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HJC’S THOUGHTS ON THE MODERN GAME  

 

Recently asked his opinion of the way the modern game has evolved he replied ‘My old friend Leighton Jenkins once said ‘A good big’un will invariably beat a good little’un’ How true that is and aren’t they finding some big’uns since the game became professional. Training most days of the week with modern sports medicine specialist’s in charge has ‘grown’ some huge players who, on average are 2 stones heavier than players in my day.
There are good and bad aspects:-

 

THE GOOD 

I like the clean catching in the line out through lifting and accurate throwing in. I like the quick re-cycling of the ball which is on view most of the time, I like the well managed rolling mauls which are very difficult to stop. I like the slick passing in the backs where the ball is passed for the next playerto run on to-which normally only happens with training and practice. The current Wallaby backs are the best exponents of this.   

 

THE BAD

I hear that teams are paying more to recruit front row scrummagers than running backs. Something is wrong if that is the case. Set scrums are a shambles and I have heard them described as a ‘Crime Scene’. The seeming inability of the props to satisfy the referee causes stoppages, and penalties and sin-binning the culprits seems to have little effect. When I was playing I did not know what was going on in the front row and it is even worse now. As 95% of scrums go ‘with the head’ and are won by the side putting in, can we not find another way. The use of the TV ref is essential in the game for determining tries being scored, but recent overuse in midfield should be avoided. After all there is a referee and two qualified linesmen to officiate. The high scores these days are mostly achieved by penalties and very good kickers. Do we need to revise some laws so that transgressions are less? Should all kicks score only 2 points?

TV coverage these days is terrific with 'New Kids On The Block' BT Sport, now considered ahead of BBC. Their presenters Lawrence Dallaglio, Ben Kaye, Matt Dawson, Austin Healey and Co. are personable, knowledgeable-all having had the experience themselves at the highest level- and even comical! Keep it up boys and Sarra! 'As long as my armchair does not collapse I will be a happy man' he said.

 

FURTHER THOUGHTS

The superiority of defences is damaging the spectacle of the game. Forwards are in the centre running into the opposition for ‘Phase’ Rugby. In my day, we faced one man and tried to run round him. Tackling was usually from the side. In fact, to be “Caught in Possession “ was a crime and we were taught to pass before being tackled, making for open rugby. Some of the head-on crash tackling, whilst spectacular to watch, can only lead to serious injuries and early dementia problems. I have heard that ‘G’ forces on some of these tackles can be up to 10 times that experienced by a fighter pilot, which cannot be good. In view of all this, the big’uns will prevail so what is to happen to the smaller clever runners – the Barry Johns and Phil Bennetts and Gerald Davies’s of this world? Will they be lost to the game completely? I sincerely hope not. How can we ensure that they will not? Do we form another game limiting height to 5’8 and weight to 14 stones, which should bring spectacular running to the forefront again? Do we call it DIMINUTIVE RUGBY? Who will sponsor it?

 

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