4 Oct

Who created the monster?
by Rick Boyd
4 Oct 2003

The old die-hard dinosaurs on the IRB resisted the concept of a world cup when it was first raised, and in many ways they were dead right, if for all the wrong reasons.

The world cup should be a fine addition to international rugby, a great showcase of the noble game, a carnival of colour and spectacle. The winner of this knock-out tournament should win the handsome gold cup and bear the title “Rugby World Cup Holder” for four years.

But the whole thing has become a bloated, ugly monster. Although it was never deemed so officially, the tag “world champion” has been applied all too often to the winner, a ridiculous claim that cannot possibly last for four years. It would be different if there was a “world championship” every year or every two years, but four years? Foolish in the extreme. Only one team has ever lived up to the claim — the first world cup holders, New Zealand. And that had absolutely nothing to do with them winning the world cup, it had to do with them having a brilliant team for four years running.

And then there’s the organisation of the cup. That sad old pile of cross-dressing incontinent fossils, the IRB, have shamlessly abused the whole concept and turned it into a vast price-gouging exercise so that fat, gin-soaked pommy CEO’s can stuff themselves into corporate boxes and flush down crab meat and caviar with Moet and Chandon — meanwhile, the average rugby bloke has to mortgage his house and sell his children to Arab slave traders just to afford to perch on an apple crate behind a power pole during any game that does not feature Surinam v Andorra.

Now the entire rugby calendar has become almost irrelevant. Tours, test series, all manner of cups and competitions mean next to nothing — all of them just trial runs for the Big Event, that knock-out lottery in the quadrennial world cup. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. Overseas tours are now just development exercises, traditional stadium-fillers have been rendered meaningless as England A plays France B or vice versa. The result is not really important, it’s all just preparation for The Cup.

Rugby fans the world over should be furious. We are being short-changed. We want porterhouse steak and we are being fed watered-down gruel, with only a promise of a possible overpriced smorgasbord in a few year’s time to keep our mouths watering.

The winner of this silly lottery will strut around like Jesus Christ Almighty for four years, while all the rest get flushed down the big rugby toilet until the next cup.

Let me serve notice that I for one am not giving this world cup more than its due in 2003. Hopefully it will be lots of fun, there will be some spectacular rugby, some tense clashes, and one or two streakers with really big tits.

I reserve the right to give a serve to any team not performing up to scratch, including the All Blacks, but I refuse to give the eventual winner more than a short round of applause and quite modest recognition for surviving the knock-out craps game, unless they have performed with exceptional brilliance (again, including the All Blacks).

There will of course be the predictable “getting your excuses in early, are you?” from the ignorant and the envious, and they’re welcome to what they optimistically consider an opinion.

Bring on the World Cup and may the best team win. Other than Australia, of course.

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