“Fears and revelations of a top rugby agent”
“It’s definitely a game of how big can we get them, how quickly, and let’s see if they can cope – otherwise, we’ll move them on.”
‘Find us a freak – and cheap”
‘Almost every player is not 100%’
Sean Longstaff was a winger who played for Scotland, retired through injury and now works as an agent. This article highlights a lot (but by no means all) that is bad with the modern game of rugby union.
Growing up in Wales my sporting heroes were the men who turned out at Cardiff Arms Park, Wales of course for a handful of games a year and Cardiff RFC. Half backs were all less than 6 foot, Gareth Edwards was 5’8” and 13st 4lbs, Phil Bennett 5’7″ and 11st 4lbs even the “big backs” weren’t, centre Ray Gravell was the same height and weight as I am now. The tallest forwards were 6’3″ to 6’5″ and weighed in at a maximum of 16st.
Professionalism and generational changes mean that people are bigger and can become bigger still.
Then came Murdoch.
More than a decade ago Barnes and the rest of the Sky TV boys started to worship at the altar of “hard yards and big hits”. I was secretly glad that my son, at that time a tall but very light teenager who had been “clothes lined”, or tackled around the head and neck (an injury from which he still has symptoms), in a school game said that he was giving up the game.
Apologists will say that it’s a man’s game – it clearly isn’t only as the growing standards of women’s rugby will testify – or that if you can’t stand the heat etc. Old rugby farts will tell you that it never did them any harm – meet some burned out, punch drunk, front row forwards who clearly have taken a dozen blows too many and they are clearly wrong.
The incidences and consequences of concussion are only just starting to be seen. These are sportsmen not gladiators, yes the ones at the top get paid very well for what is a short career but does a free market benefit the game? Will we move to a situation like the NFL where the game is only played at pro and college level? I do hope not.
If you’re rugby fan this is worth a read.