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Day: October 8, 2020

British Irish Lions Tour – Madness if Boks play in Rugby Champs

Former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen believes South Africa should skip this year’s Rugby Championship and focus on the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour.

While the announcement that the 2020 Rugby Championship would be held in Australia from 7 November to 12 December was made by Sanzaar on Friday morning, it was also confirmed that the Springboks’ participation in the tournament was still to be confirmed, dependent on several factors. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

British Irish Lions Tour -  Madness if Boks play in Rugby Champs
British Irish Lions Tour – Madness if Boks play in Rugby Champs

Claassen says travelling to Australia to compete in the Rugby Championship will not be in the best interest of the Springboks and that SA Rugby should take a stand and withdraw from the competition at least for this year.

‘I honestly believe they should not play in the Championship; it simply doesn’t make any sense to me,’ Claassen told The Citizen.

‘If one thinks that New Zealand and Australia have been playing their domestic rugby for the last two months and our rugby hasn’t even restarted yet, we would definitely be underprepared.

‘What will happen if we again give 50 points away to New Zealand, like what happened in 2016 and 2017 – who will be blamed?

British Irish Lions Tour -  Madness if Boks play in Rugby Champs
British Irish Lions Tour – Madness if Boks play in Rugby Champs

‘We’ve got more to lose by playing in the Championship. We must remember that we are the World Cup champs, the No 1 ranked team in the world and the Rugby Championship holders,’ he said.

‘One has to understand that because of Covid-19 we haven’t been able to restart our local game, but it is what it is and we just have to move on and forget about the Rugby Championship for this year.

‘SA Rugby must just take a stand and decide what is in the best interests of the Boks and their legacy. Yes, money talks, but it’s not all about money; there are many more factors at play.’

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‘England was stupid… that’s killed the Lions tour’: Willie John McBride’s lament for modern rugby

Legendary British and Irish Lions captain Willie John McBride has savagely attacked modern rugby, claiming that it has become an unedifying mix of union, league and American football that is being ruined by an injury crisis and the dominance of money. Rugby enthusiasts can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Captain of the famous 1974 Lions that conquered South Africa, McBride went international 17 times for tourists on five separate tours, while also winning 63 matches for Ireland before retiring in 1975.

Now in his 80s, he has not struck out in the foreword to Saving Rugby Union, the newly published book written by Ross Reyburn and published by Y Lolfa that tackles the myriad of issues that affect the best development of professional rugby.

'England was stupid... that's killed the Lions tour': Willie John McBride's lament for modern rugby
‘England was stupid… that’s killed the Lions tour’: Willie John McBride’s lament for modern rugby

In addition to facing the lack of space and high injury rate in rugby today, Lions King McBride also lamented the collapse mechanics, crooked feeding at scrum time, the excessive prevalence of replacements and the ease with which players can change nationality.

Willie John McBride

McBride wrote: Rugby today is nothing like the game I played. It is a mix of rugby union and rugby league, which is heavily influenced by rugby union, with players lined up on the field against each other, and American football, with obstruction and blocking.

In the modern game, you can theoretically hold the ball for 40 minutes with endless phases. In the amateur era, once you got down on the ground, you had to drop the ball and escape. The players could then roll over the ball.

Today when the guys go to the ground, they are still holding on to the ball and putting it back with their hands. It allows the sides to hold the ball during phase after phase, as it is very difficult for defenders to catch the ball at half-time. It is absolutely ridiculous.

'England was stupid... that's killed the Lions tour': Willie John McBride's lament for modern rugby
‘England was stupid… that’s killed the Lions tour’: Willie John McBride’s lament for modern rugby

There were never any serious injuries in the rucks because you really had to drop the ball and get away to avoid getting the rake back. If he clings to the ball, he will be penalized.

Today there are more and more pile-ups with knees and elbows hitting other players, causing injuries. Referees explode for a scrum when the ball is buried in a pile of bodies. This just wouldn’t happen in a ruck situation when playing.

On the breakdown, I just don’t understand why people are tackling players who don’t have the ball. It is not a sport, they are just attacking people to get them out. Surely the law says that you cannot tackle a player who does not have the ball.

“Any game has to do with space. The modern game is about closing the gap with players lined up on the field due to the rugby phase. The only thing that surprises me is why they changed our game.”

'England was stupid... that's killed the Lions tour': Willie John McBride's lament for modern rugby
‘England was stupid… that’s killed the Lions tour’: Willie John McBride’s lament for modern rugby

British and Irish Lions legend McBride

Addressing the rising injury rate, Lions legend McBride added: “There is an injury crisis in rugby. You watch all the international matches that are played. How many do you see that are injury-free? I think every player should be playing 80 minutes unless he has to leave the field injured. I played for 14 years and never left the field in my life.”

I’ve seen young boys from academies who have been told, ‘You’re too light. You have to put two stones to be successful. The children are growing up. They eat all these food supplements that I call drugs and doing all these weights. Your bones cannot support what your muscles demand. This is bad. The only thing they taught me when I was little was to be flexible. They are tied to the muscles and are more prone to injury.

It is terrible to see all these people running and on the field in an international match. Recently, a player was signed with one minute to go, there could be no difference in the result. I once asked my old adversary Colin Meads how you would feel if they took you with 20 minutes to go. I can’t repeat what he said, but it was pretty much “you can fill the game”.

'England was stupid... that's killed the Lions tour': Willie John McBride's lament for modern rugby
‘England was stupid… that’s killed the Lions tour’: Willie John McBride’s lament for modern rugby

I also find it unsettling how easily players can change their national allegiance. It devalues international rugby. When Wales defeated Ireland 25-7 in the 2019 Six Nations, all Welsh points were scored by two New Zealanders, Gareth Anscombe and Hadleigh Parkes. That cannot be correct.

If you play for Ireland, you should have Irish blood running through your veins. The residential rating should be ten years and that would leave players playing for a country when they don’t have an immediate family connection. The only thing the Irish Rugby Union got right is that they own the players. England was stupid, as the RFU allowed the Premiership clubs to take control of the players. That is over.

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