Looks like All Blacks coach Graham Henry is paying much too much attention to marketing mumbo-jumbo and not enough to beating teams that kick too much and too effectively for his liking.
He says kick-focused international rugby is a “poor product”.
Well ain’t that something. A poor product.
It’s another way – Alf reckons – of saying kick-focused international rugby has his team flummoxed.
So what does an inadequate coach do when his team is flummoxed by opponents that play an effective kicking game (to avoid playing the game in their own half)?
He calls for new rules.
He is proposing a rule change whereby players can claim a mark anywhere on the field.
Henry hoped the International Rugby Board (IRB) would review aspects of the current laws in September, the halfway point between World Cups, and try to encourage running with the ball over kicking.
“The product you’re looking at needs some attention, quite frankly. We, and the Australians, like to play a ball-in-hand type of rugby and enjoy playing the game,” Henry said.
“That’s part of the product and we think that’s important, so I guess the product’s not too great and that’s disappointing.
“I think we need to have some attention on that and the people who make the laws try and improve the product, and the people involved try to improve the product.”
Alf is tempted to remind Henry that kicking is a fundamental part of the game. That’s why we call it rugby football and why the outfit that hires Henry is called the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.
Obviously he should step aside and let somone else have a punt.