What a final.
The Rugby World Cup final was a fascinating game of Rugby, with South Africa beating England 15-6. It was perfect for both teams, South Africa claiming a trophy they so desperately wanted, and England leaving the tournament with their heads held high.
As a Welshman, the World Cup was a huge disappointment, realistically, we expected quarter finals, or semis at a push. To be eliminated in the group stages was nothing short of disasterous for a nation that Rugby is so important for. It’d be like Brazil failing to reach a World Cup, it’s just painful.
So, what can Wales learn from this?
Well, if Wales are going to have a decent shout in the next World Cup, they’re going to have to change their setup. They may even have to go through a few years transition, but to become a dominant force in Rugby, a few things need to change. Here’s 3 of them.
Show Passion – But Expect Nothing
Credit given to both England and South Africa for having one hell of a game. One thing I did notice was that in the national anthem was sung with grown men with tears in their eyes. Neither one of those teams expected in their head to win any game from the quarter finals, whereas we thought, Australia side, we had a god given right to be in the Quarter Finals.
Expand The Game In North Wales
For the unaware, the game in Wales is split into 4 regions. All of the regions are based in South Wales (Llanelli, Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys, who are based in Swansea), the problem is that – as the image to the right shows – anybody from North Wales either plays for Llanelli, or more than likely play for English team (where no doubt, the spectare of “You play in England, why not play for England” comes into play).
There are talk for the Celtic League to add a North Wales side, but because the Welsh sides don’t want to travel North (even though they have to travel to un-southern places such as Scotland), the idea was nixed.
It’s not just at the highest level. Llangefni Rugby Club – a team based on Anglesey – won the Division 4 North last year, they should’ve been promoted, but the South Wales teams didn’t want to travel North, so instead of progressing, they are stagnent in the league they are in.
North Wales has a population of 750,000 (about a quarter of the population of Wales) and a large catchment area with good road links, to deny some potential players because of Geographical location is nothing short of heathenic. Imagine if a population, one and a half the size of London, couldn’t play for England because their talent wasn’t found and nurtured. The country would be up in arms!
Change At The Top
Of course, the only way for the above two was a change at the top, the at the top however cling onto power by thinking they know what’s best. Even when we finished third in the World Cup, the coach was sacked under a year later. Mike Ruddock, who led Wales to the first Grand Slam in 2005, “Resigned Due To Family Reasons”. Surely if we get through coaches like underpants, then something else is wrong?
I want Wales to do well, I want them to win, but at the moment I feel that we need to make changes otherwise we’re going to lose to rubbish teams like Fiji and Australia for years to come.