THERE is an old saying that runs ‘you can have too much of a good thing’.
While in this column I feel I have been generally very supportive of rugby union’s World Cup, to be honest I think that old saying needs rewriting as ‘you can have too much of a thing’.
While to stage an international or (well let’s admit it) global event is a big deal, Sunday’s final at Eden Park, Auckland, between hosts New Zealand and France will be held on October 23, while the tournament started on September 9 with the hosts beating Tonga 41-10.
To put it in very simple and personal terms, when this competition started by eldest daughter was a recent sixth former living at home – she is now a university student living in another country (a country which, when I get there this weekend, will no doubt still be bleating about that so-called travesty of a sending-off).
However eye-catching or spectacular you try to make an event, spreading it out for so long means that whatever initial momentum and excitement there is will almost certainly be lost.
The same scenario was born out by the last World Cup in cricket, when people I know (who I would describe as ‘die-hard’ fans) chose curling up under the duvet in preference to watching another game as the competition had gone on so long.
The same seems to now apply to this rugby union World Cup, where acquaintances of mine who I regard as much more committed followers of the 15-a-side code than I are just willing the whole horrible juggernaut to come to a grinding halt.
Admittedly rugby union is not cricket and teams do need some time to recover from the physical hardship of games, but all the same a whole week of rest and recuperation is perhaps pushing it a bit.
And by taking this cautious approach the organisers have pretty much ensured that the sheen and sparkle of the best of the early games has been well and truly rubbed out.
To pull out a petty but pertinent example, I have seen the Haka performed by both New Zealand rugby league and rugby union teams and it is a stunning event to witness – so I must be getting jaded when I am looking forward to Sunday’s final and thinking ‘thank goodness, that is the last Haka I will see for quite a while’ and wondering would it perhaps not be a good deal more interesting if the All Blacks had to perform it to background music of Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon and with Julian Clary leading the chanting?
But however ennui inducing the tournament has become in the last few weeks, there is only one winner in the ‘services to boredom award’.
At a press conference heralding yet another RFU inquiry into England’s poor performance at the tournament, that ‘important man who no-one knows what he actually does’ Rob Andrew (inset) pronounced his thoughts.
Having obviously been indoctrinated by some business guru type, Andrew used the phrase ‘going forward’ more often than most soccer players manage to say ‘you know’ in a television interview.
Rob if only you had pointed out the merits of looking at issues ‘going forward’ to the England pack during the quarter-final against France then we all might have been a little bit more interested.