No World Cup, No All Blacks
by Paul Waite
9 Mar 2002
The dinosaurs are stirring. Jurassic Park is alive and well, and situated in the IRB offices. Chief attraction in the Park is a very old saurian with a tiny brain, affectionately known as Vermin Phew.
“He’s a bit thick, but he’s been around so long we call him The Boss”, said Algy Bigglesthing-Smythe, the head keeper.
“Actually we get him to make all our key decisions by throwing a rugby ball into his enclosure and seeing what he does. Last week he crapped on it, so we’re acting accordingly.”
Bigglesthing-Smythe refused to be drawn on exactly what that meant.
Which is exactly the kind of communication channel that the IRB seem to think is par for the course, judging by what NZRFU head honcho David Rutherford told us last night. Let’s take a look at what the IRB have been saying and doing lately. Last night a fax was sent from ARU headquarters at the instigation of IRB errand-boy Chris Rea to the NZRFU, informing them unilaterally that they had reluctantly withdrawn their offer to New Zealand to co-host the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
Here’s the spin itself:
“(RWC) has reluctantly been forced into this action by the New Zealand Rugby Union’s failure to conform or to accept its obligations, and having regard to the proximity of the tournament has had no alternative but to take the necessary steps to move forward as quickly as possible,” the IRB said in a statement on Friday.
The very picture of a switched-on, go-get-’em bunch of guys dedicated to doing everything possible to organise the next World Cup, and deftly stepping around some unreasonable dumbness being exhibited by those thicko oiks from New Zealand. Call me cynical, but as the saying goes: “what’s wrong with this picture?”.
The “obligations” include, amongst other things, a requirement to provide corporate box facilities cleaned of advertising, and associated hospitality areas at every World Cup venue for the duration of the event. This is not news. The NZRFU was aware of this from the outset, and at the one and only meeting which has been held by the full IRB Council for the Rugby World Cup, the IRB were informed that New Zealand could not deliver on this because corporate boxes and hospitality areas did not belong to it. For goodness’ sake, these things are the same in every country. People spend big bucks for the facilities and they own them via leases. The same applies with deals done for advertising, signed up in many cases, years before the World Cup was even mooted. To expect that these can be somehow made to disappear as if by magic is bloody ridiculous.
So, true to saurian form, our friendly leviathon stuck it’s head in the sand and ignored the problem. Meetings to discuss the issue were called for by the NZRFU but the response was “just sign the agreement, then we’ll talk”. Brilliant. With behaviour like that it’s a wonder the Old Boys In Charge were able to be dragged kicking and screaming to agree to hold the inaugural World Cup in 1987 by New Zealand in the first place.
As it stands the NZRFU are saying that the co-host status of New Zealand was set up by the IRB full council and can only be taken away by that full council, and not by Rugby World Cup Ltd. Presumably that will be clarified in the next few days.
In the meantime, as a New Zealander, I’m not particularly keen on being pushed around by a bunch of micro-encephalopods from the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the apparent contempt in which we’re being held that grates. From what David Rutherford has said, and I for one believe him, it’s been a case of the IRB refusing to meet face to face to discuss the problems and solve them – an attitude which effectively tells us we’re not important enough to bother with, and the IRB know best.
Fine. If that’s how they want to play it then let’s boycott the bloody event. Who the hell needs it anyway? One thing is for sure, if we did boycott it the winner of Rugby World Cup 2003 would have a hollow victory.
As for the IRB, that bunch of antiquated buffoons are just adding to their legend. Comparing them with dinosaurs is an insult to a form of life which ruled the Earth for millions of years. God help us if the IRB headed up the Rugby World for a fraction of that time. Another five minutes would be too long, but in reality we’re stuck with the useless gits for a while yet. The only way to get the attention of somebody afflicted with gross stupidity is to do something BIG, so they’re forced to take notice.
Let ‘em have it right between the eyes! : Should we withdraw the the All Blacks from the 2003 Rugby World Cup if the IRB strip co-host status from us?
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