Cripple fight - Bryan Gould has a go at The Walrus



  • Bryan Gould has a column in today's Herald in which he sticks the shiv into BOD and The Walrus. I didn't even know he was a sports fan.

    "In sport, as in the rest of life, success is not always accompanied by applause and approbation. It can often attract resentment, envy and criticism. Rugby is no exception.

    The unparalleled success enjoyed by the All Blacks over such a long period is most often greeted by sports fans around the world with praise, enjoyment and wonder. But there is always a substantial fringe of supposed rugby fans - usually from overseas - for whom that success is not to be celebrated for the skill and commitment it represents but is to be diminished and denigrated by those who cannot bear to see a team from another country garnering plaudits for its dominance.

    Anyone with a stomach strong enough to read the readers' comments that are often published following match reports in overseas newspapers will have become inured to the spiteful and churlish attempts to devalue the All Blacks' performance.

    Many of these "rugby fans" profess to see in the ABs' exploits nothing more than a willingness to play dirty and break the rules, and when the authorities mysteriously fail to agree with them, they take refuge in another bolt hole - the All Blacks, they assert, enjoy some sort of miraculous immunity from the usual laws and penalties.

    Most such comments can be dismissed without a moment's thought, since those making them are so manifestly lacking in any knowledge of the game or of its administration. But there are those who should, and do, know better, and who should be challenged when they persist in trying to make anything worth drinking from such sour grapes.

    The most recent test match against the Wallabies, and the alleged "eye-gouging" by Owen Franks, provide a leading, and regrettable, example. We can perhaps excuse Michael Cheika, desperate for something - anything - to divert attention from yet another defeat, for his attempt to focus on the alleged incident; and we can certainly agree that the footage shown ad nauseam on our screens demonstrates that it is unwise to allow a hand to get anywhere near an opponent's face.

    But what is less forgivable is the alacrity with which some professional commentators in the Northern Hemisphere jumped on the bandwagon, and enthusiastically supported a complaint that even the alleged victim did not wish, to his credit, to pursue.

    One could almost hear the sighs of relief from a Stephen Jones or a Brian O'Driscoll that there was something about yet another All Black victory that might allow them to comment negatively rather than positively.

    Commentators such as these have form. They are both renowned for grudges they bear against not only the All Blacks, but against the New Zealand rugby public and even the country itself. O'Driscoll at least has the excuse that he was the victim of a shockingly unfortunate accident in a Lions match when he was the tourists' captain.

    Where he goes beyond what is reasonable is his unwillingness to accept that his injury was caused unintentionally and was not the result of deliberate foul play, and that any complaint about his treatment should be laid at the door of the judiciary and not of New Zealand rugby. Instead, he has all too predictably used the Franks incident to re-ignite the charge that the All Blacks play dirty and have some special dispensation that allows them to get away with it.

    UK scribe Jones has no such excuse. As far as I know, the All Blacks and New Zealand have never done him an injury, either physical or metaphorical, but have instead treated him as a welcome guest when he has visited these shores. Yet the Sunday Times' experienced rugby correspondent has returned to the Lions' tour and the O'Driscoll accident in order to persuade his readers that the Franks episode is just the latest instance in a long-established pattern of All Blacks foul play, and blind eyes suffered not just by their opponents but by officials as well.

    Jones' comments might easily be dismissed as an aberration if it were not for the animus he has displayed against the All Blacks over a long period.

    His relationship with Southern Hemisphere rugby has always been somewhat fractious, going back to the early days of Super Rugby which he dismissed as candy-floss, with little to commend it in terms of forward play or defensive rigour.

    As to what that animus might be based on, we can only speculate. The best bet seems to be that - to do him some sort of justice - he lives and feels his rugby so keenly that he literally cannot bear to see the teams he supports beaten so regularly and comprehensively by a team from a small and faraway country.

    What he seems to seek is some sort of release or catharsis that allows him to excuse their defeats by attributing them to factors other than their own deficiencies or the merits of their All Blacks opponents.

    The best advice we can offer him - and O'Driscoll, who famously lost every match he played against the All Blacks - is that it's just a game. It's just that the All Blacks are very good at it. And did Malakai Fekitoa ever get his boot back?"



  • Good column.

    I know the Fern was down when Jonesy's article was published but was quite pleased to see we dismissed it as the irrelevancy that it is and that he has become by not starting a thread on it subsequently.

    Now that someone else has though...who is Bryan Gould btw?

    I did want to say that Jonesy has officially jumped the shark with this one. That would have been my thread title and I'm a little disappointed I didn't get to use it.

    Also I see Andy Robinson is digging over the ghosts of '05 also.



  • I did have to laugh when someone in the article comments pointed to Jones' Wikipedia listing

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  • @booboo

    Bryan Gould was a politician back in the day, something high up in the Labour Party but I think he was originally a Labour MP in the UK. He was also the vice chancellor at Waikato after Wilf Malcolm left. Gould would be one of the most liberal people I've ever met, just to the softer and more caring left hand side of the Archbishop of Canterbury. After last year's election debacle he came to the conclusion that all would have been well if everybody had just united behind Cunliffe. Or something.



  • That's a very good rugby article for an academic.

    No wonder our rugby culture is so strong when even our nerd elite have such a thorough appreciation of the game.



  • I'm surprised to see Gould say that to say the least. Good on him though, it's a far more calm and measured response than I would come up with if anyone was foolish enough to let me write a column in a paper about those two losers,

    JC his post election conclusion was that Labour didn't shift left enough. No surprises there I guess.



  • @booboo said in Cripple fight - Bryan Gould has a go at The Walrus:

    Also I see Andy Robinson is digging over the ghosts of '05 also.

    At least he's constructive by advising Gatland what it's like to be in New Zealand.



  • I was pretty shocked seeing the Walrus in the flesh in 2005, he's quite a tall fluffybunny. He had his trademark scowl on as he walked with lots of New Zealander ( even worse, ones from Wellington ) after the Lions v Lions game. ( the game in which Riki Flutey made history )

    Did he write a column having a whinge about NZs hospitality, transport and food as well or did I imagine that in amongst all his other vitriol....



  • @MN5 Pumpkin soup.



  • I think the thing that shit's me the most about Jones is the fact he's not even clever or witty in his criticisms. Peter Fizsimons gives NZ a bit of shit but he is pretty amusing in how he does it. The Walrus was at his worst in 99 when he ( and any amount of others of his ilk ) all of a sudden become the biggest French Rugby fans in the world and went on about how Rueben Thorne didn't have the "aura" of Martin Johnson or Fabien Pelous when he walked in a room or other such bullshit.

    It's like the "hilarious" memes that go round, the old "I support the All Blacks, or anyone playing Australia" Ha ha ha chortle chortle.....oh my sides........



  • @MN5 And at least Fitzsimons has actually played international footy. I give a lot more credence to someone who actually stood toe to toe with the team he's having a dig at. Jones? meh.



  • Didn't we come to the conclusion that back in the Dark Ages when Jones was a lad, he had his heart broken by a New Zealander (I'm not going to specify gender) and that is the source of his everlasting bile?



  • @Mokey said in Cripple fight - Bryan Gould has a go at The Walrus:

    Didn't we come to the conclusion that back in the Dark Ages when Jones was a lad, he had his heart broken by a New Zealander (I'm not going to specify gender species) and that is the source of his everlasting bile?

    fixed Mokey 😉



  • @Mokey

    Sounds like a story that needs to be told Mokey. A villainous, pudgy Welshman with six fingers on one hand, spurned by a virile young Kiwi boy.



  • @JC said in Cripple fight - Bryan Gould has a go at The Walrus:

    @Mokey

    Sounds like a story that needs to be told Mokey. A villainous, pudgy Welshman with six fingers on one hand, spurned by a virile young Kiwi boy lamb.

    fixed.



  • @taniwharugby can't be sheep. He is Welsh. They look after their own.



  • @nostrildamus he was on holiday, obviously thought that he could do as he pleased in NZ as he did in the Valleys!



  • @JC said in Cripple fight - Bryan Gould has a go at The Walrus:

    @booboo

    Bryan Gould was a politician back in the day, something high up in the Labour Party but I think he was originally a Labour MP in the UK. He was also the vice chancellor at Waikato after Wilf Malcolm left. Gould would be one of the most liberal people I've ever met, just to the softer and more caring left hand side of the Archbishop of Canterbury. After last year's election debacle he came to the conclusion that all would have been well if everybody had just united behind Cunliffe. Or something.

    Not just an MP, in the Shadow Cabinet, he actually ran for leader of the Labour Party in the Uk and failed the first time and I think before he left to return(?) to the Waikato as VC he was mooted as a future leader of Labour so who knows what would have happened if he stayed. He should write well, being an ex-journalist. His brother, btw, popularised Sudoko and was a HK judge.
    Here is some insight into his views of New Labour https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/feb/20/labour-foreign-policy



  • @Mokey said in Cripple fight - Bryan Gould has a go at The Walrus:

    Didn't we come to the conclusion that back in the Dark Ages when Jones was a lad, he had his heart broken by a New Zealander (I'm not going to specify gender) and that is the source of his everlasting bile?

    Gender?

    I'd be querying species ...


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