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  • Writer's pictureRuck n Roll

Flying Solo Transcript

So hello and welcome back to Ruck ’n’ Roll which this week sounds a little different.

Due to rugby travel, conflicting schedules and all around fuckery, it’s just me and you.

So, how’s your week been? All good I hope. Less so if you are a Welsh rugby fan. You can called them whatever you wish but clubs, regions, super clubs; the Welsh domestic game is on its knees and nearing an 8 count.

Meanwhile, in France, the World Cup continues with all of the fun extracted and replaced by added villainy.

On Friday night the semi finals kicked off as the All Blacks took on Argentina and saw them off with relative ease. Many have written off the New Zealand during this World Cup cycle - myself included - but even in defeat on the opening night, it was clear this All Black team were greater than they had been given credit for.

Sure this isn’t the greatest All Blacks team we have ever seen, but even the worst Picasso is still a work of art. So even when they have failed to hit their straps, they have looked comfortable and composed amid moments of magic like that produced by Will Jordan in the crowning moment of their display.

Which has lead to Ian Foster now nominated for coach of the year having found his head on the chopping block not too long ago and with Scott Razor Robertson waiting in the wings. And what better way to silence doubters than with a shining gold Webb Ellis trophy that now sits just 80 minutes away.

Things weren’t quite so easy for the Springboks against England. Borthwick however the man who has turned the tide, which for so long seemed like an impossible task for the Boks.

England hassled, harried and harassed. Not allowing the South Africans a second. This was not the performance that people had expected of a Borthwick England or of Eddie his predecessor. But sure enough it came, led by a rampant Courtney Lawes.

And this England team has shown glimpse already. They dismantled The Pumas limb from limb, like a bored house cat with a spider. And with that in fresh in their minds, they returned as they have successfully in the past to the devils point scorers, the drop goal.

Though not before Springboks hauled off their 10 unceremoniously, the flair and guile of Manie Libbok ousted for the unwavering reliability of Handre Pollard. For their pool defeat against Ireland it’s was the lack of structure and more importantly the lack of kicking ability that cost they the game. Not this time around. The script felt written for Pollard, injured before the World Cup began, he was a late addition to the squad, even later to the match day and now he stands as the man who kicked his team into the final. And so the script goes on. The end scene this Saturday. But at 29, he may fancy a sequel in the works regardless of the result.

But the drama would not end there. Accusations of racial insults marring the game. Tom Curry claiming he was called a white cunt by Bongi Mbonambi. The question can be debate about whether racism can truly claimed in scenario. Racism truly needs societal, institutional and historical context in order for it to examined correctly. It’s particularly prevalent when it’s claimed the comment came from a black South African man born before apartheid had even ended. But that’s another debate for another time.

And so we have a final of the two most successful teams in World Cup history. So much for the unpredictable nature of the tournament. But before that we have to pretend to care about the most turgid of bronze finals. A concept I would struggle to care about if I was playing in, so have even less fucks to give than I thought possible. My fucks are in negative equity and I couldn’t give one even if it wanted to. Even the name bronze final sounds awful to me. Bronze is essentially brown and brown essentially means shit. It’s the shit final and not least in the fact, it’s not a final at all.

However, World Rugby were concerned the people weren’t quite disillusioned enough with the game as things stand so before we even reached England-Argentina in the turd final they launched the Nations Championship named because rugby is so lacking ideas it can’t even stretch to more than one name. So following on from The Championship, the Rugby Championship and the United Rugby we have the Nations Championship; which sounds like a preset tournament on the upcoming Rugby 2024.

After years of fans begging World Rugby to open the game up beyond the traditional big nations, they have responded by locking some nations out of a tournament that bloats the calendar in the worst way possible. Like a £20 belly buster breakfast that’s free if you finish it all, including the inexplicable addition of chips.

The tournament manages to further tighten the Tier 1 union’s grips on the throats on of the game until it squeezes the life out of it, unable to see the damage past their own unflinching, child like wants. World Rugby are overseeing the game with all the love and care of Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Bill Beaumont promising the unions that one day they’ll live offa the fatta the lan’

Rugby is now so determined to fuck itself in the pursuit of profit for all the world to see, that its only hope of ever being profitable is by setting up an OnlyFans. Although I imagine an endless stream of William Webb Ellis being pegged by a former captain of Question of Sport is somewhat niche.

The league will be without two more mainstays though, with Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny and England’s most capped player Ben Youngs calling time on their careers. Upon England’s exit from the World Cup, Ben Youngs declared his retirement and threw his boots in the bin… and missed.

And with that we wrap up this week’s episode and remind you that there is a Patreon special for Halloween and say my thank yous.

Thank you to me, for finally turning up for once.

Thanks to Leigh Halfpenny for 15 years of dependability that Wales haven’t been able to offer.

And finally, thanks to you for listening.

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