Gregor Paul from the Herald on Sunday lists the five most annoying/stupid things about rugby.
1: The statement posed as a question
TV bosses have this insatiable appetite for change and doing things differently. It's not enough any more just to take a truckload of the cameras to the ground, have a bit of pre-match analysis, broadcast the game then hang around for a few clichés from the respective captains.
Nope...now we have to endure the out of breath, befuddled thinking of one of the players as he makes his way to the changing room at half-time.
Usual format is that profusely sweating and heavily fatigued man has microphone thrust in his face followed by someone making inane observation but raising their voice by a few octaves at the end to frame it as a question. We are all enriched by this engagement: it is highly insightful. Not.
2: We'll have the scrum please
Coaches can't go more than five minutes without bemoaning scrums. Hate them, they do: they are a lottery they say. Not an attacking platform. The referees are inconsistent and it's such a shambles it's better to not have the put in. So...team wins free-kick five metres out. What do they do? They take the scrum. Ahhhhgghhh. Look at the stats boys, almost as many tries come from tap penalties as they do scrums.
3: The driving maul
How can this make sense? In all facets of the game it is highly illegal to shield the ball carrier. Tacklers have to have clear access to the ball carrier. Refs ping teams when they obstruct at kick-offs or shepherd in general play. And yet, strangely, if you put an entire phalanx of bodied between the opposition and the ball carrier, somehow this is okay.
Somehow when you do that, the ref starts looking out for the defensive reaction, eager to penalise them for pulling it down. And why can't you pull it down? Someone will get injured they say? Eh...duh...it's rugby. Why let players tackle if that's the logic?
4: Delaying the Drop Goal
Why oh why when teams are two points behind do they wait and wait before they line up the drop goal? They never pull the trigger at the right time - always look to score the try first which is dopey because it increases the risk of losing the ball and takes them out of position to drop the goal. Here's the deal - create the chance, take the chance. Be clear, don't wait, win the game.
5: Playing in the dark
Old chestnut this one...but who cares. Play in the day, with a dry ball and a dry track and without the glare of the lights.