This week I dump my thoughts on the LV=Cup, a particular roof, my new twitter chat, do forwards win games and some banter.
The LV=Cup is the least covered of the top-tier tournaments that English and Welsh clubs get involved with. I do cover it and it produced a few responses on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit saying that teams don’t field their top sides and so it’s pointless. I couldn’t disagree more, it is true that teams don’t field their first choice teams as it is the least prestigious cup and held drink international windows. However it lets fans see some of the upcoming talent in their clubs and gives that talent the experience of playing in front of bigger crowds. Sure you can go to A league fixtures in England to see many of the same players but crowds there are often less than one thousand. The were over twenty thousand to watch Leicester v Northampton and whilst that isn’t the norm the crowds are much better than A league games.
Also there is the issue of player welfare. This competition gives teams the opportunity to rest some of their first choice players for example Andy Goode got to have a break in the middle east. The only other option to allow players a rest would be a midseason break of some kind. So would you prefer no rugby at all?
Also if we go down the no rugby route that would be four or more weekends of no revenue for the clubs. Already the Welsh clubs are struggling with their finances and only four out of twelve English clubs don’t make a loss. This would only add an extra strain on the finances and open the gap more between the have-nots and the sugar daddies.
So celebrate the LV=Cup for what it is, we will be missing it next year due to the World Cup anyway and I hope that it makes a return the follow season. BTW I think that the clubs are missing a trick and should be scheduling the LV=Cup in Wales for the six weekends before the start of the league as a pre-season tournament.
Open or closed?
There was plenty of talk last week about the Millennium Stadium’s roof and if it should be open or closed. The rules are that both teams have to agree otherwise it stays open. A lot of Welsh fans have said it’s our stadium so we should choose and I can understand that view. Home field advantage is supposed to be an advantage after all but trying to get that changed this week was the wrong time.
At the end of the day it’s mind games which I normally like. However I feel that it has been taken too far this past week and people should chill out. England should always choose to have it open for two reasons, first up it’s the opposite of what Wales want. Secondly it releases some of the noise so that players can hear each other. With such an unfamiliar side, for one reason or another, communication is all important.
So folks dial the banter back a bit, it’s supposed to be fun not aggressive and realise that this was the only option that England were ever going to take.
Leicester put up a poster outside Wasps new home, “On your doorstep since 1880”. Whilst Wasps have not responded officially, their fans had a whip round and put up a poster of their own. “Bringing exciting European rugby to the Midlands since 2014” a good piece of banter and worth every penny of the £800 raised. Let’s see what Tigers or their fans response is going to be.
Do forwards win games?
Over the last few weeks we have seen several games that have backed up the adage that forwards win games and back decide by how many. Obviously there was the Saints v Tigers game where Hartley was red carded early on. Saints took off a back to make sure they still had 8 forwards on the park.
With the 6 Nations upon us the plight of Italy has been discussed and they have always had a competitive cap. The problem has been behind them and their is a reason why people talk of 10 man rugby. You don’t just need a strong pack but also a halfback pairing that can “lead you around the park” or in other words kick for territory. Until Italy get that they are always going to be scratching around for victories.
This coming Tuesday the 10th of February I will be hosting my first Twitter chat using the hashtag #RugbyChat. With the start of the Super Rugby season coming up, I will be chatting with a panel of other rugby tweeters on all things Super Rugby. The time in the different time zones around the world will be:
South Africa 9am
Please join us and chip in with your views.
I passed 75,000 views this week, thank you all for reading.