Death of Din

It would be lovely to attend a top rugby match without wincing in pain at the noise assault. Perhaps a club could issue an experimental ban on the horrendous row that afflicts rugby stadiums under the guise of “entertainment”. I refer to screaming announcers who demand that you get behind your team-as if in 150 years of rugby no fan had ever worked out that that was what they were there to do.

Perhaps for a season an enlightened owner could allow the atmosphere in their stadium to grow organically-no ranting or raving,or ear-splitting noise. Crowds react to what is happening on the pitch. You connect with the crowd when it wants to be connected,not, when you order them to be.

And de-corporatise the whole thing.Twickenham may or may not be the worst, but here is one example of what I mean. England have an “official  anthem singer” in Laura Wright, and there she was on duty last week-end at the Ireland game.Laura is a gorgeous girl, she sings beautifully, and she comes out dressed for the summer in the middle of February.I hope she is being paid enough, but why does she have to be called “official anthem singer”? Can’t she just turn up and sing?

Naughty New Zealanders

The Wellington Sevens are one of the highlights of the New Zealand rugby calendar, but despite rising popularity in recent years  the boot may be pit into them.

Police in the New Zealand capital criticized the organizers of the event after 270 spectators were ejected from the Westpac Stadium recently, mostly for drunkenness;the figure last year was 47 . Police are considering whether to take further action,which could include revoking the alcohol license for the ground.

One fan , who had traveled from Auckland for the event, said he would not be returning.”This place is an absolute zoo,” he complained. “there are guys exposing themselves and the behavior has changed. They have to take a good look at what’s going on here.His mood was not softened by wining NZ$10,000 in a best costume competition-as a can of 7 Up.

Lies,damned lies and statistics

My team West Ham United have 13 clean sheets this season. Normally you would expect a team with that record sitting comfortably in the top half of the Premiership, but they have only just dragged themselves out of the relegation places.

Last Sunday, Italy had 58% possession in Paris and 61% territory. They dominated the line-outs and even won two scrums against the head. They edged the penalty count 16-13. And yet the scoreboard showed France winning 30-10, the only statistic that really matters.

But something else connects West Ham and Italy. The Hammers have not been able to convert chances into goals; the Italians could not convert all their ball in hand into tries.

But at  least the Hammers have been better at converting penalties.