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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

RUGBY UNION 2021 – MEDIA EXPERTS? LEGENDS? INFLUENCERS? – What a circus – It is beggar’s belief. Is professional Sports Administration following the advice of those above? I know well, there is a long history on it, they do Your Honour…

Society with all the stratus and casts is going backwards at a rate of knots. Please allow me a bit of slack, I am 69 (non-out) so this is the old Gezer’s view. Today people who have barely lived 30-40-50 years, are THE Decision Makers of today, in the corporate world, politics, sports and about any HHRR managerial position of considerable influence?

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/rugby/never-a-red-rugby-legends-divided-over-controversial-wallabies-yellow-card/news-story/83c13614019f93eaac1ce368a7a23fd8#_=_

Quite often the people ‘formulating’ or generating opinions, influencing the thinking and the feeling of audiences (we are talking about millions of newspapers readers, or TV viewers? C’mon, fair dinkum mate! – What is it with this world of ostriches burying their heads in front of the TV set, the iPhone screen, or the old fashion tabloid? – We all are voluntarily dumbing ourselves down, also our families and friends, by the mere fact of not opposing ‘the Wave’ (?) ‘the trends’ of society (?) – YEP, SHE’LL BE RIGHT MATE!

RUGBY LEGENDS? MAYBE – (On the field, not off it) YET THEY ARE NO EXPERTS, IN NEITHER ‘THE LAWS’ NOR THE SCIENCES (CONCUSSION, DEMENTIA DEPRESSION, SUICIDE, ALZHEIMER’S PARKINSON’S) TBI and CTE certainly degenerate into those diagnoses and sentences.

1984 Grand Slam Wallabies – The Scrum

TV AND SOCIAL MEDIA (“THE INFLUENCERS”) IS FULL OF FOOLS WHO ARE LIVING IN THE PALAEOLITHIC ERAS! IT IS ABOUT TIME SCIENCES, EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE AND EMPIRIC RESULTS COMBINE TO HELP PROFESSIONAL SPORTS, AND… TO BE ALLOWED TO DO SO, NOT OBSTRUCTED – TODAY’S SPORTS ARE RUN LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS DESTINED TO DIE, AND ADMINISTRATORS ARE JUST DELAYING THE DATE! – OF COURSE, SPORTS ADMINISTRATORS, LIKE POLITICIANS? THEY ONLY CARE FOR THE FOUR-YEAR TENURE… on the other hand, families and friends are here for the rest of the affected athlete’s lives! And Law Firms are happy to make a ‘motza’ defending one side of the counter, or the other! … psssss an obscene greedy circus!

TOPO – Founder and General Convener | ISSF (iss-forum.net) – Wallaby Captain 1987 | Barbarian FC Captain 1991 | Argentine Provinces Selection Captain 1982

Sydney 22/09/2021

The Mental Health-Illness discussion. A need for urgent change, and updates in nuanced conversations, at all levels of the mental illness spectrum.

The Nuances in the Mental Health-Illness Discussion 2021

ACADEMIA NEEDS TO MEET – PEER TO PEER LANGUAGE – WE NEED TO CALL ‘SPADE – SPADE’ – A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING MUST REACH THE CONSUMER, CARERS AND FAMILIES.

THE NARRATIVE MUST BE MADE USER-FRIENDLY – TALKING ABOUT SUICIDE IN 2021 STILL IS A TABU – GOVERNMENTS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS ARE DRIVING ‘MENTAL HEALTH’ POLICIES REGARDING THE REPORTING INA WAY THAT THE TRUTH IS ‘RESERVED’ FOR THE SO CALLED ‘EXPERTS’

To me, one of those leaving with bipolar disorder type II, just round the corner (the fastidious ‘black dog’ that doesn’t understand the concept of ‘cheating’ on the patient. Have experienced this rollercoaster since 1988, the year after I retired for first time (only retired twice, yet not the Dame Nellie Melba) from rugby union playing. For the last 33 years I have learnt quite well about antidepressants, depressants, mood stabilisers, CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive therapy), Psychiatry, Psychology, Counselling, Neurology, Peer to Peer self-help, Education, Awareness, Suicide Prevention, etc. Nevertheless, my optic is Not of a Professor or a Researcher or even a GP!

Dr TOPO works on MHMP&S (Mental Health Management Plans & Strategies). For me first port of call is to sit beside the troubled person so the communication at first is Not ‘face-to-face’. I LEND MY EAR, AND LISTEN GOOD, WITH ATTENTION TO THE ‘MEANINGS’ (Some people have difficulties to articulate their feelings, particularly when chronically depressed). Do not give advice or ‘prescribe’ magic solutions unless you know the subject well – Pure empathy, closed ended brief questions, and… let the sufferer TALK, TALK, AND MORE TALK. For those inclined to ‘measure’ things, it should be around 90% listening 10% talk or questioning.

Should the suffering person decide Not-to-talk? – Ok, put an arm around the shoulders, and say something along these lines. Listen XYZ, I am going nowhere, I am here for you, got a couple of hours and nothing better to do right now, let’s just enjoy and soak up each other’s company, and if and only if you want to open, just tell me what is going through your mind and soul. Emotional Intelligence at its best. Please read about (EI).

In these thirty-three long years, have had no less than 25 depressive episodes ranging from 1 to 6 or 12 months, no sciences or professional can tell you neither ‘How-long-you-are-in jail for’, nor the crime you have committed, and no court justice either. Bipolar disorder is like a ‘flamboyant black dog who loves spending big, partying, and doing anything to you, but at the end of the visit, you are stuck with the bill (not my creation, but cannot remember who said it). I detest ‘plagiarism’. So, I learnt not claim ownership when is not mine. And when I remember the author, I reference it.

Here comes the syringe, the pointing finger, the call to order. Why is it, that Australians are afraid to discuss everyday subjects, everyday problems such as suicide? – Admit of inadequate home education, also schools and universities. For many years now, we have been held to ransom by the ‘political correctness’ minorities? Who incidentally soon will want to become ‘majority’?

EDUCATION, AWARENESS, DESTIGMATISATION are the key tools for PREVENTION and the best form of PROTECTION. These must be instituted as ongoing strategies, from primary school upwards. They must be constantly delivered and reminded, like the driving speed limits signs and fines.

Here is a fantastic opportunity for Education to team up with Health and Sports in the communities, for the greater good. This formula E+H+S is globally undisputed. Thus, why politicians do not GRAB THE BALL AND RUN WITH IT. We all will be the winners!

Therefore, I propose a plan with the following pillars…

  1. Plain language (no sweeteners or cushioning)
  2. Overall commitment of authorities at all levels (cannot de selective or discriminatory)
  3. Government and Corporate funding mandatory (social responsibility policies)
  4. Early intervention at humanistic level (friends’ company, peer to peer approach, etc.)
  5. Re-Education of society, (on How to deal with a pandemic, loss of jobs, illnesses, homelessness, substances addiction, and the many other challenges of modern life)

Some tips and point which may help in communication to assist fellow human beings

Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

BEF (BIPOLAR Education Foundation)

MHMP&S (Mental Health Management Plans & Strategies)

Wellbeing Leadership & Sport Pty Ltd

PO Box 4131, Carlton NSW 2218 Australia.

James McManus legal case = COMPENSATION MONIES may be negotiated or discussed – However, the responsibility and ethical ‘Duty of Care’ of sporting organisations are UNRELINQUISHABLE!!

https://wwos.nine.com.au/nrl/nrl-2021-james-mcmanus-concussion-lawsuit-against-newcastle-knights-concludes/a11d8c79-fe48-4ded-ab31-dbab7305840a

Yet sadly, money erodes both. Indeed, an incredibly sad and complex conundrum, were mega-bucks dictate how many human lives ‘organised’ professional sports are prepared to sacrifice and trade off in the name of Entertainment. Athletes used up like nappies. Coaches demanding a quick return to training and plying fields

SAD SAD SAD…

Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

Founder & General Convener ISSF (iss-forum.net)

PO Box 4131 Carlton NSW 2218 Australia

THE CUT-THROAT WORLD OF ELITE SPORTS (where athletes get treated like disposable nappies)

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-elite-sports-athletes-get-treated-

THE WORLD OF SPORTS IS EVER SO SLOWLY STARTING TO ACCEPT THAT… THE SPORTS SCIENCES WILL ALWAYS OVERULE PASSION, DECEPTION AND PLAIN GREED. (ETR)

The ‘Business of Sport’ and the Professional Sports Administrators of the time need to rethink and reassess the function of HHRR policies. This is no rocket science! – Very simply like the corporate world, SME’s or multi-nationals do have ‘human resources operating as ‘performing assets’. Therefore, the function of those Chair and Directors of the Board is to protect the livelihood, health, wellbeing, career after sports, and last the ‘high performance’ which most of the time appears to be the only one interest. This must be done in the ‘planning’ process, when the conversation starts with the young athlete to get contracted by the organisation.

Hence, before you or your son or daughter sign that contract (quite often pressed by parent or agents) the athlete must envision the retirement time. This will everybody to look at the attrition factors, realise about the real ‘occupational hazards’ and how to prevent or eliminate or manage them.

The promise of $1M p/year or $2M p/year is REVENUE only. Now let’s identify the incidental costs? The hidden costs? The potential for physical and psychological damages, etc. etc. And now in for a Contingency Plan! Ok, now we do the numbers but before counting the money in the bank, a substantial amount must go into Superannuation Savings, just like BHP, Toyota, Commonwealth Bank, Coca Cola or Microsoft do.

If OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY is mandatory for the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto, or Commonwealth Bank? Why wouldn’t it be for Rugby Australia, Argentine Rugby, World Rugby, the International Olympic Committee or even FIFA?

One last very poignant point. Staff recruitment and training are far more expensive than Staff Retention, which is longer lasting, and promotes employee loyalty, less absenteeism, and a much better all-round workforce.

So? Wake up Professional Sports Administrators, because Joint Venture partners will not approve of those costs or even those of Research & Development because THEY DO NOT GENERATE a visible profit! (Bankers and Accountants always will be Bankers & Accountants) This is exactly what happened with the ARU (Australian Rugby Union) in 1996, where labelled by Greg Growden (RIP) great rugby journalist, ‘Fort Fumble (the inward-looking fortress imbued in the Corporate Hospitality concepts by ripping off, the public and the corporates enjoying ‘corporate’ hospitality the Australian way. The ARU sold its soul to the corporate dollar and completely gave their back to the families of supporters and dedicated followers.

Today Australian Rugby is where it is, thanks to those corporate types, graduated in the private school system, the universities who protected them, and the ever-influential Old Boys Club. Australian Rugby Directors continue spending millions of dollars in ‘pipe-dreams’ such as the 2027 RWC, money that is not theirs, but ours. Those of us who buy a Wallaby jumper (which keeps changing every 12 months (thanks to the creativity of Marketing Executives), track suits, ties, or socks and… the ticket to the ground for the whole family, or a corporate hospitality package? Just remember an estimated 50% of your payment is the fat money that feeds their whims, their dreams, and the first-class seats of those in the inner sanctum. As you can guess, I never was and I will never be, because I am unmanageable. I will not cover the truth or sweep the ugly stories under the aristocratic carpet of rugby union. I love the game but cannot stand the poor administration of so-called experts.

MENTAL HEALTH MANAGEMENT FORUM with Psychiatrist Dr Sergio Strejilevich (Buenos Aires)

The Franco-British Aristocracy of 140 years is well and truly alive. The Seven’s Rugby Business and the RWC Corporation feeds today, the insatiable thirst for power and financial control of a no longer a Sport, today a juicy Business fancy dressed as a Show, where The Winner takes all…

Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

Executive Chairman, The ERC Group FZCO | Wellbeing Leadership & Sport P/L

Founder and General Convener, ISSF (International Sports Sciences Forum) iss-forum.net

Sydney 18/09/2021