Mr. Rugby on the Modern Game

Thanks to the wonders of artificial intelligence, we can now go beyond the grave to glean the thoughts of the ghosts of rugby’s past, and the obvious choice was to ask Mr Rugby himself, the late Doc Craven, what he thinks of the game in 2023.

Ah, my dear rugby enthusiasts, I’ve returned from beyond the grave to share my thoughts on this spectacle you call modern rugby. After witnessing the Springboks claim the World Cup with a black captain and a diverse team, I must confess that the world has indeed changed and that did make me smile. I was always a fighter for equality and equal opportunity.

But it is the game I was watching that left me bewildered.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved this game, but the evolution of the sport is more an erosion of the sport. Bliksem! I am after all a man of my time.

Now, let’s talk about these so-called “fatigued” players who can’t last more than 45 minutes on the field. In my day, we played 80 minutes or more, and we didn’t need fancy gadgets to tell us when we were tired. We relied on grit, determination, and a love for the game. I’m not sure what they’re feeding these manne nowadays, but they seem to lack the stamina we once had. Are they rugby players or porcelain dolls?

And don’t even get me started on the television match officials. In my time, the referee’s decision was final. We respected the man with the whistle, even if we disagreed with his call. These days, it seems everyone has an opinion and a camera angle to back it up. I can’t help but feel that the essence of the game is being diluted by all this technological interference.

I must admit, the modern laws of rugby do leave me scratching my head. The tackle law interpretation, in particular, is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. And, these yellow and red cards, what a farce! I do understand the need for player safety, but these cards reduce the contest to a mere numbers game. In my day, we played 15 against 15, and that was that. The best team on the day would prevail, not the one with the most players left standing.

My friends, I understand that change is inevitable, and progress marches on. But as a man who devoted his life to rugby, I can’t help but feel that some of the soul has been lost in the process.

So, as I return to the great rugby field in the sky, I leave you with this thought: while you embrace the new and adapt to the times, remember the spirit of the game we all fell in love with, and never let that fire die.

Until we meet again, my fellow rugby aficionados, keep the scrums tight, the lineouts straight, and may the best team win – unlike my beloved Maties who in 2023 just were not good enough to win the Varsity Cup. Bliksem!

*DISCLAIMER: This satirical column was generated using an artificial intelligence chatbot.

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