From Rugby World reader, Ken Fitzgerald
What’s seldom is wonderful. Or is it?
I must say it was great to be back in London last weekend especially to witness the All Blacks being defeated by Rugby’s equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters. I make no apologies to Rugby Worlds New Zealand readers. I love an underdog. What a wonderful tradition Barbarians rugby is and long may it continue. Like the Lions it is one of the games oldest and most honoured feathers for some players whose metaphorical caps include plaudits from nearly all competitions. The star studded line-up for the homeless club was a joy to watch. However the announcement last week from the All Blacks camp that Graham Henry would be resting some of his first team players angered me. If Adidas are going to pay the one million pound fee the NZRFU charge for exhibition games then they (Adidas) should have negotiated that the All Blacks play their strongest team available. I like many people who sat in the East stand in Twickenham had made their way at reasonable cost to us on the implied spectacle of a strong Babaas side taking on a full All Blacks test team. This was not the case and frankly I felt a little cheated. For me it negated the Barbarian victory. If the Barabrain games are to continue sponsors such as Adidas will need to see a return on their investment. Times are hard right now and if people are going to be tempted to part with their hard earned cash to watch these seldom and often wonderful rugby traditions then opposing rugby unions should be made honour them and play their first team. If not surely numbers will dwindle at games of this nature and nobody wants to see that. When WP Carpmael came up with the concept sitting in Leuchters Restaurant, Bradford in 1890 he couldn’t have foreseen professionalism and the evolution of the game into the product it has become. But if the BaBaas brand is to continue to make financial sense then Unions must tip their hats towards history and honour our traditions.
Ps If you like Mexican food next time you are in London you should eat in a new(ish) Mexican eatery creating quite a buzz in Covent Garden. I won’t give out the name but it sounds like a famous Maori war dance. The food is excellent.