Monday, February 06, 2006

Oi,NZRFU. No!

The NZ rugby union released its “Pecking order” for its long term strategy yesterday.

The six priorities are:

• Ensure the All Blacks are a winning team
• Successfully implement new competitions
• Complete the Provincial Union Funding Review
• Implement agreed revenue generation opportunities
• Prepare for Rugby World Cup 2007
• Implement structure and finalise agreements to host Rugby World Cup 2011

Where, oh where, oh where is the Sevens? I looked high. I looked low. Yet nary a trace of the finest breading ground for exceptional All Blacks was there to be found. This is an utter disgrace. The sevens environment, which produced such incredible and legendary All Blacks as Glen Osborne, Jonah Lomu, and the incomparable Christian Cullen and many others including Mills Muliaina Joe Rokocoko, Rodney So’oialo, and Marty Holah, has been swept aside in favour of the expanded and long winded super 14 and the “elite” NPC competition. This is a tragedy and a huge loss to NZ rugby.

In no other environment was the training and coaching available to bring out the most explosive talents in some of our most successful backs and loose forwards. Even today, former sevens players form the mainstay of most of our “Super” 14 teams. Sevens guru and national coach Gordon Tejtiens taught his charges the basics of fitness, speed training, team work and confidence. Hendog (All Blacks coach Graham Henry) knows how important this is and when one of his best assets, “Rocketman” Joe Rokocoko was playing well below his best, he was packed off to Tejtiens house of pain to regain his match winning form. And surprise, surprise, it worked. The All Blacks were once again a winning team (No 1. in the six priorities). Okay they were winning anyway but I certainly felt more confident when Joe was on the field (though that may have been cos Doug Howlett fails to inspire any confidence in me).

It’s just such a shame that the sport that currently offers the best two days of rugby entertainment for more than 70,000 fans live and a rising television audience is being pushed aside to make way for other “more profitable” things. At present, if you asked any rugby following member of the public would they rather go to the Air New Zealand Cup (new NPC) Final or the Wellington sevens, I reckon 8/10 would nominate the Wellington sevens.

And bollocks to you who say that people only go to the sevens to dress up and see other people at the stadium. If that was the case, they’d sell out more one day cricket matches. It is about the rugby. Sometimes the strongest cheers are for the little fellas, like Papua New Guinea and Kenya. Its the entertainment, the speed, the explosiveness and the unpredictability of sevens that makes it so popular and such a great tool for developing and harnessing the raw potential of many young New Zealand Rugby players. The rugby union needs a good kick in the pants if they want to treat sevens with so little respect. They have a lot to thank it for and they may be in for a scare if they continue to ignore its importance.

5 Comments:

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Hadyn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:00 PM, Blogger Hadyn said...

"And bollocks to you who say that people only go to the sevens to dress up and see other people at the stadium. If that was the case, they’d sell out more one day cricket matches"

Or it could be that cricket is SO boring that it can suck the fun right out of anything?

On Saturday I thought about doing a quick survey of random Sevens attendess (who I assumed would be the drunk ones) and asking "who won?" and "who played in the semis?"

Those are fairly vague strategies. Ensure the All Blacks are a winning team could mean that The Titch has his pick of players to develop but that the All Blacks can pinch them back at a moments notice.

Remember we will have the Pacific Five Nations as well.

 
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