The greatest sporting event in the world started yesterday, my opinion of course, and for the next 6 weeks we will see fantastic athletes knocking lumps out of each other in the best possible spirit of sportsmanship and respect.
And as the competition starts, I wonder what would make it great? Here are some of my hopes for this tournament:
- A French side that plays like only France can, but in every game. Silky skills, built around bullying strength can be glorious to watch. But they have to turn up for every game.
- No more minnows. I’m currently watching France v Japan, and whilst Japan don’t have a hope of winning today, they are at least making a great game of it. And we need to see more of the “minor” teams pressing the big guys, for one day their time will come.
- Hard Tackling. I remember the dynamism of the Romanians from the last competitioin: awesome. And the same goes for the Islanders. Solid clean tackling has a great part to play in the game and I hope we see lots of it.
- No throat slitting. The All Blacks have used a version of the Haka that includes a throat slitting gesture. There is no place for that in a game based on respect.
- Good Officials. If we are lucky we won’t see the officials. But sadly we probably will, TMO’s will take an age to decide, showboating Refs will think we’ve paid to watch them. We haven’t. I want good communicative officials who keep the game flowing. And TMO’s that can decide in 30 seconds.
- Great Anthems. There are moments that can cause your heart to flutter during the anthems, fantastic stirring stuff. But they can be runied by opera singers performing. Let them stay away, keep it real and let the crowd provide the emotion.
- Referreeing the Stars. For too long some players have dominated referees whilst clearly breaking the laws of the game. They must be stopped and put in their place.
- A deserving winner. I don’t really care who wins the tournament provided they play with the right spirit, hopefully entertain us and respect their opponents in all games.