By Rugby World reader, Richard Grainger
Okay, I’ll put my hands up and confess that my blog ‘No Country for Fat Men’ was ever-so-slightly ‘tongue-in-cheek’. But most who commented agree that something must be done, for the good of the game, about the absurd amount of time wasted on scrums going nowhere except into the turf.
What I would really like to see is the clock stopped AT ALL TIMES when the ball is not in play, as in NFL or basketball. Play four quarters of 15 minutes: think of the amount of beer you’d sell. Why should playing time be wasted on ineptitude or cheating, and, I’m sorry, but making the game attractive rather than attritional is important for its future survival.
Another thing, penalties should not be awarded from failed scrums; these are totally arbitrary, as there’s not a referee on the planet who has the slightest clue as to who is truly responsible when a scrum collapses. It’s absurd that matches should be decided on this. By all means, award free kicks, but get rid of this stupid rule which permits the option of another scrum. It is, after all, called a ‘free kick’, for goodness sake, not a ‘free scrum’.
A great advert for the contest-ability of scrums was the one-handed delivery of the ball by Morgan Parra, directly to his second row’s feet on Sunday. This was the rugby equivalent of contemptuously driving past a police car at 110mph with a beer in one hand and a phone in the other. Even Dave Pearson thought so.
I’d like to congratulate England on such an emphatic win over Italy. But effective as England were, Italy’s cat-flap defence was truly appalling. Perhaps they are not aware that it is permitted to pass the ball back inside in rugby union, and that there is no restriction on the number of tackles that can be made? Sadly for Ireland – and here I reveal my true colours – this too could also be pointed out to Gordon D’Arcy; there’s a rumour going around that Paul Wallace is going to come out of retirement to replace him at 12.
But finally, I long for the day – and please God let it be against Ireland – when rugby’s version of ‘Potato Head Rooney’ drops the ball swan-diving over the try line – it will happen soon. It could even be in the World Cup Final, should England somehow get there, which would make Ben Kay feel a whole lot better.