical principle of ‘gradual incremental adaptation’? What about it? – let me put it this way THE GAP BETWEEN THE INTENSITY OF A RUGBY MATCH AND THIS REDUCED PHISYCALITY WILL CREATE AN INSURMOUNTABLE GAP/ABYSS, FOR THOSE NOT TRAINING AT THE SAME TEMPO AND INTENSITY!

May I use an example which doesn’t need to be investigated or corroborated, mine. I used to train for the equivalent to two matches (160 minutes), duration and intensity, I accept that in those years, rugby was less intense. Nonetheless, it had a lot more continuity!! – We used to have an average of thirty (30) scrums per match, our training with Tala RC was one hundred scrums twice a week. This way you do train your muscles, mind and more importantly your ‘will’.

Another one Golfing professionals, who in the big tournaments play four consecutive days, yet do not hesitate to go hitting balls for two hours at the range before they start. Why? Well, they fine-tune hand-eye-hands coordination to the best of their ability.

Referees and Administrators are having a closed-doors party…

Bio mechanists, Trainers, Performance Coaches, and people in ‘the know’, will tell you, “The more you imitate the athletic gesture, the better your team will perform”. This means when you are training a team, need to device moves, manoeuvres, and other actions which simulate the game as much as possible. Therefore, by reducing contact training you will increase the incidence of injuries because the whole body over time is likely to lose its endurance and resilience necessary for those encounters. Athletes will not be able to withstand hits and pressures exerted by the opposition, repeatedly. An analogy… if you drive for 12 hours long a normal standard car on regular streets, this will not prepare you to drive an F.1 in Monza??

THE SOLUTIONS HERE ARE…

  1. STOP THE STOPPAGES – AND INCREASE ‘CONTINUITY’
  2. GET RID OF THE ‘TMO’,
  3. REFEREES NO TALK. DO YOUR JOB, ENABLE THE MATCH (be a facilitator-moderator)
  4. CONVERSELEY, PLAYERS ‘NEVER’ TALK TO THE REFEREE, (just play on)
  5. SPECTATORS DO NOT WANT LONG-WINDED EXPLANATIONS AND… AD-NAUSEUM REPLAYS, FRAME BY FRAME, OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED (past tense)
  6. TOO MUCH EMPHASYS PUT IN THE ‘PAST’ – AND NOT ENOUGH IN THE PRESENT (which a real Gift for viewers)
  7. Get on with the Show! Besides, less utilisation of satellite services for TV, less costs (a good sound business saving).

Has rugby union become a game about ADVERTISING? – Well, if so, you are doing great, increasing revenues from the quadrennial RWC, yet The Entertainment value of rugby is becoming negligible (The Springbok vs Lions series indicated that). How would you preserve the crowds and trusty followers? FIRST, you got to want them! – Let me open your eyes, you the Advertising Companies executives, Chairmen and Directors of the Board (World Rugby has been under the influence of these types since 2011), you must be salivating while racking up billions (jaa, already feeding the JV partners). Nonetheless, the sport (not you) also has an unprecedented attrition rate, and price to pay! – The exodus of crowds to other sports less complicated, kinder to spectators, and less damaging than rugby. But I get it, you only want people in front of the TV set or iPhones, don’t you?

WR, Keep tinkering and tampering with the game, continue addressing the symptoms, not the origin or genesis of these current problems. You are on the way to… San Jose!

Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

Sydney 23/09/2021

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