Category Archives: Rugby

Punching above our weight

Rugby is regarded as our national sport by many people in and outside Wales, in spite of the fact that there are more football players and fans in the country than those who play or follow rugby. But all over the world, Wales is seen as being synonymous with rugby union. Why is this?

These days both sports are professional, with a strong commercial imperative. They have a product to sell, and that means getting bums on seats and selling merchandise. Success on the pitch brings popularity and revenue for both games, but this wasn’t always the case.

Until the mid-1990s, rugby was still an amateur game. There were always stories about car-park takings finding their way into the boots of star players on a Saturday afternoon, but the official line was that rugby union players could not make money from playing, or even talking or writing about their sport.

This meant that rugby players had to make their living in a day job, often at the local pit or steel works, sometimes the local school or doctor’s surgery. As a consequence, rugby’s international stars were accessible. They rubbed shoulders with their fans in workplaces, pubs, village streets and chapels. They remained “one of us.”

How has rugby union managed to maintain its popularity and status in Wales when there has always been so much more money in football? Because Welsh rugby has punched above its weight.

Wales is truly the mouse that roared. We’ve always had fewer registered clubs and players than the other major rugby nations, and we’re smaller in terms of overall population. In spite of that, we’ve sustained several long periods of success and dominance, notably in the 1970s, when we captured four Triple Crowns and three Grand Slams.

During the 70s, more than any other time before or since, the Welsh rugby team were woven into the fabric of our society, and they have remained there to this day. JPR, Gerald, Barry, Phil, Grav… the list goes on. These men were and still are folk heroes who stand taller than politicians, business leaders, singers, actors and other figures in Welsh life.

The seventies were a time when Welsh football wasn’t doing too badly either! For a proud, small nation like Wales, the feeling that you were the equal, if not the better of your neighbours, was very strong. It was the Bread of Heaven that fed us. There was nothing better than going in to work, or school, on a Monday morning, having beaten England at the weekend. It turned clouds into blue skies. And we were able to do it every year.

In the past decade Welsh rugby has experienced another golden era, with three Grand Slams and a Rugby World Cup semi-final appearance to our credit. This year’s triumphant British Lions were Welsh to the core. We’ve been able to thumb our noses at the people on the other side of the Severn Bridge since 2003.

With the current crop of players still in their prime, it looks as if we’ll be able to continue doing so for years to come. This is a fantastic feeling for those of us who remember the dark days of the 1980s and 1990s, when we were routinely slaughtered by those buggers in the white shirts with the red roses on them.

In spite of a brief resurgence in the fortunes of the national football team when Mark Hughes was manager in the early 2000s, the round ball game has had to wait decades for the dawn of a new era of success. Swansea City’s promotion to the English Premier League in 2011 was the beginning, and it looks like it will continue now that Cardiff have joined them. This new success is definitely no flash in the pan, and it’s backed by serious money and dedicated fans.

We already know that our recent rugby success is no one-hit-wonder. This time rugby is on a level playing field with football, a professional game reaping the rewards of success. Many people are concerned that there isn’t room for two successful sports in a country as small as Wales. They feel that the resurgence of the round ball will be to the detriment of the oval ball.

I’m not so sure. To the Welsh, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, if we’re winning, then that means we’re punching above our weight, and we love that feeling; it makes us proud.

 

Changes to the Gwladrugby forums

Gwlad has been running as a non-profit-making concern for over 15 years now. The burden of administering the site in terms of cost and effort has grown considerably over time.

The number of admins has stayed the same, and a steady trickle of income from loyal supporters has helped to keep things going.

However, this income stream is unsustainable and we need to seek a more consistent method of funding the site if it is to continue operating.

Alongside this we have had persistent problems with spam accounts, multiple logins, trolling, abuse and other issues which spoil the Gwlad experience for the vast majority of users.

We know many of you are happier to “lurk” and never post any messages, either because you’re worried about getting flamed or abused, or you just don’t think it’s worth the effort. We understand.

For these reasons we’ve decided to change the way in which Gwlad is operated and funded.

From the beginning of September, Gwladrugby is introducing a subscription system for our chat forums.

This means that if you want to post in the forums, you will have to pay an annual fee to be a member.

The forums will be open to all via “guest” read-only access. Non-members will be able to read the forums but not post to them.

The annual fee for 2013 and 2014 will be ten pounds. We will also be changing the terms and conditions of membership. As a subscriber, you will still have to behave responsibly and stick to the rules.

We hope you understand the reasons for these changes. We’ll make a further announcement to advise you exactly when the changes will be happening and what you need to do.

Thanks

The Admins

WRU Blames Glyndwr Legacy for IT Mess

IT boffins in charge of the WRU’s fixtures and results computer are in a race against time to correct software bugs ahead of the season start.  Yet again the problems revolve around incompatible system requirements with the Colwyn Bay-based state-aid rugby franchise, RGC 1404.

“Our Dragon 32 supercomputer was running lovely until the penultimate weekend of last season when the Gogs posted 20 tries in a home game against the league minnows,” explained Nigel Acne, head of IT support and pornography archives at the WRU.  “When the score came in ‘RGC 1404 134 – Tredegar 0’ the system naturally assumed it was reading an ordering code from a kitchen fittings catalogue and started melting its own processors.”

Similar problems are amassing for Acne’s team in the run-up to this season’s grudge match on October 26th with Tata Steel, played away at the The Rust Bucket stadium.  “We’re working through all the possible outcomes now, and none of them are going through without wiping critical data elsewhere in the system.  For instance, Tata Steel 12 – RGC 1404 40 is coming up as an old invoice docket for an engine propeller in Barry docks.  We need to fix it, or Delyth Does Denbigh is going to be off the menu until further notice.”

Top Agent Claims Money Not Everything

Naively idealistic Welsh rugby stars keen to stay close to their Mam’s roast dinners and homemade gravy are driving a hard bargain on their regional contract talks by eschewing wage negotiations in favour of gaining perks, adoration and total servitude from their employers.  That’s the claim from top rugby agent Wyn Someyou-Losesome, given in an exclusive interview for GwladRugby.com, that lifts the lid on some of the biggest player deals in the Welsh game.

“Some of these French clubs are offering cash, diamonds, houses, goats; all things with a monetary value, designed to corrupt the player into being a wage-slave and forcing them to confront the sad, existential reality that their human worth is simply a neo-modern social construct, likes,” he said.  “You start playing around with numbers like that and it will never add up – literally.”

According to Someyou-Losesome, most of the recent deals he’s involved with have included perfectly reasonable demands:

George North might have stayed at the Scarlets but for the stonewall attitude of its youth team coach who refused to allow one of his players to be ritually sacrificed each week in a ‘Lucky Scarlet Drink’ ceremony deemed essential to his conditioning programme by the 18st wing sensation.

Talks have stalled between Toby Faletau and the Dragons on a new three-year deal that would see the player released to the Leicester Tigers on weekends.  The normally calm-natured back row operator is reportedly stressed out at suggestions he can’t have the Coldra to Tredegar Park section of the M4 motorway named after him.

Luke Charteris’ future as a potential summer recruit to the Ospreys was already hanging in the balance with the revelation he is not actually French, but could fail completely with the player’s “extortionate” terms.  Charteris is apparently holding out for an agreement permitting him to attend all full training sessions and corporate days walking around on his knees (with little shoes sewed to his trouser legs), wearing a bowler hat and speaking in a high-pitched voice.

Finally, at Cardiff Blues, Leigh Halfpenny is understood to be hopping mad with ruddy-faced CEO Richard Holland, having been duped into believing that the top French team Racing Metro was in fact just the name of a newspaper.  The pint-sized kicking star is understood to be on strike until Holland issues a formal apology written in his own blood, and agrees to eat a Peter’s Pie every day for the remainder of his contract.

Ian Robertson Finds Arse with Both Hands

Following scenes of panic, confusion and patronising sneers, veteran broadcaster, commentator and Rover 800 driver Ian Robertson has located his backside after a prolonged search involving both of his own hands.

“You wonder if they’ve got a lucky bag and picked some names out,” whined Robertson, shortly prior to the disappearance of both buttocks, which occurred at some point in the last 15 years.  “I mean, I ask you…(something incoherent)….. the amount of Welsh so-called players (more whining)….(reading the team sheet off a piece of paper)….JONNY WILKINSON!!!….(comment about the weather)… and now back to the studio.”

Reports have emerged of a spate of bottom disappearances across the aging right wing, superiority complex-suffering rugby fraternity.  A Telegraph rugby writer, struggling to juggle the posts of ‘sports journalist’ with ‘poisonous reactionary’ woke up on Sunday morning to find his backside for sale on eBay at the reserve price of £0.99 (+ postage and packaging), and one bid already placed by a Twickenham car park catering company.  And in a remarkable turn of events, rentable quote machine Austin Healey vanished up his own bottom, mid way through the 2nd half of the final Test in Sydney.

Meanwhile at Wimbledon, multi-purpose sports bigot John Inverdale was last seen being force-fed pieces of his own ‘rump de le rosbif’ by an enthusiastic crowd of French foie-gras fans.

“Ee iz, ow you say, not even a patch on Steve Rider?  Give me ze Huw Llewelyn Davies any day of ze week.”

Wales Endures Onslaught as Faces Don’t Fit

Having had rugby’s greatest living imbeciles line up to spout their semi-racist vitriol in the wake of Warren Gatland’s Lions XV selection, Wales is preparing to walk in to work on Monday morning to face a bunch of bastards eager to tear-up the Welsh flag, abolish bake-stones and construct a self-defeating funeral pyre made of coal.

“If this was Mississippi in the 1950s, then Warren Gatland would be some horrible do-gooding equal rights libertarian who’d just committed the ultimate sacrilege by naming a team containing a few… well I think you know what I’m saying,” commented one of any number of ex-internationals who should know better, earlier this week.  “But this is worse – not only is it not the good old 50s anymore, but these… beings… are Welsh.  Get it?  W-E-L-S-H.  Urrgghhh!”

In the event that the British & Irish Lions win against Australia in the final test, First Minister Carwyn Jones will immediately declare war on England for the pure hell of it, with a mortar strike on Oswestry where Stuart Barnes is understood to own several cakes and a sausage roll.  “We don’t want them to like us,” said Jones.  “Bloody hell mun, the Hatred, Mistrust and Casual Xenophobic Sleight industry is worth millions to both nations!”

We say: C’mon the Lions – ALL of you!!