Letter: Blunt advice for English rugby

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a dedicated New Zealand rugby fan, and one of a group who have religiously sat up into the early hours of the morning in recent weeks to watch the All Blacks in action, we would like to make a few suggestions to your rugby team and supporters before this weekend's Test.

Firstly, for the team. Forget all this nonsense about trying to maul the All Blacks out of the game. It's a tactic that has never worked before and is unlikely to now against skilled tacticians like our team.

As for the English coach who was quoted in New Zealand newspapers tonight as being excited by the chances of England mauling their way into the All Blacks' territory so they could kick penalties - how wonderfully scintillating.

Do the crowds really come along to see endless up-and-unders and kicks at goal: do you not think they might just occasionally like to see the ball passed through the backs?

As for your rugby fans, who most surely must be the easiest-pleased fans in the world - start demanding better rugby. Tell the coach and the team that rugby can be entertaining and that you are paying good money to be entertained.

From one group of supporters to another, we ask your fans to make a stand on the dull and negative rugby that we have seen from your teams on this tour - we can't believe people actually pay to go and see it, and become rapturous at another penalty being kicked. We can only imagine they must be easily amused.

May we make a suggestion to the English team for the Test. Try a running / passing game. You won't win, but you might score a try or two . . .

It just might make up for all those nights we have sat up only to be dished up ponderous nonsense from your Divisional teams.

Yours faithfully,

RAY L WHITHAM

Wellington

New Zealand

22 November

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