Thursday, September 24, 2009

England to dominate the world.

Today we learn that the Rugby Football Union plans to dominate the rugby world over the next eight years. Today's Telegraph Headline, over Mick Cleary's column is "England's target is world domination". The RFU expects England to win two World Cup tournaments, four Six Nation Championships, including two Grand Slams, and to win two out of every three games against major southern hemisphere teams. This is typical of England sporting teams. There's this casual assumption that they have some God given right to win, which irritates the rest of us no end. And there's absolutely no justification for such confidence. I was just reflecting on whether this was the most overblown, unrealistic, unbelievable ambition of the 21st century so far, when I read this report of Nick Clegg sending party activists home from the Lib Dem Conference 'back to their constituencies to prepare for him taking over as our Prime Minister'!

7 comments:

Uncle Bob said...

Thanks for providing me with a hearty laugh! What England need to appreciate is that the reason for their success from the late 90's to the 2003 RWC was that they were the first nation to truly grasp professionalism by the horns. Since then the other major nations have overtaken them and they have a long way to go to catch Wales and Ireland in european terms. The recent lions tour highlighted the lack of topclass players they now have. Tom Croft did well, but aside from the aging Simon Shaw they had nobody else that really shone.

Glyn Davies said...

Uncle Bob - I do think England will perform well if Johnny Wilkinson is back to form. Good stories coming over the wire from France. One man doesn't make a team, but Wilkinson could be the key. Flutey's injury is a big blow.

Uncle Bob said...

With Wilkinson's injury history you can't seroiusly expect him to come through a French season unscathed. I think England's trouble stems from the Guiness Premiership. I don't think it's as strong as it used to be, the easiest way for them to sort that out would be to reduce the number of teams and concentrate the talent at the top tier of English rugby. It's the same reason Wales struggled in the professional era until we got to grips with the regiona system. Now we have a Magners league where we often see games packed with International players on both sides and playing at a level a lot closer to Test match intensity. For financial reasons, the RFU and England's top clubs are reluctant to do this.

Glyn Davies said...

Uncle Bob - Fair point about Wilkinson - so its a big if. He is a great player wheen he's fit though. Don't agree about about number of teams in the Guiness Premiership. If Wales with a population of three million can support four teams, there is no reason why England, with a population of almost fifty million cannot support twelve - especially since they are evenly spread - Four in the South-East, two in the South-West, three in the Midlands, and three in the North.

Anonymous said...

I thought there was more like 60million people living in England?

Uncle Bob said...

Yes but the cream of their sporting talent doesn't naturally go to Rugby first like here in Wales. Don't get me wrong, there are an awful lot of fans and the largest player base in the world but most of the talented children at sport get funneled off to other areas whereas here the boys who athletically excel will almost invariably end up trying rugby as it's part of the welsh psyche. Plus the north of England still attracts rugby league followers whereas that's no longer an issue for us since professionalism.

I do hope Wilkinson can remain fit but I don't think he'll recover to his 2003 levels. The physical demands on modern rugby are too great for physical weaknesses not to be exposed.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - In approximate figures, I think of Britain as having a population of 60 million, with Scotland having around 5 million and Wales at 3 million - So that leaves a bit over 50 million for England.


Uncle Bob - Sadly, I fear you may be right about Wilkinson. Although he is 'English', I have always admired his commitment and talent - matched only by O'Driscoll in the 6 Nations over recent years. Been lots of great players, but these two have been special.