A few words on the preposterious rebranding of the IRB, a terrible turnout at the Gold Coast, the classy All Blacks, and some weird jersey choices.
The International Rugby Board has been around in some capacity since 1890. They’re recognized world-wide, have a fancy logo, a website, a twitter account, etc etc, and now they want to change their name to ‘World Rugby’. Um, what?
“Our mission is to grow the global game. It isn’t just about the ‘IRB’ and the implication that it is just a small group of people making decisions. Rugby is more global than ever, and the World Rugby identity reflects that.” – Brett Gosper, CEO
Except that it is just that. A small group of people making dumb decisions. Who else would have bothered to waste who knows how much money on an utterly pointless and, frankly, nonsensical change of name? How on earth is this decision going to benefit anybody, except maybe the ecstatic chaps at World Rugby Shop? Maybe it just sounds cooler to say CEO of World Rugby. Or even better, welcome to the World Rugby Rugby World Cup! Genius.
“The new markets we are focusing on include places like eastern Europe, Russia, China and India as well as developing markets like the US and Latin America, and these are the places where the World Rugby name will carry greater clarity and be better understood.”
Sure, because nobody knows who the NFL or NBA or NHL are. Maybe if the IRB really wanted to make a difference they could try helping the game itself, starting with their own JWRT tournament that received zero video or streaming coverage despite taking place in Hong Kong, a place renowned for its banking industry and hardly technologically challenged. They did a better job in Chile for pitty’s sake! Or maybe ensuring that the US Eagles – Russia match, two countries they are purportedly focused on developing, is broadcast from the state-of-the-art Allianz Park so fans can see what we’re really interested in – the rugby.
Of course this could all be a marketing ploy in itself. By announcing the change early and seeing the general public’s reaction, which seems to have been almost unanimously negative, it gives them time to change their mind before the ‘actual’ unveiling on November 19th. Wishful thinking? Absolutely. The IRB, or whoever they are, aren’t bright enough for that.
This is a sentiment largely suggested echoed around the media circles at the moment, but the turnout at the Argentina test on the Gold Coast was pretty pathetic. Just barely breaking the 14k mark for a test of that level, regardless of the damp weather, just isn’t going to cut it for a national union already struggling to make ends meet. Reportedly the contract signed to cover both the IRB stop and the Wallaby tests is set to expire. Time to move to greener pastures.
Well done to Richie McCaw and the All Blacks for recognizing Jean de Villiers for his 100th test after the match in Wellington, and then to do the same for Bryan Habana for his achievement the week before. Even better might be that Ma’a Nonu, who broke his arm in the first half, stuck around at the stadium to make sure de Villiers got his no12 jersey. That’s the kind of stuff that makes rugby a cut above.
Of course it’s good to freshen up your kit every couple years, especially to keep the replicas flying off the shelves in the merch shop, but some of the designs this season are a bit special. The bright orange Leicester jersey worn against Exeter on the weekend was something akin to what the 7s team has been wearing in recent days. Harlequins have a pretty horrendous alternate jersey as well, and what on earth are Newcastle doing wearing sky blue or maroon? It seems you don’t have to live in Paris to wear the latest trends.