Sunday, March 22, 2009

The view from behind the scrum

Watching England play Scotland at Twickenham from a seat behind the try line you realise how we're short-changed by TV's pursuit of the ball to the exclusion of everything else. The side-on shot means that on TV runners from deep suddenly appear out of nowhere like actors bursting out of wardrobes. With the view from behind you can see the overlaps, the decoy runners, the obstruction of the chasing tackler and all the elaborate chess moves required to get a yard of space for a ball carrier. You can also see how wide the pitch is, which made Ugo Monye's dash from one wing to another to stop Thom Evans all the more remarkable. I wonder whether with TV's getting bigger we'll eventually see some kind of split screen with simultaneous shots from different angles. Or is that one of those things that the mind can't process?


  1. I think TV misses a trick too when it comes to the overhead camera. This is a pointless gimmick when covering most sports but if used properly in rugby, it gives the viewer the opportunity to see more of what is going on when a scrum takes place.

    Other than that, you're a lucky swine to have been at yesterday's match. On TV, Monye came out of nowhere for the tackle on Evans. I'd already assumed that we'd conceded a try.

  2. Re: overhead camera. They use it in Paris and Cardiff, don't they? It's a good thing.

    Re: Monye. I could see what he was trying to do but I thought he wouldn't make it. He's very quick.

  3. There's a sports photographer (Dutch, I think) whose pictures tend to concentrate on a much broader view of the game, rather than the emphasis on close-up action shots that the media tend to prefer. He has an absolutely brilliant long-range one of the classic mid-90s Ajax team in action. Every single player is running and all the players look like they know precisely where they ought to be. It's a great reminder that team sports depend on everyone on the pitch, not just the one with the ball or the guys who do the pretty stuff.

    having said that, i'm starting to think that TV might be the best way to watch rugby. Stephen Jones' report on the Wales v. Ireland match and his individual player ratings (a pretty crass concept anyway in the Sunday Times today beggared belief. He is either blind, incredibly stupid or the most blinkered Welshman who ever lived. But even he couldn't have reviewed the match the way he did if he'd been watching TV and seen the replays of the grittier, more intricate stuff.

  4. I actually thought from watchig the Wales v Ireland game on tv, that it was the "best seat in the house".

    Of course, paying in, and the crowd atmosphere, might heighten the sense of "you really had to be there to see the whole game" perspective.