This comment has been a long time coming. It has been clear for some time that the noble game of rugby is close to the edge. Close to morphing into that hateful, disgraceful shitpile that is football.
No one would every argue professionalism was a bad thing. It improved the game, no question. It was quite right that English players should be given the opportunity to turn professional to compete on a level playing field with arrogant kiwis who were "rugby development officers' or whatever bullshit title the kiwi government decided to give them at the time. Christ, the kiwis were pro 15 years before us Europeans followed suit.
But I am watching the degeneration of rugby, the Chairman's second love, with real sadness. Every day, it moves closer to football.
Let's start with the clubs. The RFU did its best - it implemented a salary cap, it spent months and months negotiating with the clubs for access to England players, providing ample compensation in return. But the clubs have told the RFU to fuck off. They always want more, lead by the arrogant, hateful Mark McCafferty.
Like football, we are seeing an invasion of average foreigners in the league, depriving English talent of game time. Glamour signings which achieve nothing (like football, there are the good eggs - the Phillipe Sellas and Castrogiovannis, but by god there is some shit out there).
Premier clubs pick fights daily with the RFU, and all of it hampers the national side. Like football, where the clubs hold the power and the national game is treated with disdain, the same thing is happening in rugby.
Behaviour: the old rules of respect in rugby are flying out the window. The disgraceful Tuilagi/Ashton incident still grates. This litle yob represents everything which is going wrong with the game. Same goes for that buffoon Cockerill. I am scratchng the surface here, but while Tuilagi and Foden remind me of frankly any premiership footballer, so does Cockerill remind me of aggressive bullys like that ridiculous Scotch shop steward Ferguson.
The game is rotten. Its turning into football.
The clubs think the club game is secondary to the national game. The RFU is now starting to resemble the FA under the ridiculous Steele. God how the RFU is now missing the steady hand of Baron. The players are forgetting their responsibilities. The old guard of Wilko, Moody etc are fading, only to be replaced by fuckwits like "Danny" Cipriani (whose continuing descent into obscurity is most amusing, and utterly inevitable).
Another catalyst for this post was the signing of Henson and "Willie" Mason by Toulon. I note Toulon have decided not to give that bronzed sociopath Henson a contract. Well thank god. Yet they still spends thousands on an old, out of shape ex-league player Mason, whose track record is a long series of shit.
What the hell is Toulon thinking? Do you think Wilko will be pleased about this? If he stays, it will be out pure blind loyalty, but Toulon is a shambles. It didnt even qualify for Eutrope this year. Why? Because they keep buying shit foreign players.