Saturday, October 20, 2007

The meaning of sport

When Danny Blanchflower was working as a football pundit, somebody asked him who was going to win the match.
"I don't know," he said. "That's why they're playing the game."
Banal or the only worthwhile you can ever say about sport?
You play the game to find out who wins the game.
South Africa are a better team than England. Even England believe that.
But that didn't mean that tonight wasn't, in the words of Wellington, "a damned close run thing."
And I still think this was a try.


  1. It was a stonewall try. And the ref missed a glaring obstruction and an obvious accidental offside.

    But you are right the best team won.

  2. Anonymous11:16 pm

    If there's any doubt, you can't give the try. And there was doubt - no-one could be 100% sure that was a try.

  3. Anonymous8:00 am

    That's a nailed-on try. There's no doubt there. There's clear green field between his knee and th line and his foot's in the air.

    The TV judge was an Aussie. We beat them in 03, and knocked them out this year. I bet he was smiling as he slid the knife in.

  4. I always remember the late, great Brian Clough being a guest local radio commentator on a Derby County match about a year before he died:
    Usual Commentator: "Well, Brian, what's your take on the match"
    Clough: "What's my 'take'? Please speak to me in a manner I can understand"

    Nothing really to do with your post but it always makes me smile.

  5. I thought it was pretty clear that he dragged his foot along the line before lifting it up in the air as he touched the ball down.... so no try. On the line is out in rugby, right? And the fact it was in the air when he placed the ball is irrelevant if it had been in touch before.

    Not that I think it would have made a material difference to the result.

    We (yes, I am English) had all the possession on the day to enable us to win, and in the final analysis we just weren't quite good enough and we lost to a better team. No shame in that at all, and we can take a lot of pride in how we tried to defend our title after 4 years of total shambles.

    We woz not robbed though. Make no mistake about that. Any whingeing about the ref's decisions in this game will have our southern hemisphere cousins rolling about in the aisles as they think of our lack of sympathy over their demises.

    Well done South Africa. Worthy winners who have conducted themselves with dignity throughout this tournament.


  6. I watched it on a French channel we discovered somewhere down the murky end of my friend's Sky box. What a relief. No Stuart Barnes, no Jim Rosenthal, no adverts at the end while the boks were celebrating, and they actually do say "ooh la la" when things get exciting. Brilliant.

    The one time we switched over some ITV wonk was trying to pretend that "You seem to be able to keep your composure which must be great for you" was actually a question for Jake White. Never let them have anything to do with sport again.

    Oh, and it wasn't a try.

  7. It wasn't a try. I thought it was last night but today - when I'm a bit sober and have seen the photographic evidence without triple vision - the TMO got it spot on. It deserved to be a 7-pointer though...

  8. Anonymous8:38 am

    Not a try. If you look at the photo you can see the mark on the line where his foot dragged onto it before he lifted his foot into the air.

  9. per Brian Clough and very simple answers to very simple questions, a local policitican round these here parts failed to retain his seat in the Irish Government. He was to speak live to the RTE studios where Brian Farrell (our version of Robin Day) asked the simple question 'Sean Doherty, you lost your seat, what on earth happened?'

    with the faintest twinkle in his eye, Doherty looked straight into the camera and said to Brian Farrell, professor of politics at University College Dublin...

    'Not enough people voted for me, Brian...'

  10. I really really wanted it to be a try but I'm afraid it wasn't. Five Live had an interview with Matt Dawson and he recounted that he'd had dinner with some mates and some of the england squad on Saturday night. His mate was going on about it being a try when Paul Sackey interupted him, looked him dead in the eye and said "I wasn't a try, now drop it".

    Sad as it is it seems that it wasn't a try.

  11. Anonymous7:45 am

    Gah. I've now seen the photos you lot are talking about, and yes, it wasn't a try after all.


    Mind you, old Aussie TMO matey said his foot was "25-30 centimetres in touch" in today's papers. Which is total cobblers, and perilously close to protesting too much.

  12. Anonymous9:58 am

    You're missing the caption to this pic on It says:

    "The divot on the white line betrays where Cueto's foot strayed into touch before lifting again"...

    No try.

    As for the ref missing things, what about Lewis Moody's dumb trip? Rolland gave a penalty but was that not a yellow at the very least?