All brawn and no brain?

All brawn and no brain?

This afternoon Daily Mail Rugby Correspondent, Peter Jackson, talked to us at Cardiff Journalism Scool about how reporting on rugby has become increasingly difficult. One of the reasons for this, he acknowledged, can effect your chances of getting a scoop in any type of journalism.

That’s right, our old friend the world wide web has made it harder for honest and hard-working print journalists to break the news. But I’m not a fan of playing broken records.

Far more interesting, I thought, was Jackson’s second point. He said it was difficult to take a fresh angle on rugby stories since the sport had become professional. In the past rugby players would have spent their week days with their hands up a cow’s nether regions (vet) or with their hands squeezing a cow’s udders (farmer) or dealing with a dispute on how said cow had trampled a prize winning petunia (lawyer).

Ok, I jest, and mean no offence to any of the above professions. My point is, when rugby was an amatuer sport, the lads came from varying walks of life and had a certain abandandon in the way they answered questions. With professionalism, as Jackson said, has come conformity.

Press officers and team psychologists are employed to fill players’ heads with psycho-babble and spin. Meaning original responses to a question like, “How did you feel the game went on Saturday,” are slim to none.

So, in the interest of experimentation, I decided to find the five most inane sport-speak sentences following the weekend’s action in the IRB six nations. Here’s what I came up with:

1. The British Lions website featured Welsh captain Ryan Jones on how the team pulled off victory against England, “We knew we would have to work hard but we’ve got heart and passion and been through a lot together.” Awww bless.

2. BBC sport ran an article with Brian O’Driscoll’s highly perceptive (cue ironic font) analysis of their triumph over Italy, “We were patient and knew we would have to wait to break them down before taking our opportunities.”

3. A Scotsman article on the Scottish team’s match-day attitude included this platitude from back-row Alasdair Strokosch, “I do feel better about the championship now. I don’t think anyone’s come to France and won easily and we pushed them well.” As far as I recall there are no extra points for effort boys. 

4. Former England player turned Manager, Martin Johnson, fobbed off the Telegraph with this trite one liner, “The Test match was there for either side to win but they are the team with a bit more self-belief at the moment.”

5. Finally, from Jackson’s paper the Daily Mail, in an article written by Paul Sackey the English winger, “If we can get it all right I honestly think we could cause any team problems.” I think the same could be said for every team Sackey.

I’ve heard footballers are even worse for giving token answers, so let me know if you come across any.