Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time to Grow the Pond.

Yet again, the All Blacks have shown themselves to be the biggest fish in the pond. But the pond is too small. There are not a dozen seriously competitive international teams (if I group the Pacific Islands together). And I haven't forgotten that it was Fiji wot dumped us out of the last World Cup.

Whatever, we need more nations playing the game seriously. So I'm pleased to see that its a Welshman, Howard Thomas who's in charge of development of rugby in Russia. Simon Thomas, writing in today's Wales on Sunday describes plans by the 'Great Bear' to create a new force in world rugby, even bid to host the 2019 World Cup. We shouldn't hold our breath though, if experience in anything to go by. Single-minded selfishness has been the main factor in deciding the host nation in the past. It was a huge mistake, born of the selfish shortsightedness, not to hold the next World Cup in Japan. Best of luck to Howard Thomas. You'll need it as much as the game needs you to succeed.

We in Wales are more used than most to the bureaucratic madness that seems to infect the way the great game is managed. The short list for today's 'International Player of the Year' looks like it was chosen by the Eurovision Song Contest scoring system. The result should be announced on the Comedy Channel. All I need to say is that Blair of Scotland and Piresse of Italy are in, while Ritchie Macaw and Victor Matfield are out. They'll probably give it to Dan Carter again this year, but I'd forget the disgraceful short listing process and cheer through my one-eyed glasses if they gave it to Shane Williams.

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