Whingers Whinge; That’s What They Do
There is a reason that England are the perpetual World Champions of Whinging. In almost any given year, the clamour of whinging emanating from the little island off the coast of France reaches fever pitch on a regular basis.
And it’s no different this year, after the island's national rugby team was comprehensively demolished by the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup final.
But before we go there, it’s worth remembering one time, back in 1995, when New Zealand briefly took away that title. Instead of being gracious in defeat, the kiwis chose to blame someone called Suzie for their inability to convert that World Cup opportunity. But it wasn’t long before the title of World Champion Whingers reverted to its natural home: England.
Rather than go through all the “woe is us” and “we was robbed” opinion pieces that have dotted the English media landscape in the last week or so, we’ve opted to look at one particularly hilarious contribution from Jeremy Guscott, a former player for the whinger national rugby team.
He has called for a law change that, had it been in force, may have stopped South Africa winning RWC 2019. [Our emphasis – Ed]
Guscott takes issue with the way rugby has evolved from the 15-man game of the amateur and early professional eras. These days, in the fully professional era, it is a 23-man game in which the selection of the bench (and timing of its use) is as important to as the composition of run-on 15.
The whinger doesn’t like the complexity and nuance this brings to the game and is demanding that World Rugby restrict the number of replacements teams can use during a game from eight to three. Indeed, he opines:
"...it would be an even better sport if the bench was reduced in number. Half a team coming on with fresh legs and sharp minds against guys, who have been taken to the point of exhaustion, is pushing the game out of the realms of normality.”
A bit further on he writes: "My feeling is that we need to rebalance and enhance the attack, and you can do that by allowing players to be tired when they are participating in this game, rather than benching them.
"In attack, you’re trying to manipulate defences to create space, whereas in defence you are shutting space down. The fewer subs there are on the field the more fatigue becomes a factor, and the more quick ball you get the better the attacking opportunities."
But Eddie Jones, current England head coach disagrees, vehemently. At the press conference after his team demolished the convicts at this World Cup, he said to reporters:
“Maybe you guys have got to start reporting differently. Maybe you’ve got to stop reporting like you did 30 years ago.
“Come into the modern rugby. Join us, join us! The invitation there’s to join us, guys. Rugby’s changed. It’s a 23-man game.”