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Positivity reaps rewards

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John Beattie | 15:20 UK time, Sunday, 23 October 2011

I think that Richie McCaw should be knighted, but anyway on to the blog...

It strikes me that to win things you have to be positive. You have to have an optimistic outlook on life, relationships and sport.

And maybe that's what's wrong with us Scots, perhaps even us Brits - we are just too cynical, too sneering, and too negative. And that permeates into our sport - scared as we are, actually, of even allowing people to take part in sport.

So I am going to skip by some of the more obvious comments about refereeing inconsistencies which can stay on twitter and talk of the tournament instead.

New Zealand players celebrate after beating France to win the Rugby World Cup

The All Blacks held off France to win the Rugby World Cup final 8-7. Pic: Getty Images

It's been a wonderful world cup, and I am so happy for New Zealand to have won it. Hit by an earthquake, a mining disaster and now a tanker on the rocks they pulled off a friendly and successful tournament.

Watching the games on TV you could, frankly, almost hear Sean Fitpatrick's voice crack as he spoke of his pride, and it was the same as when Francois Pienaar almost burst into tears as well.

My player of the tournament was Richie McCaw who is surely one of the world's greatest players in rugby history, and to see Brian Lochore walk out with the cup took me back to my own hero worship days when All Blacks appeared to walk as though leaning into a wind. Just before they kicked someone.

Sean Fitzpatrick hit upon something in his post-match comments. He talked of rugby being a by-product in a country that has been putting on a show of friendship. It was more than just a game.

I recall an old saying that if in Scotland you want to build a fence, paint the house or re-roof a shed you get a contractor in. The Kiwis get their mates round and drink some beers as they do it. Health and safety? Timidity? They probably aren't in the New Zealand dictionary.

The French brought so much to the final after a preparation seemingly ruined by in-fighting. They went for it. The French, actually, are more Kiwi in their approach to life than British.

You get the feeling in the UK now that, very soon, they will ban kids from playing in trees.

Positivity runs through everything. It even applies as to how players run into contact - the more positive they are then the harder they'll go at it and, as I said last week, there's a timidity to the way we play.

You and I know that I love rugby. OK, I find it hard to defend the terrible injuries and the sadness along the way, but there is so much that is good about a sport that is, frankly, sore.

And every four years rugby gives us a glimpse into the world game, and in fact the relative health of 20 teams.

OK, so France nearly won. I was supporting France. They were adventurous, playing between the fifteens, hitting up to generate quick ball and then using a deep and double back-line to get wide - or a short ball for punch. In fact the same as the All Blacks who seemed nervous.

France had superiority in the lineout, at least parity in the scrums, and passion.

New Zealand's lineout move was straight out of a training manual from about 10 years ago for Woodcock's try.

In the end it was brilliant.

But the lesson for us? Until we become more positive, more ambitious and tougher - not just as a team but as a country - we won't be able to live with a team like the All Blacks.

I really want us to ditch this obsession with carping, sitting still for long periods, and the prevention of enjoyment if in the least bit sporty and dangerous.

Oh, OK, I'll be drawn on the refereeing - it was inconsistent during the World Cup.

Mind you, back to the Sir Richie McCaw thing, he would sneak up behind the Queen during the ceremony just slightly offside and nick the sword while staying on his feet.

Right, think positive - off for a run.


  • Comment number 1.

    " But the lesson for us? Until we become more positive, more ambitious and tougher - not just as a team but as a country - we won't be able to live with a team like the All Blacks. "

    Agree completely !
    However , before then we must find the talent to take us forward to be at least positive and then to reach that goal .
    We are a small nation with limited resources both on and off the field and the SRU must accept the responsibility to build the game from the bottom up not from the top down .
    I spent yesterday afternoon watching a game in the company of a N Z Maori retired pro Rugby Union player.
    Now married and living permanently in this country he cannot understand why we do not try to develop " Community Rugby" for 9 year old's onwards on the same scale as we do with soccer
    He accepts we have " Mini's and Midi's" but feels much more could be done to introduce kids to the game early doors.
    He spoke of playing " touch rugby" at six before moving on to " bump rugby"( his word) at 9 and full contact at 11/12
    Competitive rugby was introduced at 11/12
    The SFA pour large amounts of money into soccer at this age why not SRU ?

    Interesting thoughts IMO !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    The Scotland team lacks from gaining forward yards from everywhere on the pitch.

    Its been the same for years.

    Time for a clean out of the coaches. We have good players who just can't get
    to that next stage under the current staff.

  • Comment number 3.

    Scotland deserve everything they get. There is zero interest in the SRU to improve the game and the players. Here is an of the potential Scot U17's took a blow to the head recently in a schools match and is out with concussion for 3 weeks. Because he missed a training session due to this 3 week injury, he CANNOT be selected for any of the matches for the coming YEAR. ABSOLUTELY MENTAL decision. Ask the AB's how valuable having all players available at game time sorry Stephen Donald, you were injured 28 weeks ago so cannot be called up to play!!!! Dont think so. This is just an example of how badly run Scottish rugby is.

  • Comment number 4.

    Having lived in NZ for a period I dont feel the Kiwis and Scots are that different at heart. The major difference I saw was that kids get to play and the country has no shame in getting behind their teams (all of them). I was there in 2007 when France knocked them out - OK they mourned and moaned a bit about Graham Henry but in the end they got on with it and the support for the All Blacks never ceased and they never stopped beleiving they are (or will be) the best.

    I suppose Scotland used to be like this too - I think the football world cup 1978 was maybe a turning point, from then on it has always been safer to expect little and hope for the odd upset - it doesnt permeate the sport per se, it permeates the kids, the players now (in rugby and football) are the product of this generation.

    Whats wrong with saying your going to win every game and believing it? No point entering tournaments with a target of the quarter finals.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why are you ducking the issue of shoddy refereeing, John?

    It strikes to the heart of the game and whether it can be played fairly or not.

  • Comment number 7.

    I am never failed to be amazed at the Kiwi arrogance when it comes to rugby! They are a nation of chokers who nearly pulled it off again this time! They were totally outplayed today by the French despite having a sixteenth man, the referee. Allez Les Bleus

  • Comment number 8.

    ScotsSevensNutjob; The comments about Richie McCaw smack of petulance and ignorance. McCaw has probably played hundreds of games of high level rugby including 102 internationals. Have the multitude of referees from all over the world been hoodwinked by him over all those years? He gets penalised at times (he did yesterday). "He is a known cheat"? Get down to your local referees association, join up and give them the benefit of your wisdom so it can permeate the refereeing world. Paddy O'Brien can be contacted at the IRB on refereeing matters too and may welcome your advice as an adviser on cheating.

    nick1; There are some Kiwis who are arrogant about rugby (and lots of other things too) who probably match the numbers who are arrogant in other countries about some aspect of their lives including their chosen sport. Please though explain "they are a nation of chokers". Feel free to quote their numerous sporting victories across the range of sports against or amongst rivals from much more populous countries. Why it is that apparently in your mind when Kiwis lose they are "chokers" and when other do the same they simply are not winners. Les Bleus have been to three RWC finals and played honourably, well, but lost. Are they chokers?
    The All Blacks were not totally outplayed by the French where it counts, on the scoreboard. Your comments have the taste of sore loser about them.

  • Comment number 9.

    Trying to draw comparisons with NZ is always going to end up in disappointment. All this Scotland and NZ are very similar nonsense isn't getting us anywhere. Population and occassional rain, there endeth the similarities.

    The real question is one of numbers. Firstly numbers of kids exposed to rugby, we seem quite happy to lay blame at the door of the SRU. I watched a video on the SRU website about a street rugby initiative, every club in Scotland could do this at no cost, a few balls, a couple of wheelie bins and a few volunteer hours. If we all love rugby so much why don't we just go out and play in the streets with kids who might not get a chance.

    As for ambition and toughness, in rugby terms, they are the product of competition. The elite academy type model simply doesn't create sifficient competition, divorcing the pro teams/ national set up from the club structure is self defeating. The celtic league provides better quality of game week in week out but doesn't cause anyone to look over their shouders at who's vying for their national place (or even pro place). The traditional district championship is the tier that must drive that in Scotland, recognised rivalries, genuine pride in selection, depth of culture and history, small enough to fund, big enough to attract supporters and subsequently sponsorship.

    Last in my incoherent ramble, why not just move the Six Nations in World Cup years to act as a genuine competition leading into the world cup instead of the ridiculous warm up games? Surely they were an embarrassment to everyone involved. I hear panic across the land, breaking with tradition. It may help break what is now clearly another rugby tradition, southern hemisphere nations win the world cup.

  • Comment number 10.

    New Zealanders cheat, who doesn't!!!! If you get a way with it, well good on you, it says more about the ref and his standards. The Refereeing on Sunday was a bit lame for both sides. He could have easily have sent couple of New Zealanders and Frenchman to the sine bin. But all you heard from him was "hands of the ball" from the first minute to the last minute, and counted at least three high tackles which went unpunished. Other than the ref it was a good game.

    On the question of what's wrong with Scotland and playing good rugby, simple. The tail wags the dog in the SRU. See other JB blogs. Groundhog day again!!!!!!! We'll still be saying the same thing in twenty years.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    John, I agree in general with your comment about positivity, or the lack of.

    However, I want to raise another issue completely. When I was watching the game live and Donald took his winning kick, I said, out loud, "No...He’s missed!", but when I saw the judges flags go up, I figured that I had not seen it properly and let it go. Then I saw this video in which it looks very clear that the ball did indeed go past the outside of the upright. Were the French robbed?

    What do you think?

  • Comment number 13.

    John, I think you've got it spot on. New Zealand won and well done to them I say.

    Were there inconsistencies in the refereeing throughout the tournament? Yes
    Were there inconsistenices in the players pushing the rule book (cheating?)? Yes
    Why do these things happen? Because the game is played and refereed by human beings and mistakes will happen, offsides will be missed and players will do all they can to win the game.
    You may not like it when it happens against your team but you don't tend to hear people complaining when their team does something and gets away with it.

    On another note, why has the timescale to post comments been reduced on the last few blogs?

    Never mind, only 106 days until the 6 Nations!

  • Comment number 14.

    Fantastic to see the best team in the world for the past 40 years lift the cup again.
    They are certainly not chokers but the team that sets the bar for all the rest.

    NZ have won over 75% of all the matches they have ever played. England 53%, Wales 51% Ausies 52% SA 65%. scotland 43% France 55% Ireland 42%

    7s nut Job
    R McCaw is one of the finest ever and the game will be poorer when he retires.
    France did not deserve to win they shouldn't have even been in the quarters.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well done to the "All Blacks" at last they seem to have gotten over the stage fright.

    The French gave them a great game but just fell short, although if Sir Ritchie had taken the kicking away from Weepu the margin would have been quite wide by half time and I think that les Bleus would have thrown in the towel, but thats just speculation.

    A point that no one has mentioned is that the French manager Joe Mazzo turned down the honour of wearing the blue shirts so that the NZ team could wear the black, who said sportsmanship is dead. That was a great gesture to the hosts and showed the world what great people play and are involved in our great game.

    Sadly can't ever see the day when that might happen to allow the Scots to wear the blue for the final but you can dream. Away for more medication now........

  • Comment number 16.

    peejane, I went down to Murrayfield for the refereeing course very recently.

    I did so, to contribute something to the game instead of moaning. Positivity, right? At the meeting, the general consensus was that the standard of refereeing in the WC was shocking and that was before the final, which has to be the worst refereeing performance I’ve ever seen.

    The referee coordinator castigated Rolland for refereeing Wales vs France TO THE LAWS OF THE GAME. Don’t get me wrong, I was as angry as anyone when I saw Warburton get sent off, but he did drop Clerc on his back and Rolland is supposed to start with a red card to cut out dangerous tackles. If he hadn’t shown the red, France would have been within their rights to ask “why not?”

    I would much rather see the game reffed by a stickler, because this is FAIR to both teams.

    If the referee goes by his own ‘interpretation’, then this will put one team at a disadvantage and more than likely influence the result itself. The players aren’t mind readers.

    Even when it was pointed out to the referee coordinator, that Rolland had followed the rules in the book, this guy still said it was the wrong decision. And he is charged with making sure refs across Scotland are making the right decisions. I see where he is coming from, absolutely, but where do you even begin to unravel this mess?

  • Comment number 17.

    Joubert's performance was awful beyond belief.

    What is the point in playing to the rules as the French did, relatively speaking, when New Zealand don’t bother and get away with it?

    This was the biggest game in 4 years and Joubert [not forgetting contribution of the All-Blacks themselves] absolutely ruined it, and the second best team on the pitch won.

    I’ve read so many posters saying, “Oh but New Zealand had a 100% record, France lost two pool games, and then didn’t deserve to win the Wales game... wah wah wah” If that’s so, then why didn’t New Zealand just thank the French for showing up and award themselves the RWC after they beat Australia in the semis?

    “Sorry mates, we deserve it more, let’s not bother playing the final, thanks for coming, au revoir.”

    New Zealand were flagrantly disobeying the rules at the breakdown and getting away with it. They carried out a multitude of dangerous high tackles. If there had been a more balanced refereeing performance, they probably would have lost.

    France absolutely should have won the World Cup.

  • Comment number 18.

    Even if you don’t agree, I hope you understand where I’m coming from.

    I’m not going back to the refereeing or coaching courses.

    I’m sure, there will be those, who read this and think, “Good, stay away rugby only needs real fans, and you won’t be missed”. But Scottish rugby needs every fan, and every volunteer, it can get.

    I don’t have to agree with you to recognise that you, as an individual, could make a huge contribution to the grassroots game. One coach in a school or a town that wouldn’t otherwise have a team can, over the years, bring through hundreds of players.

    I was hoping to be such a person, but what’s the point?

    Can Test XV rugby, by its nature and current laws, be refereed fairly at the highest level?

    If not, then what is the point of me encouraging kids to play a game that is fundamentally flawed and unfair?

    I see more of the kids in my neighbourhood turning away from football, as well as rugby, and playing basketball, tennis, swimming and other sports through their schools, and a part of me thinks, “maybe this is better.”

  • Comment number 19.


    "I did so, to contribute something to the game instead of moaning. Positivity, right? At the meeting, the general consensus was that the standard of refereeing in the WC was shocking and that was before the final, which has to be the worst refereeing performance I’ve ever seen. "

    What the hell do they know about what refereeing. The "general consensus" at a referee course? who cares what they think. They're nobodies.

    I think the referrees are given too hard a time. They have to not only cooordinate, almost orchestrate the activity going on on the feild in the sense that they are advising each teams to 'roll away', 'get back' , so basically they have to have ten eyes because they need to watch every player, and then act immediately based on their judgement which is not perfect because so much is going on at once, they also have to think about whats fair. There is SO much going on its a wonder the referees are as consistant as they are. I think they only way too get to the bottom of the referee problem that plagues rugby with so many complicated rules, is to invent some HULL-like supercomputer that controls the game via a huge sound system, blinking ligts and peircing whistles, its the future of rugby I tell ya!

  • Comment number 20.


    NZ won they are the world champions, France came second they lost. get over it and move on.

    Refs will always make mistakes, as do players get over that as well.

    finally if you can't see the point in coaching or refing rugby then don't do it is probably best for all concerned.

  • Comment number 21.

    The reason John is not getting into the alledged reffing issue... because there is not one. Get over yourself.

  • Comment number 22.

    "I recall an old saying that if in Scotland you want to build a fence, paint the house or re-roof a shed you get a contractor in"

    Not where i come from or the Borders or Central Scotland but probably true of the heartland of Glasgow and Edinburgh Rugby!!!???

    And don't you have a phalanx of self employed painters/joiners/plumbers/plasterers/roofers where you live?

  • Comment number 23.

    Sevensnutjob... even before the turnament kicked off you were getting into NZ.
    NZ were not only the best team through the pool stages at times playing sublime rugby. The way they out thought the Australians in the semi final was fantastic to watch... there front five were excellent, there back row one of the best and thier back three outstanding... not forgetting that Nonu and Smith were a pretty potent force going forward and excellent in defence.
    Yes France gave them a go in the final which was great to see... but over all NZ deserved the win.

  • Comment number 24.

    Plus Nutsjob they were down to their fourth choice number ten. You are not acting like a Scotsman... but more like a whinging pom.

  • Comment number 25.

    SaltireBlue @12. I also thought that he'd missed and hte replay eemed to confirm it. The clip on YouTube has been removed becausethe IRB are claiming copyright. Given the farce that is the IRB, I suspect it has more to do with protecting the integrity of the RWC final.

    Fining France €10k for their response to the Haka is a joke beyond all belief. Follow that up with their last meeting, which descended into the shouting match, and you have to question the dullards in charge of the game.

  • Comment number 26.

    Can't believe that ScotsSevensNutjob even read a blog entitled .."Positivity reaps rewards" !! SOOOO negative & twisted about everything/everyone. Hope you have some pleasure in your life somewhere, coz it's clearly not in the great game of rugby

  • Comment number 27.

    Glad to see young Jackson has signed on for another 2 years at Glasgow, he looked like one of our up and comers at the RWC, along with Gray,Evans,Vernon etc.

    On the subject of refs, as an old front rower it alway seemed a bit of a mystery to me how some of them interpreted the laws but without them there would be no game so I usually just shrugged and got on with it.
    The refs in the RWC were inconsistent with some decisions,particularily high and dangerous tackles, but on the whole mostly right.
    Except the feeding at the scrum, I know I'm sounding like a broken record but some put ins were to the 2nd rows feet!! They pull up any lineout that is more than 5 degrees off line but allow that at the scrum, I know scrummaging is a bit of a disaster in top flight rugby at the moment but giving the opposition a chance to compete for the ball might stop them from collapsing it!! Just a thought..

  • Comment number 28.

    Well there's always sevens...

  • Comment number 29.

    Nutjob... have you seen the gouging incident?

    This is pretty damning footage... yet the NZRFU have chosen to leave it on the field. No doubt you will think that it's McCaws own fault that he was headbutted and eye gouged. For him not to complain about it after the match just shows you the type of guy he really is.

    Yes there is always sevens... which New Zealand dominate. Quite embarrassing that you are fellow Scot really.


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