Chris Rattue on sport
The latest sport analysis and comment from Herald columnist Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue: When sport drives me crazy

Music at tests, coaches whining and pre-match coverage main causes for irritation

Tana Umaga. Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Tana Umaga. Illustration / Rod Emmerson

Music at rugby tests

Look, I've sung 10 Guitars as much as the next drunk at 3 in the morning in a room full of people who look only vaguely familiar. I grew up to the sounds of catchy New Zealand pop hits and wondered why they weren't world famous. This is not a swipe at the Kiwi music. But why do we need pop tunes blasting at rugby tests, a la Hamilton last Saturday? Okay, we're not very good at sports atmospheres, but the music even played while Dan Carter prepared a goal attempt. How rude. Let the game dictate the mood, at least at test level. The musical interjections make tests feel like just another game.

Reaction to Sigmund

A lack of official outrage over Ben Sigmund's disgraceful, two-footed stamp on a United Arab Emirates player he'd already hacked down.

Ban him for a year, accompanied by genuine New Zealand Football condemnation of such thuggery rather than the muted response that has concentrated on his availability for the World Cup qualification matches.

Who cares if he's available - NZF should chuck him out anyway. No wonder we have pitch battles in schoolboy sport. Sigmund's act certainly puts into perspective Wallaby rugby target Quade Cooper's comparatively minor infractions. The hall of infamy - Richard Loe, John Ashworth, Moaner van Heerden, Jim Mills, Johan le Roux (kids, ask your mum and dad) and now ... Ben Sigmund. The All Whites defender can come back, in terms of playing and reputation. But he has to pay a heavy price. It was so bad that Sigmund doesn't deserve to go to the World Cup, although neither does the team the way they are playing.

Coaches attacking referees

There are occasions when reasoned criticism is justified, and trends over extended time do need evaluating. But the instant, post-match coaching bleat is a scapegoating that has got out of hand around the world. A lot of refereeing decisions are subjective, especially in rugby, which makes them easy pickings. Perfection is just not possible. Counties Manukau coach Tana Umaga was way out of line in his public attack on Glen Jackson. I'm waiting for the day when a coach beats down a door to thank a referee for a bum decision that won his side the game. Winning coaches rave on about how brave their lads were, what magnificent human beings inhabit their club, hint at their own genius planning and describe how the sun shines out of their captain's backside. These coaches always seem to forget the very same referees who assume such amazing importance when they lose. Blah, blah, blah.

Loaded questions, and answers

Current All Blacks joining the TV build-up to rugby tests. You have got to be joking. They have nothing of interest to say, and if they did, they wouldn't say it anyway.

Sky TV schedules

Sky TV lumping the pre-match build-up in with the match on the schedule times. When recording, it chews up a lot of hard drive with a lot of drivel.

Begging The Conrad Smith Wing Flap - footballers begging for penalties (and cards). It started in soccer, worked its way into league and now is all the rage in union. Sad. Just get on with playing the game. There's even a version of diving going on in league, with players manipulating the video replay system by staying down to increase the chance of a penalty.

Feleti Mateo I'm still in the fan club, but with one foot out the door. Brilliant for the Warriors one day, disappears the next. Problem one: Mateo is so influential (and unique) at his best that his erratic contributions have too great an effect on the season. It's not as if you can slot another player of his type in and carry on regardless. When Mateo is having an off day, or an off month, the whole deal changes. Problem two: he signed a new contract this year, so the Warriors have wedded themselves to this one-man rollercoaster. The cons are starting to outweigh the pros. Mateo's regular down times are infuriating.

Double standards

Why are there so many Russell Coutts-haters who brand him a traitor, yet Graham Henry is portrayed as a kindly worker for world rugby when he helps coach Argentina? And don't mention the "cheating" - the Coutts haters were there long before that. Hey, Coutts did what he did to help struggling Swiss sailing. Ha, ha, ha.

Coliseum's picture qualityThe internet soccer service is brilliant except for one small matter on my screens - general picture quality (compared to Sky), and particularly motion blur. Very frustrating, especially as it could be so good.

Boo with feeling

For those who feel they must boo Quade Cooper, try doing it properly. At the moment, this alleged outpouring of passion in defence of the much wronged All Black superhero Richie McCaw sounds more like a bunch of cows.

Music at rugby tests

Deserves another mention.

- NZ Herald

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