The demise of rugby

Sir, – Graeme Guthrie (Letters, August 4th) is correct in his criticism of the modern game. In the second test match between South Africa and the Lions last Saturday, virtually no "rugby", as described in Mr Guthrie's first paragraph, was played. Instead we had interminable forward mauls, supplemented by kicking the ball into the air in the hope of inducing a handling error, the one certain effect of which is to see more and more incidents of players being illegally tackled in the air, leading to yet more deliberations by officials on the appropriate colour of the card to be issued.

There is something seriously wrong with a game when a first half intended to last 40 minutes extends to over an hour.

Add to this the ludicrous “mind games” played by coaches before the game, designed to influence officials, and the deteriorating behaviour of the players and we have a sport which is in serious trouble.

As Matt Williams argued in his Irish Times column of July 31st, a major overhaul of the laws is needed as a starting point in reclaiming the sport. – Yours, etc,





Sir, – In response to Graeme Guthrie’s letter “The demise of rugby?”, as evidenced by the high-quality and fluent rugby played by both sexes throughout Ireland in senior, junior, and mini-levels, I must categorically answer “No”.

If referring to the rubbish being shown on subscription television by the Lions and the Springboks, unfortunately it is a “Yes”. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.