Rugby ban on big wins for kids…WTF?!?
This bit of madness was forwarded to me and I note that an ex-pat mate of mine has picked up on it too…here they are, trying to develop future rugby in this country; traditionally the domain of hard-as-nails, take-no-shit, beer swilling, womanising men, and wrap them in cotton wool and send them to bed feeling “good”? It has been well over 20 years since the All Blacks won a Rugby World Cup – I sense it is going to be a fucking long time before they win another…which is great, as an Australian there is nothing more I like to see than this country beat itself up over its non-performance, yet they can never understand why. Maybe taker a good look at yourself as the rest of us do…Dingo Deans must be thanking his lucky stars he dodged a bullet there! I didn’t agree with weight-for-age, and I don’t agree with this…
The Rugby Union has stopped kids winning their matches by more than 35 points, saying it makes the game more enjoyable. But one coach describes the changes as “political correctness gone mad” and says he and other coaches will lobby for the new rule to be dropped. Under the NZRUs Small Blacks development programme for children aged 13 and under, coaches from opposing sides can meet at halftime if one side has put on 35 or more points against the other to agree on how they can “generate a more-even contest”. A score of 100-nil is now posted as 35-nil – the maximum points differential allowed. If a side wins 90 to 5, the score is recorded as 40 to 5. A recent email to Auckland rugby club delegates also suggested that teams rest star players and give reserve players more playing time to make games “more even and sporting”. Some All Black legends have questioned the wisdom of the move, and some coaches are livid about it, saying it softens children’s attitudes towards winning and does not foster excellence.
The junior rugby players of today are the senior rugby players of tomorrow and basically what they [the NZRU] are doing is dumbing down Auckland rugby – this is just political correctness gone mad,” said Steve Shrubb, who coaches the Western Suburbs under-12 team.
The NZRU’s general manager of community and provincial rugby, Brent Anderson, rejected the suggestion that the changes were driven by political correctness.
“It’s still about winning – no one is saying, ‘Don’t win’, no one is saying, ‘Don’t keep the score’.
“The kids will know when they have got a hiding if it’s more than 35-nil at halftime, so it’s not about hiding from any of that stuff.
“It’s about trying to at least make the rest of their experience on Saturday morning reasonably enjoyable and fun.”
Mr Anderson said NZRU-funded research showed children wanted fun and enjoyment foremost, regardless of what sport they played on Saturdays.
The research showed that while children did not like being on the receiving end of a towelling, they also took little pleasure in thrashing helpless teams.
“We are charged with keeping the game fun and enjoyable and keeping as many kids in the game as possible and allowing all kids to develop their skills,” said Mr Anderson.
“We saw this as a way that could assist them.”
He said coaches had been given strategies such as swapping forwards and backs, giving all their players at least half a game, or resting top players against weaker teams.
Former All Black Stu Wilson asked why children who were “drilled nicely, coached well … [and] understand the fundamentals of the game” should be punished.
“If they show me some hard and factual evidence, some research, that we are losing multitudes of kids at the under-13s, then fine, we have to do something about it.”
But Wilson said people of his generation would instinctively find any moves to reduce competition off putting.
“I’m old-fashioned. It doesn’t matter what age you are, there has to be a winner.”
Fellow ex-All Black Josh Kronfeld said that as a boy, he was in a team that often lost by around 50 points – and he still enjoyed himself.
“I remember crying one time to my dad. And my dad just said to me, ‘As long as you try your hardest I’ll be proud’. And that’s pretty much how I played for the rest of my life.
“I can’t see the point in taking away life experience … The game was doing okay for 100 years previous to us. And now all of a sudden it’s a drama.”
All Black legend Sir Colin Meads said he was more concerned about seeing children playing the game than keeping score.
“I feel we should just let the kids get out there and play the game … They are the ones who know the real score, they know how they have gone on Saturdays.”
“I know we don’t want to get thrashed, but there’s always next week where we can get better.”
Mr Shrubb said parents were “absolutely filthy” about the changes, under which scores – including his team’s 106-nil thrashing of Waitemata – have been altered on the Auckland union’s website.
It is unclear what happens to the points scored by players that are not recorded after the 35-point limit is reached.
“One of our boys kicked 16 goals in a match. What happens to all his points?” he asked.
Mr Shrubb said some coaches were planning to lodge a request with the Auckland Rugby Union to abandon the change.
Source; NZ Herald Additional reporting: Nicholas Jones