i Editor's Letter: Big southern hemisphere teams


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The Independent Online


Many of you have been exercised this past week by the “failure”of England’s rugby team at the World Cup Finals.

i’s James Lawton was among the more vociferous critics of the off-field shenanigans and on field disappointments. He was particularly damning of Mike Tindall’s big night out, even when everyone was pretending it wasn’t so big (and before the hotel maid saga).

James was correct in his indictment of camp culture under Tindall, Lewis Moody and Martin Johnson. It proved again the difficulty of one of the lads (or staff) becoming the boss. Would this same culture have been allowed under the more meticulous Sir Clive Woodward? Not all i readers agree.

Charles Stringer, president of Hertford RFC, writes: “I guarantee rugby players all over the world believe that having a few beers after a game is an essential part of the rugby ethos.”Charles argues that the “controlled aggression”on the pitch needs an outlet off it. Hmm, maybe, Charles. But we are not talking about a local rugby club, however wonderful.

Rugby has long been a professional sport. This is a national team at the World Cup. Surely, this should be the pinnacle of the players’ dreams? They really can’t quit the booze for a few weeks? A different assessment of what happened in New Zealand came from Rob Richardson of Norfolk, who says we all “lost perspective”.

The favourites, Rob argues, were always going to be the big three southern hemisphere teams, with England or France fourth favourites. Nothing in the past four years gave a neutral any indication England might win that tournament. All the more reason for the team to focus and prove all their critics wrong.

Sadly, they were not up to the challenge. As Americans say: period. See you on Monday.