Chris Moerdyk

I'm glad my father is dead

2012-09-24 07:15

Chris Moerdyk

My father loved rugby. He coached successful rugby teams and was rewarded by being made an honorary life member of what was then The Northern Transvaal Rugby Union.

He died 16 years ago and I'm glad he's not alive today because the way rugby is being played right now, would have killed him.

Had he not been cremated I am quite sure that he would be turning in his grave.

I am also an avid rugby fan. I've played the game at junior provincial level and I am an avid supporter of the 'Boks and any team that plays Australia.

But, I have to say, I am getting a bit bored with it. And so too are a lot of my friends and family.

I am getting frustrated watching a bunch of big forwards getting a ball out of a ruck and then immediately passing it to another bunch of forwards over and over again, who immediately dive back into the fray and maybe, with luck, gain a metre of two of territory.

I get even more frustrated when I watch them do this for the umpteenth time and then knock on and give away possession after having gained a few metres.

I get suicidally frustrated when at last the scrumhalf sends the ball out along the backline but instead of going from centre to centre and out to the wing there are about five or six lumbering forwards who have embedded themselves in the backline and either go to ground to start a whole new boring round of ruck after ruck or they knock on and give possession away.

How iconic players like Bryan Habana manage to stay positive is beyond me because their chances of getting the ball from a backline filled with interfering forwards are about nil.

But, what makes me absolutely murderously mad is when the kicking starts. Scrumhalves and flyhalves who religiously follow instructions to kick high up and unders.

I spent countless hours during the past few years keeping as record of how often tactical kicking actually worked. Generally speaking, those up and unders, grubber kicks and so forth actually only work about 15% of the time at best. Which means that 85% of the time all that is happening is that possession if being given away.

It's the same thing with kicks to touch. I often laugh at commentators who applaud a player for getting a really good touch kick. But what they fail to do, as with all kicks, is not just look at the immediate result but consequence.

All, very well getting a good touch kick in but what happens next when the opposition have possession is what really counts.

I also have to say that this whole business of "touch-pause-engage" with scrums is ludicrous. And I’m willing to bet that it won't last much longer.

Anyway, enough of technicalities, my point that I am finding this "defensive" rugby more and more boring. I cannot accept any game plan based on hoping that the opposition will make a mistake.

Rugby has become a game that is predictable in just about every sense but the result.

My father had a simple coaching philosophy. The big guys got possession to give the ball to the small fast guys, lying deep enough to build up a head of speed, who passed it along to the fastest who put it down behind the posts. My father would drop a player from the team if he kicked the ball, outside of his own 25. A simple system that saw the old man win in excess of 80% of his games.

Am, I alone in finding that my passion for rugby is waning?

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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