Letters: Don’t sulk, rugby is still a wonderful game

The following letters appear in the 6 October edition of The Independent

Independent Voices@IndyVoices
Tuesday 06 October 2015 09:24
Andy Farrell leaves Monday's press conference at Pennyhill Park where he mounted a staunch defence of England head coach Stuart Lancaster
Andy Farrell leaves Monday's press conference at Pennyhill Park where he mounted a staunch defence of England head coach Stuart Lancaster

England are out of the Rugby World Cup, but why all the doom and gloom? I’m already fed up with hearing in the media about how this will kill rugby at grass roots, and pubs and clubs will go under.

What a lot of twaddle! Are we really a nation of sulkers? I was drawn to rugby precisely because it was always about the game. Most supporters appreciate and enjoy a game almost regardless of who’s playing.

Yes, support your national side, but also get behind other teams and enjoy the game for what it is, an exciting and exhilarating (most of the time) 80 minutes of sport.

It is sad that we are out of the cup but there is always the Six Nations to look forward to, not to mention following Japan.

Lisa Wademan
Cosham, Portsmouth

Today’s issue (5 October) continues with the “Supporting England Rugby” logo on your masthead, despite England’s elimination from the competition.

If you are a truly British paper, perhaps your allegiances should now be transferred to the other countries of the realm who have qualified to the next stages – Scotland (probably), Ireland (definitely) but mainly Wales, whose defeat of England a week last Saturday was probably the major reason for England’s elimination.

David J Williams
Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales

Following a letter from Graham Barlow (3 October), I too admire the attitude of rugby players and the respect they show to referees. Their courage and sportsmanship is truly superior to football players. This is true of both codes of rugby, union and league.

In referring to the “Rugby World Cup” Graham is referring to rugby union and is confused by the rules. I’m sure he is not alone. Although I do understand most of the rules of the union code, it is a very technical game, dominated by forward power. The scrums, rucks and mauls often break down as one side or the other commits a foul and penalty kicks are awarded. Don’t forget, when England last won the World Cup, it was by virtue of kicking penalty goals.

However following this latest defeat, might I suggest that, rather than waiting for rugby union to reduce its rules by 50 per cent, Graham should give rugby league a try (no pun intended).

Its players share the same qualities as the union players, but the game is faster, less technical, has fewer rules/laws and the ball is in play on average twice as long.

Geoff Lightford
Leigh, Greater Manchester

The main anomaly of rugby isn’t the fact that it is played with an oval “ball”, it is the arcane scoring system.

Team A sweeps the length of the field with a glorious passing movement that is a joy to behold and goes over for a try in the corner. The resultant conversion is missed.

Then in the middle of an untidy passage of play involving rucks and scrums, Team A commits two infringements of arcane rules. Both penalties are converted by Team B who win the match 6-5.

If anyone can tell me of a game that has a more illogical system of scoring than this, I’d be amazed.

Stuart Russell

Why I am leaving the NHS

Yesterday I left my post with the NHS and in a couple of weeks I will fly to New Zealand to take up a respiratory consultant and research post.

As with many people who emigrate, my reasons are a whole mix of family, job and quality of life, but a significant factor in deciding what we wanted was my fears for the future of the NHS over the next five to ten years.

This campaign of privatisation and destruction of doctors’ terms and conditions is paving the way for the end of the NHS in all but name.

Dr James Fingleton PhD MRCP (Resp)
Ivybridge, Devon

Am I alone in finding the current debate on the junior doctors’ contract incomprehensible?

There is 24-hour, seven-day cover already in place both in hospitals and general practice. Nights and weekends are covered by fewer staff and can be extremely busy.

Surely no one is objecting to more doctors working at these times?

The problem seems to be that Jeremy Hunt wants the present doctors to work even longer hours. Overworked, exhausted and demoralised doctors are not the answer. If we need more doctors we should employ more to cover the extra time required. Rocket science? Surely not.

As the wife and mother of NHS doctors I am concerned for their future in the NHS. We are in danger of seeing an exodus of highly educated, trained and motivated young people to other countries because they feel so undervalued here. They are a huge asset to our country; we should try to keep them.

Heather Northridge
Barrowford, Lancashire

Corbyn, saviour or bungler?

Your headline “Human rights a lower priority than trade, says Foreign Office chief” (3 October) says it all. Well done the nasty party.

This week they will again blame the Labour government for the crash, whereas we all know that it came about through greedy bankers and tax-fiddlers and their ilk, gambling with the world’s economy.

The next emphasis will be on security. We cannot trust a PM who will not push the nuclear button.

I will trust those who will not push the button.

I was brought up before the Second World War, lived through austerity Britain and have seen our heritage and welfare state practically demolished by Thatcher’s children. Is there any surprise that Jeremy Corbyn is pushing the right buttons in bringing morality back to Westminster and to our country.

Dorothy Battye

What are we bewildered Labour supporters to make of Mr Corbyn? I’m not sure what I was expecting from him, but schoolboy politics delivered through endless TV soundbites was not what I wanted. The guy is a well-meaning amateur with the gift of the gab. He clearly has no meaningful plans and is just hacking it from day to day.

We now have to hope that the Labour Party comes to its senses and ditches him sooner rather than later. Corbyn can say anything he likes right now, but he can’t actually achieve anything without power.

R Havenhand
Nantwich, Cheshire

No, Mr Corbyn, the Labour Party is not doing great (report, 1 October).

I am one of thousands who have left the Labour Party and have no intention of returning. Has the party learnt nothing? When was the last time that a divided party won power?

And just how much more divided will Labour become or how many more flip-flops will we see? Where will that list end? Trident? EU? University tuition fees?

Here in Scotland the party is equally bereft of direction, suffers from weak leadership and lacks the ability to function as either a challenging opposition or a government in waiting.

In fact, on 2 October the SNP had another clean sweep in elections here, with evidence of the (slow) growth in Tory support. What an irony if Labour should fall behind the Tory party in the 2016 elections.

Selma Rahman

The trouble with young men

I was sad to note that fundamentalism seems to have affected the Sikh religion (“Wedding smashers”, 5 October). Young men I fear. As in Isis, young men. To this, add football hooligans and sundry rioters.

It is known that African chiefs were very keen to dispose of their troublesome elements via the slave trade.

In Europe, they would in those days be pressed into the forces generally as cannon fodder, however this might be dressed up in patriotic terms.

In our more “civilised” times, mechanisation and industrial change have done away with the jobs that might have given them some role and generally removed the need for cannon fodder. They are then left with seeking some purpose in their lives.

I wonder if things started to go downhill once we stopped being hunter-gatherers.

Michael Skipper

What happened to biodegradable bags?

As a former shop owner I can’t help wondering why there is any need to charge 5p for a plastic carrier bag.

Every carrier bag I used was biodegradable and cost me a penny each. These bags literally disappeared over a small period of time in the environment and were carbon-neutral.

The real question should be why did large supermarkets and retailers apparently resist the use of such bags for so many years, preferring seemingly to pass bag costs on to consumers?

Martin Clarke
Newcastle upon Tyne

Time lords in front of the TV

I was interested to read about the audience for Doctor Who “time-shifting” in their viewing habits (Ian Burrell, 5 October); oddly enough I was saying this very thing only next month.

Mark Thomas
Histon, Cambridgeshire

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