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World Cup a catalogue of mediocrity and crassness.

THE England rugby union team are not covering themselves in glory in the rugby union world cup in New Zealand.

Their performances on and off the field are a dismal catalogue of mediocrity and crassness, which is one of the reasons - along with the time differences with New Zealand, which produce unearthly kick off times for UK viewers - why this much-hyped competition is failing to grab the public's attention.

I think that one of the other reasons for the lack of genuine public interest is the increasing tendency of rugby union pundits to talk in sporting gobbledygook, which not only confuses and perplexes viewers, but also bores them to death.

It is now clear that every coach, pundit and commentator working at the world cup has been on an intensive crash course in sports speak, and most of them have graduated with honours.

The simple truth is that England are not very good at playing rugby union against better teams who have better players, with more flair, invention and speed.

England are competent at putting a stranglehold on the game against less talented opponents by playing nine-man rugby and keeping the ball in the forwards. So they ruck, maul and scrum to their hearts' content, and produce a spectacle of such mind-numbing tedium that a sock-knitting contest seems exciting by comparison.

When they do very occasionally manage to score a few tries, their PR machine goes into overdrive, and bangs on about it as if a new dawn was breaking, a la Chris Ashton last autumn against Australia.

Getting a win against Argentina, and then managing to scrape past Scotland is not evidence of a team worthy of the title of best in the world.

Mind you France seem to be losing the plot, so it is entirely possible that England could get to the semi-finals, where Ireland or Wales would stand in the way of a place in the final.

It highlights the fact that the talent is thinly spread.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Oct 6, 2011
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