I’m in the mood for a rant with the nonsense that’s going on in our parliament today.
I’ve been feeling a bit disillusioned with some who follow the game of rugby union. A game where good play is applauded no matter who is on the end of it.
One of my biggest bug bears is the attitude towards teams who are successful, this mostly happens on social media but it’s creeping into the stands too.
For years we’ve had the mantra that Saracens play boring rugby and now it’s the turn of Exeter Chiefs. A few basic facts, rugby union is a game played by 15 men/women, within that 15 are Forwards and Backs. The aim of the game is to score tries at 5 points and with bonus points for scoring 4 or more in a game they’re the most valuable points in a match.
There are several ways to score those 5 points, with 15 in opposition, space on the pitch is often hard to find, this can be where the forwards come in to play. They’ll bring opposition players into rucks and mauls with one aim being to create space for their ‘running’ backs. At times the person storming up the pitch will be one of the ever more mobile forwards too.
However when we look at the overall Top Try Scorers in Premiership Rugby it’s Backs we see – Tom Varndell – 92, Mark Cueto – 90 and Christian Wade – 82. The list for those season is similarly populated with Backs – Charlie Sharples – 9, Jonny May – 9, Alex Lewington – 7, Josh Bassett – 6, Nathan Earle – 6, Joe Marchant – 6 along with a fair few other Backs on 6 and Matt Kvesic and Harry Thacker, both Forwards, with them.
As far as the teams go this season the list is as follows –
- Exeter Chiefs – 50
- Saracens – 44
- Harlequins – 33
- Gloucester – 36
- Sale Sharks – 25
- Wasps – 31
- Leicester – 31
- Bath – 28
- Northampton 33
The 2 teams at the top of the table are ahead of the rest on both tries scored and points, by some distance. There is no stat, without going through try scorers names for every match, to see which part of the team scored the 50 tries on the board for Chiefs or the 44 scored by Saracens.
But, one thing for sure is that of the 311 tries scored by the 9 teams above many of them will have been scored by a member of the forward pack as their team mates roll en masse over the line. None of those points scored are ever listed as boring points, they are very often winning points. A rolling maul is something that’s worked on for hours on end in training, it’s a skill of this game. I suspect those that shout boring never do so when it’s their team dotting the ball down.
In fact I was incredibly disappointed at the game between Saracens Women and Harlequins at the weekend, when a Quins fan next to me literally moaned at every single thing the home team did, including the way they scored their ‘Forwards’ try. In spite of the fact his team had just scored in pretty much the same way. Luckily I was able to move away to avoid exchanging a few words.
I also watch rugby league, a game with fewer on the pitch, the dark arts of a forward pack aren’t part of the game, you’ll see running rugby galore as virtually to a man, players are capable of making use of the extra space. Time to stop the calls of ‘boring’ albeit online or at a match, introduce yourself to the great game that is rugby league if you don’t like strong forwards play. Winning is NEVER Boring!